Revolutionize Your Marketing Game in 2023 | Houston Keynote - Transcripts
How to Buy VeeCon 2023 Tickets: www.garyvee.com/VeeConTickets2023
Today's episode of the GaryVee Audio Experience is a new keynote I recently gave in Houston, Texas! I talk all about crushing the marketing game in 2023 but I also touch on topics like, work/life balance, things to avoid doing that hurt your business, the marketing model you have to start using right now, the basic pillars of social media, understanding why people buy things and so much more!
Overall this is a really fun episode and I want your feedback on it! Enjoy!
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I'm a businessman who happens to love marketing. Probably two things that I want to ground this chat into is what I would frame up as M&M. One side I want to talk about management, some of the stuff in the book, kind of where the world's going and then on the other side talk about marketing. And I think both of them are changing pretty aggressively. I think for a lot of us in this crowd, but my show of hands and don't be lazy, how many people here are over the age of 40? Raise your hand. Yes, my crew. I think for a lot of us, we have opinions of Gen Z coming into the workforce. I have unlimited employees who tell me they only want to work Tuesday to Thursday and be promoted within the first seven days of being in the organization. And I'm sure a lot of us have a ton of feelings about that, but the reality is is that these kids are coming up with options. We in this room did not have the ability to make $50,000 a year dancing on TikTok and getting brand deals. And so I don't think Gen Z is lazy, I just think they're living with options that we didn't have.
But the reality is is that accountability, kindness, patience, tenacity, all the traits that we talked about in the book, it's really cooking a meal. I think all of us know as we manage and build, if you're over indexing on one or two things without having a complete meal, it creates vulnerability. There's unlimited value in tenacity. I was born in the Soviet Union. My family came here with nothing. We lived with eight family members in a studio apartment. I'm not sitting here in front of you without ungodly levels of conviction, tenacity, and hard work. At the same token, the amount of people that do burn out or are unhappy in their journey to dollars or many of the other mental aspects of being a human being, if you don't find balance within that, and more importantly for me, what's so impressive, Dave, about what you and the family have done and many of the leaders here, how many people here by show of hands have been in the organization for more than five years? Raise your hand. How about 10? How about 15? I mean, that's the punchline.
To me, the only thing that's interesting about when you're building a meaningful business is what's your retention. And retention, for a lot of us who raised our hands over 40, as we all know, 15, 20 years ago, the majority of retention was predicated on the financial upside of continuing the course. And for a select crew, and a good amount of the people, the titles that came along with that. I think retention going forward will require us to be a little more well-rounded because of the optionality and because of the way the internet's growing. And I think we do have to take a strong stance on figuring out how to incentivize people. And I call it really reverse engineering. I'm not overly emotional on what drives my 1900 employees globally. If it's money, Mazel Tov, I'm in. I understand that game. If it's titles, if you need that for your ego, or leverage, or your LinkedIn, I'm about that life. Happy to go there if it's appropriate. If it's work-life balance, I'm all about that.
But the kind candor that I talked about in the book comes along with that. When I sit down with somebody and they say, Gary, I need work-life balance, I'm like, I'm good. But you need to understand that we're building a business and there are gonna be people in this organization who are gonna go harder and want different things. And as long as you're comfortable in realizing there's no participation in hanging around trophy game here, like you will be compensated appropriately and well, but there are going to be people that lap you in this organization and somebody that now reports to you has a high chance of having you report to them based on this need, as long as you are accountable to what makes you happy, then I'm about that. And I think that is a modern conversation that most of us didn't grow up with. I sure didn't in the last 25 years. And these combos are landing. And I think one of the things that we need to think about as leaders in here is there is a generation of employees that don't have the same frameworks we did. And so for me, I'm agnostic. You wanna be the, I mean, I had a kid come in the other day, I wanna be the CEO of a company, I'm like, great. He was like, what do I do? I'm like, work 24 hours a day for 14 years and give yourself maybe a chance to be in the mix.
And if that's not your life, that's awesome. And so I think we need to start thinking about optionality in the way that we manage and we build this organization. When I think about the growth four years in a row and all that stuff, things are changing and we know it. And I think for a lot of us, you may not like it, but the world and technology and innovation, both on the marketing and the management side, doesn't really care what you think. The world's gonna do the world. And it's our job to adjust to that reality. And so I think there's so many interesting things brewing on continuing the next decade or two to have the hands be five and 10 and 15s and 20 years in here. Some of us are gonna have to compromise on ideologies that we lived for ourselves for the best interest of the organization. That's what I'm spending time on. I worked in a retail store seven days a week, 15 hours a day for 20 years. Like that's how I saw it, that's what I liked. But I don't have any emotion for the people.
I don't view them lesser than if they wanna live that nine to five life, five days a week. I just don't want them to think that they're gonna be the EVP of the company if they do that. And so there's a lot of these kind of combos that I think are really healthy and something worth talking about. The other thing that I'm spending a lot of time on thinking about is the whole marketing shift. It's, you know, we did three Super Bowl spots at VaynerMedia in this last Super Bowl. So I'm sure it's top of mind. We did the Pepsi spots with Ben Stiller and Steve Martin and we did the Mr. Peanut, Roast the Peanut, Mr. Peanut campaign. That's marketing that we all kind of grew up with. As you saw in a clip of my intro with Larry King, he's like, what are you? I'm like, we're modern day mad men. What does that mean? How many people watched Mad Men on TV?
Just raise your hands. Great, solid. So, you know, that's an ad firm. That's how Madison Avenue was. I think a lot of us have grown up with it. But it was always television down, print down, billboard down. I think everyone here is aware that digital is now a part of our lives. You know, I think a lot of people struggle with digital being part of our lives. Watch this. How many people here, by the way, lying is the devil. So, and when I asked this question, I don't want half, I want full. Ready?
How many people here recall saying to themselves or to somebody else 15, 17 years ago, I'm not getting a cell phone. I don't need one of those things. My pager is perfect. Raise your hand. I appreciate it, my man back there. All right, seven, eight, next. How many people remember saying, I'm not getting that expensive iPhone. My Blackberry is awesome. Plus, I need the buttons on my Blackberry. Don't lie, raise your hands. Look around, look around, look around. Here's a favorite of mine.
Remember, lying is the devil. How many people here 15 years ago said, I'm not getting a Facebook account. That's for kids and my children. I'll never be on Facebook and have had a Facebook account since. Don't lie, raise your hands. This, this what we just went through for 45 seconds is the only thing I think about. The only thing I care about with marketing is selling stuff. My daddy had a liquor store. He didn't care about if people thought the video was funny or interesting. He didn't care what my opinion of a good ad was or his opinion. He cared how much Pinot Grigio and Johnny Walker Black sold. Marketing is an engine for business.
The problem and the opportunity is, is marketing is going through the biggest shift it's gone through since we transitioned from a predominant radio consuming society to a predominant television society. The internet is now 30 years old. It's really starting to hit maturity where they are now and what's happening on the modern day internet is remarkable. What's even more remarkable is how many people in this room, in this hotel, in this beautiful city, and in this country continue to underestimate the power of the modern marketing and how much they continue to overestimate yesterday. The concept of humanity is very simple. I'm going to overvalue yesterday because it's not scary, I know it. I'm gonna, for a small group of people that I roll with in Silicon Valley and others, they overestimate tomorrow. They're like, if you're not on VR selling cars, you're an idiot. There's like nine people using VR. So I'm watching everybody way, way overvalue yesterday. I promise, what I want for all of you is I want you to be obsessed with today. For example, today, Facebook reels.
If you know what TikTok is and if you know what Instagram reels are, Facebook has a version called reels. All the cool kids are doing everything on TikTok and Instagram because that's the new wave. Meanwhile, because so few people are making content for Facebook reels, yet there are tens and hundreds of millions of people consuming those reels, the supply and demand of attention and output is off kilter and one of the biggest opportunities in marketing this second is doing videos and pictures on Facebook reels to sell stuff. That is the framework that we are going to want to achieve in this room and, because this is real family and I watch how Dave talks about it, and if you're trying to raise money for your PTA and if your cousin is running for mayor in Cincinnati and if you have a little time for a side hustle and you like selling T-shirts, it is the framework of our society. The biggest reason the world's confused right now is they don't understand that the attention of our society is shifting so fast to new platforms. Think about commercials. Super Bowl's the best. I'm on CNBC saying these are a steal at seven million dollars a spot. Why? Because 100 plus Americans will actually watch it. Meanwhile, streaming is eating up all television except sports. How many people here now have Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime and are consuming shows on that?
Raise your hand. Dave, I want you to look at this crowd. One more time, raise it high all the way. I don't know if you know this, these are not 20 year olds. This crew, the OGs, you're watching Hulu and Netflix which means every minute you're doing that is a minute you're not watching cable. It's a minute you're not watching local television. And oh by the way, the random times you find yourself on cable and regular television predominantly watching sports, when the commercial comes on, I promise you're not consuming it. Even this crowd is grabbing their phone and doing something or going to the bathroom or whatever you're doing but I promise you, you're not excited for a Jeep going up a mountain telling you it's 399. That is not what you're hyped for in between watching The Housewives or the Bulls game. Consumer behavior has shifted and the amount of money that is being wasted is staggering. Meanwhile, digital's no dream either. The amount of money being wasted in digital in modern marketing is profound.
The amount of brands that are overspending on programmatic banner ads on the bottom of ESPN.com that nobody here sees is staggering. Influencer marketing, one of the greatest ways to do business in marketing today, one of the worst. You could pay somebody $5,000 to do a campaign and you could get nothing. You can get somebody for 800 bucks and you get a ton. This is like the ROI of a basketball. Let me explain. The ROI of social media and modern marketing is predicated on the player. The ROI of a basketball for LeBron James is a billion dollars. The ROI for me is negative $4,000. I've torn both of my meniscuses. The ROI for a piano for me, zero. Billy Joel, a billion.
A lot of people come up to me and say, Gary, social media doesn't work. I've been doing it for a year, it doesn't work. I go, the data's very clear, it works, it doesn't work for you because you suck at it. What we need to really realize in this room is it is about execution, it is about understanding, but we must get educated at scale of where the attention is of the customer. I'm so fired up about what we're about to do here in Houston and really use this epic city as a launching pad because brand is being built in social now much more than it's being built in outdoor direct mail or television. And you're talking to somebody who still tests for his dad's liquor store in New Jersey, outdoor, local television, and print. Mainly, just do me a favor, don't tell my dad. Mainly, I'm wasting his money so I can speak with authority in moments like this, but I'm always testing it because it's important to never get high on your own supply. I'll give you an example. Drive time radio, bought the right way, still occasionally underpriced. Billboards when you don't pay the actual price for a year or six months and you buy it when they have that two month gap where they have a different person coming in and you buy it remnant, sometimes a buy. The problem is most people are just not educated, they're not practitioners of marketing.
The difference about what's happening is you have a game of haves and have nots of practitioners. There are people who have opinions about TikTok and Facebook and Spotify, and there are the people that actually run ads and do creative on it. That, I think, is the real interesting part. When I talk to CMOs, the most interesting thing of my day, four times a day, 12 times a week, is we will play a video and it will run, and they will look at it, or we'll show them a picture, and they will look at it. And they believe that their subjective opinion of the video is the right answer. The audacity of humans deciding, I don't like that picture, we didn't like that post. The audacity of not understanding, it is not about your subjective opinion, it is about the quant and qual data after the post is made to get the insight or the sale. The lack of humility in marketing today is staggering. They are completely, completely confused about what's happening because that was what was required. In the Mad Men era, it was your subjective opinion and you ran it. We do not have to do that in modern marketing. The math and the quant and qual of social gives us the insights to then allow us to scale the marketing campaigns.
So I think the things before we go into Q&A, because I do wanna do a bunch on these two things. One, is there any clarity or any depth that we can do on the stuff that you read in the book on the management style? And does anybody have deep, and this is important because in these moments, a lot of people shell up. I would encourage many people, I'm gonna talk a little bit more, but I wanted to start setting this up. Please ask your basic marketing 101 questions because everybody else in the room has them too, and you'll be doing a service to each other, but we need to speak about them in a business context, not in like theory. And I think what I wanna do while I'm here is actually answer those questions or go into it. The punchline really of my talk, and I'm so grateful to be here with all of you, is the two things I most care about in building large businesses, and I've been very fortunate in my young life to accomplish that quite a bit, is management and marketing. And both of them are going through actual transition. And that's gonna require us not to fully change because 80% of what we all grew up with is exactly right. But we're gonna need to tweak. We're gonna need to tweak if we keep growing the way we've been growing. Because you know this, the biggest vulnerability is when things are good, right?
Like, again, when I saw five, 10, 15 years, hands up, I have a funny feeling, I have a good sense of who's in this room in my prep. The biggest thing I'm scared of is things are going well. And I'm especially concerned, though optimistic, because we've obviously gotten very significant at bat with you, is the marketing is such an arbitrage. It's such an arbitrage. I built, my dad's business went from a three to a $75 million business in seven years, and I had no money. And it was because email and Google AdWords were new. And everybody else was doing full page ads in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and I was buying the word wine on Google for five cents a clip. And we're seeing the same opportunity right now in building brand. We're outflanking with our clients at Pepsi and Proctor and Gamble and Kraft. We're outflanking competitors, because they continue to buy commercials and billboards and direct mail, and we're crushing them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn. But it does take a mental shift. There's a big difference in marketing right now, which is potentially getting to people versus getting to them.
And I think we're making too many decisions on what yesterday was about for what we feel good about. Or even occasionally, my biggest problem is when people make decisions for their ego, people would rather see a commercial during their baseball game for their company and waste money than not see the TikToks and Instagram and make more money. I will never, to the day I die, understand that. Ego and yesterday is hurting a lot of people from growing. People thinking their subjective opinion if the picture looks good or the video's funny is stopping people from making money. I think we need to cross the T's and I's on what I've been saying here for the last 20 minutes so that you understand it, because if we fall into it and go deep, there will be growth, significant growth. And on the management side, if we understand a couple of tweaks against the way we did it with managing our people could create dramatic retention and acquisition of other employees. And I think that's a great debate that I'm sure a lot of us are thinking through. So I really appreciate this time. I wanted to leave 30 for Q&A, we got 27. I'm thrilled if anybody from the management team wants to come up and kick off anything. But I most of all want to say thank you for having me.
I wanna be part of this journey with y'all and I'm around if I can be of help and thank you.
My man. You guys, I've gotten to know Gary some and I guess since I don't know how many months it's been since we signed the deal, but he really, really impressed our team when he came to Charlotte with your team. And one of the things that we love, I know Jim Keene is all business. Did that hit home to you? Tim's all about this, like everything he said and the Tim Keene said in our meeting with you, like even before they were done at Carmel Country Club, I remember. Presentation was like, how do we measure your effectiveness? Sales. Sales. Sales. Sales, Tim Keene goes, I'm sold, can we go?
Good thing he said. Sales. Sales. Tim, it's because I'm not a marketing agent. Like agencies are full of shit. They just want your money and don't wanna be held accountable. I don't wanna lose based on you or him or Dino saying that video's not funny. So the only way I can do that is sales. Now the best way to do sales is branding, right? Like I bought this $300 pair of sneaker, not because I went to a store and the guy got me or because somebody knocked on my wall at my home and said, would you like this? I did this because this thing means something to me. You are so strong at executing at the store level.
I just need to get as many people there as possible, right? And more importantly, I need them to feel a little something when they head over. It's not just awareness. It's not just knowing you exist. It's, did you just make a reference to my favorite rapper? Are you supporting the second basement of my favorite team? Do you even know the starting center of our college basketball team? How do you know that? Relevance. If we can get this brand to feel alive and not corporate in the trenches, you will get much more consideration. And if you really step back for a lot of you in this room and think about, and it's hard to break it down if you don't realize it's happening, but if you start thinking about some of the stuff you bought and what maybe got it there, word of mouth, just a good location in the store, it was easy for you to grab it off the shelf. But you'd be surprised how many things you buy day-to-day because the brand did something some way in marketing that made you think or chuckle or it meant something to you.
I'll buy anything that has the Jets involved in it. If the New York Jets are involved in the ad, I'm buying. Especially if it's alcohol because we're really losing a lot. But, you know, I think that's what I'm really worried about. But it's definitely, I mean, what are we doing here? What is marketing? I mean, I have this argument in marketing land all the time. They all just want to do marketing. I'm like, for what? We're here to do business.
We need to sell stuff. Well, and with creating that kind of artwork, and that's something that I know this whole group and everybody listening, you know, why did we, you know, hitch our wagon to you in VaynerMedia is that philosophy, is that actually creating sales is amazing. That the strategy, you may want to, I think it'd be really interesting to hear the team to hear about it, but the strategy that you guys presented to us in our meetings. And then I remember I texted you about that, about Liquid Death. And if you guys, has anybody heard of Liquid Death in the room? A few of you, I've got quite a few. And so I'm reading this, I think it's a Forge Art. I'm reading it like the guy's talking about how he built Liquid Death into this, you know, $750 billion or whatever company and the short period of time and his strategy. And I said, oh, this is a Super Bowl ad. No, it's the, everything you just talked about before I came up here. And I said, damn, that sounds really familiar. And I texted him, he goes, yeah, I was the first investor in that company.
I was like, what's the strategy? Yep. So I'm reading this, and I texted him, he goes,
yeah, I was just, and he goes, please. Even better than that. Mike Cesera, the founder and creator of that company, was a creative director at Fainter Media. And like, that's like incredible pride for me, right? Like, listen, I'm aware that there's confusion, cynicism, curiosity by what we're doing. Anytime you're doing the thing that's gonna win, in the beginning, there's confusion in the system. But there's no doubt in my mind this works for business. This may not, we may not make a commercial that gets us an award in the south of France for Can Lion. At age might not write an article of like, Echo Park made the funny, like, because I don't care about that. You definitely don't care about that. Like, I'm not gonna send you a link to an article saying, this was a funny post on Instagram, you're like, and? And so, yeah, I think, but the model, just so everybody understands, this might be fun since we got some time, it used to be, let's come up with a tagline.
Echo Park, taking you to the next place, right? And then you'd make a 30-second vanilla commercial because you were trying to make it work for everyone. And then you push it, and then the billboards look the same, and the direct mail, and you got a campaign, you got a brand. What we're trying to do is say, okay, in Houston, there's people that are gonna care about the rockets, the Astros, cars, beer, hunting, fishing, high school. Like, there's a lot of interests, and an 18 to 22-year-old guy, making $100,000 a year trading crypto, is gonna need a picture and a video that's different than a 42-year-old mom that's buying something for a 16-year-old. Like, they're just a lot of different humans. Everybody here, for me to get you to drink this, I can't say just one thing, to really get you to drink this, I need to tell you, in a room of this, 19 different things to get 80% of you. And so, what we wanna do is get a bunch of consumer segments, make content for them in the channels we know they're consuming, social, use the insights from people's comments and actions, and then build up from there. And that is just clearly the model
that is building the future businesses, clearly. Well if you think about it, yeah, it's that like Liquid Death, I mean, you could get water, didn't get any water. It's like to use car, you can buy used car anywhere. Had you created the connection with Nike has
and the shoes, you can buy shoes from anywhere.
Liquid Death, you can get water.
It's like the use car, you can buy used car. And look, again, I grew up in retail, not the size and scale that you're playing at, but I had lunch yesterday in Austin with the CEO of Whole Foods for three hours. And same conversation, like some of this is gonna be locations. Like you're all in business, like some, like I always, somebody came in the other day with one of the worst products I've ever seen. And we did our meeting and I was like, hey, at the end I was like, hey, I just wanna tell you something. Like we're so good at our job with marketing, we're just gonna speed up everyone trying your product. The problem is they're not gonna like the product. And so before you start doing marketing, you may wanna tighten that up, right? So like if one of the locations is the worst location because you can't get to it and there's construction and you can't do the U-turn and this and that,
like that's gonna be that. Well, this gets back to, but I think it's before, because Gary just flew in from Austin. What we're talking about this morning is our guest experience, our Echo Park team has the number one guest experience in pre-owned. And we were talking about how incredibly important that,
that's our product, that's what separates us from the rest. And when I get excited when we talk real business, is like if that's the case and we wanna keep reinforcing that, now you start doing all sorts of localized social media campaigns like free coffee and donuts to this crew and like, you're just, I'm obsessed with NIL. I don't know if you all know what NIL is, name engine likeness for college athletes. I wanna, I mean, that stuff when I'm, I've been analyzing that for 18 months now because we also own a sports agency, me and my brother. And you get the right kid, you know, and you know this and there's a lot of towns, especially ones that we do business in where the college player is more famous than the pro player. And all of a sudden the college player is in for two posts for 10K but a in-store appearance and we're pounding that in-store appearance and we're running the ads against fans of that college or retired superstars that didn't make it to the league but were the biggest stars of all time for that 30 to 40 to 50 year old. So there's just, it just gets back to that relevance. Once we get them in, like for me, knowing that getting people just to figure out how to come to your location, even if they're there just to take a selfie with an influencer and athlete, lends itself to long-term business, it's just about the price. I'll do anything in marketing. I just sat here and said, I don't wanna do commercials. If CBS called me tomorrow and said commercials are 80 bucks, I'd buy every commercial. It's unemotional, under priced attention.
To me, it's just the price. The problem with a lot of traditional stuff right now is they're dying, so they're charging you more. I love, do you know that newspaper ads cost more now than they did 10 years ago? It's a joke, my guy. It's a joke. And do you know how many people keep paying it?
Because that's how we built this darn place. Yeah, I love how you, especially the Super Bowl ad, that's the only time that Americans
actually want to watch the commercials. Yeah, I love how you. You know, this isn't like I'm making up. You know exactly that you watched the game. Some people just watched Super Bowl for Rihanna. Some people just watched Super Bowl for the ads. And you know that even if you were more into the game, you still watch those ads. Meanwhile, the most expensive ads that are not Super Bowl, the AFC and NFC championship game, not one of you watched those ads. The Grammys, nobody here watched those ads. The Oscars, you don't watch those ads. So to me, I think back to business and selling, back to what we're aligned on, the biggest issue with marketing is common sense is not at the table. It also goes back to the other thing we were talking about.
Another thing that is common sense is on what earth does my opinion or your opinion or Dino's opinion or Tim's opinion
be the final call for the whole bet?
Can I have a little bigger group than that? Yes, the whole world, right? Back in the day, to your point, pre-internet, you had to make that call. There was no other, we did focus groups, right? We put 10 people in a weird room and we were watching on the other side and they like that. It was super freaky and we made the whole bet on that. Now we have something, I don't know if you heard about it, it's called the internet. There's a lot of people on social media and they give a lot of opinions and they do a lot of things and we need to take advantage of that. But again, people have theoretical opinions about stuff
when they're not in it. It gets back to your conviction, your chapter, your book, what makes me think of that. It's like if you're gonna go by a focus group of 10,
you gotta have a lot of your conviction. That gets me emotional because I think we share being in business with our dads and I've done a lot of homework on this business now and we don't even sit in this room
if your dad didn't have conviction. No, but he's also, he would also be the one who was like diehard on a newspaper long after, you know, he'd wanted to spend 300,000 a month at one store on a newspaper. Yeah. He'd be like, no one's gonna read that.
Yeah, I mean, I wish, yeah, yeah, I mean, I wish I had the opportunity to yell at him. You know, like, it's, you know, I think this is an important combo. The biggest thing that freaks me out about business is there's businesses like this. When it's family owned, they're always dangerous, right? When it's got that DNA and you do so many things logically and then some reason marketing is the one place where it all goes out the window and people are about opinions and thoughts and just like silliness. We need much more practicality in our marketing. Much more, because it's meant to drive business. We also need patience to build brand. Doesn't happen overnight, but we can't waste money along the way. People get impatient and start doing the wrong thing. Staying the, it's like working out. I'm sure, how many people, I just wanna say it, how many people here at some point in their life decided for a New Year's resolution, I'm gonna lose some weight and get into shape.
Raise your hands. And of those people, do you know how many quit on January 26th, on February 19th, and we see that a lot too in marketing. That story sums up what we're dealing with a lot, which is, if you're gonna do something new, you have to like actually do it. You know, if you decided you now play pickleball instead of tennis, you can't show up to the pickleball court the third time, because you haven't figured it out yet, with a tennis racket. You gotta keep playing pickleball. And so, I'm excited about this journey, but we're empathetic, we know it's a process, especially the creative opinion. People are so used to making a subjective call of one commercial and one billboard, and it's a whole process, and now we're coming at you and saying, we're gonna put out 15 things a day. And that just is such a different thing because you're like, am I supposed to judge this? Does my opinion mean anything? And it's a whole to-do. But I'm really excited about it,
and I think we're gonna build something meaningful here. We're in Houston and we're gonna launch it in Houston, and then for the team out there, something that I know we're all very excited about is that we're gonna see the results. We see the results then we'll be able to scale that
across the whole organization, across the country. Yeah I think the thing, the biggest result you're gonna see right away, and I don't know how many people care about this, but it's the only thing I care about in marketing is we're gonna see the results of what people think about you. What they think about you, what they know about you, have they heard about you, what are the alternative things they think about, what are they interested in, in this region. And so the consumer insights are gonna come and then you start pouring, back to the Green Mountain coffee Auth, Like when do you spend the money to make the sale? Like finding a plus, this is a different, K-cups are very different than a car. And so we know that. I mean, we sold a jet engine for GE on one post on LinkedIn, and it blew everyone's minds to that company. They didn't think it could be. But marketing's the same. It's just, where's the attention? Do you put something in front of them that they want? I think the thing that the organization's gonna have to have strategic patience on is what people normally do when the market doesn't know you is you spend heavy upfront, awareness, right?
You hit it, right? The problem is 99% of marketing campaigns in that model fail. So my point was, and how I built everything and how I've watched all the things that have become big built, Palaton, Tesla, all of it is build up for a little while. And to me, I always think whoever holds the breath the longest wins. So I wanna hold my breath as long as possible. Now, I own tons of businesses. In that scenario, I get to make that decision. In this one part of my life, I don't. So it's about a lot of communication with like, what are we doing here? Because to me, the longer you can hold your breath and do that model, the more likely you're gonna know what to put out when you spend the big dollars for that awareness. It's just logical, it's science. It's science.
Test and learn, test and learn, test and learn. But it's not test and learn. Every time you're doing it, you're marketing and you're getting more people to know. And so it's gonna be a fun journey. And the reason we went from zero to $350 million business, zero to 1,800 people globally from somebody who was in the wine business to Madison Avenue is we fully, we live on that. We think that's oxygen, comma. We think the comments, what's called the qualitative data is the secret sauce of the whole industry and no one's doing it because it's hard. For example, I've hired 200 kids that are psych majors whose job it is for a living to read all the comments about every dealership in Houston and make assumptions and observations on the chatter to put us in a position to win. That's an investment that one day I think everyone will make. Today, very few do. As a matter of fact, have you seen this whole chat GPT AI thing going on? I'm really mad about it because people are gonna figure out what I'm up to and use it to do the same thing and it's gonna take away one of our advantages but that's exactly right.
It's when do you decide to spend and pour lighter fluid on it? My biggest thing is when you've got it narrowed in and you understand it, that's a better shot than just shooting up and praying. Those bullets are expensive when you do heavy TV and launch and billboards. You're really guessing on four people's subjective opinion. Should we do some Q and A before I get out here?
Q and A before I get out here? Yeah, I was gonna say we've got not much time left and we'll jump into some questions. One question I had that I mentioned to you earlier is this team is coming off our fourth consecutive all-time record to you. We're all very thrilled and excited and grateful. How do you, whether you wanna speak to personally or your company, how do you stay motivated? Because I believe our team's gonna have to spend a lot of time this year motivating our other teammates out there who are listening to jump out of bed every morning and be as hungry as they were
and get the job done in 2020 personally and be as hungry. I've always said to business owners, leaders of companies, this is the most challenging one. I actually referenced it earlier in my talk. I'm very concerned when that happens because complacency, there's a little lot of things and companies' reactions are usually too extreme to the left or the right. They either go with a subconscious fear structure or they go with rah-rah and really neither actually works. The reality is, the reason I'm not as scared here is this is less corporate than 99% of things that I see. This is family. So everyone's in it. And then you just gotta analyze people's behaviors. There could be people in it for real. They're just really genuinely thinking about fishing for the rest of their lives and they're just, quote unquote, wrapping it up. That, at the top, you just gotta watch people's behaviors but I think it's just a candorous conversation.
And I think, again, what's amazing about having continuity at the senior level is we're not 20-year-olds in this room. We've seen the ups and downs. We know how this works, right? And so it's hard to win this game except being candorous of like, we're paying attention, we, Dave, down, we're paying attention to this vulnerability and that's not a threat, that's not a bad thing. We're just aware that that's something we're thinking about and every individual has to think about that for themselves and inspire the others around us. And then be okay with the 10% on each agenda. 10% of this crew is gonna go harder than ever. 10% is in that life cycle and in that reality of their life that they just might not want that and that's okay. Especially, you know, when they've given 15, 17, 20 years of great stuff. It's just real life and I think that's how you think about it very practically. Good answer. Thank you, sir.
Why don't we jump in, we actually have a great question from Chris Parker at Cook Park, Houston. J.D., you know this guy, Chris Parker? J.D., you know this guy? Speaking of family, right? Real family. Is there any benefit you see in blending or overlapping the future branding of Echo Park in the power sports segment? Yeah.
Or are the brands best managed separately? No, I think you can do a lot of that. I mean, I think, I mean, that's the point of our model. I think you should be playing in every sector and power sports is one of those. I mean, the answer to any question of crossing over in Houston or the whole country, the answer is gonna be yes, because that's the brilliance of social media done properly. You can play in everything at a low cost and get quant and qual affirmation and then make much more thoughtful business decisions versus guessing on a tagline and making everything match or the production value of the video or the social media post has to be like a Martin Scorsese movie. You can see I have some pent up anger about that. I just, I keep showing businesses like this sold 80,000 units and it was done on an iPhone. And they're like, yeah, but do this. And it costs us $200,000 to make the video.
We sell nine. Let's see. Oh, you got a good one? Did you refresh? Did I? Yeah, I've got, okay, quite a few. It looks like they're coming through. Fine.
Oh, you got a good one?
Did you refresh? Let's see, Concord, Toyota, Tracy, Goose Tree. Let's see, this guy says, he says, he comment on brooding the newspaper ads. Reminds me back in 85 when I started in this business. The GM would hide the checks for the newspaper ads as the owner still thought advertising was word of mouth. Look how far we've come. It's true. Just a good comment. It's true. Let's see, another one. Where do you see cross promotion marketing
and marketing shift in building a brand? It's true. Just a good comment.
It's true. You know what, I think cross promotion is that in reference to the brands that we're selling or I just want to make sure I feel. It's a retail strategy for us. Ramirez, make sure you send me a LinkedIn with the full detail of the context of that because there's a couple of different ways that cross promotion is defined.
I just want to make sure I give you the right answer. Okay, Edward Freehart, BMW Denver. If we were to try and make reels at the dealership level, what are the basic pillars we should follow to try and get the most success out of them? I love that. You also mentioned the Jeep crawling up the mountain at least payment. What messaging would be better to resonate
and grab the attention of our customers? I love that. Yeah, I mean, I think anything is better than a Jeep going up a mountain. So that's number one. As far as the pillars, I think that's at the dealership level. We've given you the, so the framework is called PAC, platforms and culture. The only thing that matters when you make stuff for social media is do you understand the platforms? Do you know that TikTok, you can duet and stitch? Do you know that Instagram, you can do a carousel? Do you understand that Twitter has now changed and you don't have to be just 240 characters or 280? You can be 4,000 if you pay eight dollars a month. Like, do you know what's going on with the platforms?
There's a lot of things you'll talk about that I don't understand, right? I understand how to operate stores, I understand location, location, location. I understand convenience as king. I built my company on service, I understand a lot of things, but there are absolutely things that I won't fully understand that is not my world. This world though, I really do understand one of the things my dad taught me is don't talk about things you don't know, right? And so one of the most interesting things as we go on this journey is, there's gonna be a lot of talking from people who don't even know what they're talking about. I respect every opinion, but let's talk it through and let's see if you actually know what we're talking about, right? And so I think these platforms matter for the dealer level, but then there's the culture. He said in Denver, oh, where did we move it? So let's just, I think it was Denver. In Denver, what's the culture in Denver? There's definitely the Broncos and the Nuggets and the Avalanche, that culture matters.
Obviously, hiking and skiing, but there's just, what's going on? You know this, in New York, I always think about this, like seven years ago, somebody, a chef, a baker, mixed a croissant with a donut and it was the kronut and it like took over New York and every brand we did anything with a kronut thing, crushed. But it was a two week thing, right? And so like, do you know who the coolest rappers are? Who are the influencers? And then what demos are you trying to reach? Obviously, if you're talking about polo G, you might be talking 18 to 25. You might, you know, Warren G might be 40, Kenny G might be 60. And so do you understand the culture of sports, music, entertainment, food, the local politics? That's the stuff that has to show up than a generic Jeep going up and you need to hit that 12, 15, 20 times a day. Then you see what works, you double down. Some of it works so well, you turn it into an ad to sell stuff.
Other becomes the brief to making a video for 50,000 because now you're sure it's college football.
That, no guessing. This is a perfect follow up to that from CG Safra. Okay. And it's, I would say CG, I'm preemptively saying this, that if you follow Gary's social media, you'll learn a lot of this stuff and to answer your own question, but what do you religiously read on a consistent basis
to understand what is happening in the market?
Follow Gary's social media. Couple things I do, every morning I wake up, I open up the Apple App Store and look at the top 200 free apps to see if anything's brewing. Why is B-Real doing this? Why is Snap going up, down, left, right? So I always look at that because that's pure data. That's what the humans of America are using on their app. So that's one thing I do. I also have like tons of alerts to different terms and marketing, but like at this point in my career, I have all internal data, right? We work with all the platforms. So we know stuff that's coming before it happens. We have a pack team platform and culture. The culture team's job broken up into fashion, sports, politics are just watching literally everything that's happening on Reddit, Twitter, Google, the news, the newspaper.
Like for a living, we do listening so that we do effective talking on the backend. And so the answer is everything for us. If somebody individually wants to do it, I think you actually alluded to it. There's 20, 50, 500 human beings that I think do a good job curating it. So people are good to follow. Google Alerts is good. Google Trends is very interesting. We do a lot of that work as well. Is that Big Mike? Big Mike.
I like that. Concord, Toyota. Big Mike.
Regarding effective. By the way, Big Mike should be in the content. Real quick, on a dealership level, there are humans that work at these dealerships that should be in the content. And anybody who names themselves Big Mike
is one of those people. I understand he's a big man.
And JD's a big dude.
He's a big dude. Well he says regarding effective posting on social, our tags, hashtags, locations, et cetera, more or less important than the content itself. They're dramatically. Also some best practices for knowing
which are the best practices. Yes, they're dramatically, yeah. So we'll continue to feed that. And then you from Central will need to figure out how you wanna do this on that fragmented level. But that is the P. That's the platform. Big Mike's been in the game. Hashtags used to really matter six years ago. Really matter. Now they matter very little. This will make sense. Is it in my, yep, you see my slide?
I day trade attention. What worked yesterday might change tomorrow. Instagram makes one change that changes the whole product. TikTok comes out and it changed every other social media product because it was so dominant. Because it wasn't about who you followed it's what kind of stuff do you wanna see? Which you could, you know right, I see a lot of you shaking heads. You followed somebody who's your buddy six years ago, you may not care anymore. You might have this same interest, especially high school and college because now social's been around but who your friends are at 18, a lot of times aren't at 28, different interests, different life cycles. And so now social media is not about who you follow and what they're saying, it's more about the algorithms and putting the kind of stuff you're into right now, which completely changed everything. So, great question by Big Mike. Hashtag's less important to answer a question of like, how do you stay on top of it? That's either you doing your own research
or that's what we do for a living. Mike Walker, BMW Fairfax, one of our superstars. If you are running at 100, zero to 100 scale on ambition, energy, expectations, et cetera, are you at peace accepting that a colleague at best will get to 85% of you? What does the conversation of the 70s sound like?
I love it. Walker, if you are,
I love this question. I know we're wrapping up, but I'm gonna try to milk this. The most, so my dad and I, my dad and I lived 40, my parents lived 45 minutes away from the liquor store that we worked in. So we had a 45 minute drive on the highway there and back. As you might be able to figure out, I talked a lot in those cars. My father, I don't know how many people here have a Soviet father, was born in the 50s in Soviet Russia. He talked zero. But there were certain things that he would say, actually, I think everyone will get a kick in this. The first time when I was 14, oldest son, immigrant family, were going to work, but my world flipped upside down. I was making $1,000 a weekend selling sports cards in the malls of New Jersey. Now I'm getting paid two bucks an hour to bag ice for 17 hours a day. So my world flipped upside down.
He didn't say a single word on the entire drive to the liquor store on my first day, not one word. We pull up into the parking lot, he turns to me. Now, do you remember what Ivan Drago sounded like in Rocky? Imagine that voice turns to me, looks at me, he goes, keep an eye on the employees, they steal. So this is the man I'm dealing with for the next 25 years on this issue of 85s and 70s. The number one thing my dad complained about in my teenage years is that the workers didn't work as hard as him. And finally, the seventh time he brought up, I said, dad, if you want the employees to work as hard as you, make them your equal partner. They're not supposed to work as hard as you. The way I deal with 85s and 70s is similar to what I said earlier. If you wanna work nine to five, that's amazing. I'll comp you for what that is. Hopefully you'll enjoy that compensation, but you need to be prepared for people to lap you.
If you're 100, you can't expect people to match your ambition and your work ethic because you're gonna end up in a different place than they are. You just need to articulate that they better not become entitled and expect things. This is why school is a problem. This is why eighth place trophies are a problem. You wanna know why America's all bent out of shape? It's because 25 years ago, we gave kids trophies that came in eighth place. We confused people. We confused merit. So what I say to 85s and 70s, as long as that 70 isn't in a place where you feel they shouldn't be here anymore because you can replace them at the same cost for somebody that will go 85, I just say manage your expectations on your execution. Now, if he's saying that I don't own the place and I'm not the boss and this is me about a fellow coworker, you need to be over communicating to your managers and your bosses that you expect that the merit of your efforts outlast. There's also one other thing that we never talk about. It's called talent, especially in selling stuff.
Some people can go 60% and outperform people that go 130%. Talent is part of this. Nobody tries harder on the basketball court than me. I lose a lot in basketball. So the other part we have to talk about in this scenario, if it's a different version of the question is you might be going 100, your friend might be going 50, but that friend might be so charismatic, so good at selling that her or his results are better than yours and that's the real game. So it depends on which angle that 185 and 70 came from, but, Dave, I thought about everything, my man. I've spent the last 25 years thinking about everything human beings do, which is why the framework and thank you for having me of management, managing people and marketing, getting people to buy what I want them to do is the only thing I've been doing since I, when I was seven, seven, I tricked my friends to stand behind the lemonade stands that I had so that I could walk the streets of New Jersey and figure out which trees and poles were best to put the signs for my lemonade because I was trying to figure out the attention. I didn't read a book. I didn't see a Gary Vee video. Like many of you, which is why you're in this room, some things you're just born with and you gotta really execute on it and I will tell you one thing for sure that this organization is starting is on a marketing plan that is gonna outflank everyone. I ask all of you to be thoughtful and patient, but hold us accountable. I'm not asking you to be patient to hide.
I'm asking you to be patient because that's how the model works, but I think we're on a real journey together and I'm really available for all of you. Now I gotta fly back to New York and do three meetings tonight
because work ethic matters. Thank you so much for listening to that entire episode. We wanna remind you to give Gary Vee back, so make sure you tweet him at Gary Vee, but if you're listening on Spotify, you can drop your comments, questions, and anything in between in the Spotify Q&A section down below. See you in the next episode.