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Inbound 2016: 7 Takeaways from Gary Vee’s Keynote Address

“We’re living in the greatest era of communication change since the printing press,” proclaimed Gary Vaynerchuck at his Inbound 2016 keynote address. This kind of explosive change might scare some people, but not Gary Vee, he’s pumped! The entrepreneur, author, investor and 24/7 hustler oscillated between sweeping ideas and tactical do’s and don’ts for a knowledge-hungry crowd in Boston last Tuesday, dishing out as many nuggets of insight as he did expletives. Here are seven key takeaways from his keynote speech:

Offense vs. Defense

“Understand that Snapchat and YouTube and Facebook and Instagram are ABC, NBC, ESPN and MTV.” Either you embrace these changes as a massive opportunity to create custom content (at a fraction of the price of traditional media…for now), or you make excuses, dwell in the past, dismiss the changing tides and execute too late. This is the difference between offensive and defensive thinking, and will determine your success as surely as your budget.

Be a Practitioner

To truly be on the offense, business owners, marketing directors, and the C-Suite, need to understand the new media ecosystem. This means operating it themselves. Don’t enlist the first twenty-something you see to execute your targeted social campaigns. Take ten hours and learn how to do it yourself (hot tip: Google it) so you aren’t taken advantage of and can truly say you understand today’s marketing landscape. “It’s an equal playing field if you’re willing to be a practitioner and understand the ecosystem I’ve been speaking about tonight,” says Vaynerchuk, “The problem is, even at a conference like this where this is so much marketing skill, I am flabbergasted by the lack of practitioner-ship in the actual creative ability & paid media amplification of creative to make a business action.”

You might also like: Content Amplification: The Key to a Winning Marketing Strategy

Creative is the Variable of Success

Once you’re 110% committed to distribution through the modern ecosystem, it’s the strength of your creative that ultimately decides the fate of your marketing efforts, “We are all battling for attention but once you have my attention, creative is the variable… If your video sucks sh*t… you will lose.”


What are you good at? What do you like doing? Most people don’t take the time to ask themselves these questions, he says. The majority of marketers fall into the left brain/right brain dichotomy where they either favor data (Digital Strategists) or creative (Madison Avenue) depending on which they are good at: “If you understand and start respecting both art and science… math & creative equally… friction! Creating that diamond – you’ll be a successful marketer over the next decade. Understand what you’re not good at and start building your skills!

Tactical Tips

“Bulk email in 2016 is insanity.”

“We have to have a lot more risk tolerance on new platforms. We continue to downplay the upside because we fear the risk of being on there ‘wasting time’.”

“Twitter is overpriced. It has a fire-hose problem.”

“Banner ads are such a mistake for businesses today because there is nobody here going to the right side of DailyDaily.org and clicking a f*cking banner ad!”

“We sit here tonight with an ungodly amount of ridiculous marketing tactics and looming ahead of us is so much technology.”

This is the Golden Age of Business & of Life!

He urges everyone to visit a nursing home, speak to those who understand how far we have come, “Do SOMETHING that recalibrates your perspective on what is actually going on here. We have never had it better!”

Final Data Point

“More people in America will die from a coconut falling out of a tree and hitting you on the head and killing you than terrorism.”

As always, Gary Vee tells it like it is and how it is going to be, whether we’re ready for it or not.

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