Gary Vaynerchuk: This is the most important device in the world

Companies that want to succeed need to develop strategies to reach customers through their mobile devices or risk getting crushed by those that do, says entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

“This is the most important device in the world,” Vaynerchuk told attendees at the Nordic Business Forum, holding his phone aloft.

“Tonight, when I go out in Helsinki, I would rather have somebody come up to me, stab me in the stomach with a knife, and steal my wallet than lose my phone,” he declared.

Vaynerchuk runs VaynerMedia, an 800-employee digital agency that counts GE, PepsiCo, and Toyota as clients. He famously developed his family’s wine business from a $3 million company into a $60 million operation, and is an investor in Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Birchbox.

Vaynerchuk argued that the main currency of modern business is attention, and determining the best way to seize customers’ attention should be the primary focus of all companies.

“At the end of the day, before you tell me how great your product is, or your service, or your wine … you need somebody’s attention,” he said.

And that attention, he underscored, is fully fixated on mobile devices.

“We are living through major communication shifts,” said Vaynerchuk. “We live in a mobile-only world, we just don’t realize it yet,” he said. “Whether Twitter becomes big and then is not big, whether Facebook is here and then not here, I don’t care,” he continued. “I don’t care if Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter all disappear, the concept of us consuming information and making business decisions through this is here,” he said, displaying his phone again.

“We are living through a revolution, this is the television, and television is the radio, and it’s 1960,” Vaynerchuk stressed. “There is a huge opportunity.”

If that’s the case anywhere, then it certainly is in Finland. Vaynerchuk said that Finns spend half of their time online using social media on their mobile devices. He said that the rest of their time is spent in gaming and utility applications.

“All of a sudden the word social media … becomes a little bit more important,” he said.

He therefore urged attendees to abandon all prejudices against fully engaging clients via social media.

“If you do not understand that if you are religious, or emotional, of where you send your message, whether it is print, radio, conferences, or direct mail, if you are emotional, draw lines in the sand, or talk about how your grandfather used to do it, in a 2017 world you are massively vulnerable,” Vaynerchuk warned.

“The longer you hold out and you want it to be 2002, and 1997, and 1983, great. Knock yourself out,” he continued. “Let me make you a promise. Technology will run you over. Somebody who is smaller than you will take your business because the attention of all of our consumers and all age groups in 2017 is here,” he showed his phone again.

He suggested that all companies hire to create content to capture customers’ attention. “Every company needs an editor-in-chief,” he said. “You better figure out how you story tell and how you market on these platforms because if you don’t you will be finished.”

In addition to his marketing and investment activity, Vaynerchuk is also a popular author. His book, Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion, was a bestseller. He also hosts a video series called #AskGaryVee about social media and entrepreneurship.

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