Book 4: “The Thank You Economy”, Gary Vaynerchuk

cover image for The Thank You Economy

For all their worth, self-help books, and books about business, both tend to exhibit sickening quantities of saccharine motivational fluff. This book falls in to the same trap but is still a worthwhile read, and it has a lot to say of interest.

In “The Thank You Economy”, Vaynerchuk argues that social media is bringing us back to a forgotten age of commerce, in which businesses rose and fell as a product of their customer service. Concordantly, he argues that businesses, to succeed, must take a relationship-oriented approach to social media.

In this forgotten age of which Vaynerchuck writes, the local grocer on Main Street wasn’t just a businessperson, but potentially your neighbour, and you may have cut his hair every second Friday. In this context, customer service is naturally wedded to everyday human relationships, an additional facet that, like any other, would be kept generous and respectful. However, this age was forgotten as globalisation and ecenomic hegemony made it possible for businesses to get away with  appalling customer service – the sheer size of available markets meant that the disgruntled minority could not affect the purchases of many more. But now, Vaynerchuk suggests, we have now come full circle: citizen-generated media such as blogs, tweets, and facebook stats updates make it possible for examples of poor or excellent customer service to become more widely-known much more easily. Vaynerchuk givese examples of a variety of businesses that attend diligently through social media to their customers, as well as of poorly-treated customers whose stories were heard far and wide, prompting action. Because of the newfound import of relationships for doing business, Vaynerchuk suggests placing far less emphasis on traditional advertising, and much more on genuinely investing in customer relationships.

Look, it’s an interesting book, and if you like thinking about Social Media and society you should well get in to it. Also, this book motivated me to get Foursquare and, shee-it, I’m so surprised by how enjoyable it is.

Rating: 4/5

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