The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk [Book Review]

December 7, 2011 Book Reviews 2 comments

Gary Vaynerchuk has been “crushing” it ever since he was a teenager helping out in his family’s wine business. And his latest book shows how he does it.

Written by the straight-talking serial entrepreneur and founder of, The Thank You Economy presents a no-holds-barred approach to how businesses can leverage on the power of social media.

Packed with case studies from online retail darling Zappos, burger joint AJ Bombers, burrito selling Boloco, Dr Irena Vaksman (a tweeting dentist!) to the Joie de Vivre Hotels, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller is written in his characteristic heart-on-the-sleeve and conversational manner.

For an idea of what this means, check out the video featuring Gary below:

No Fancy Frameworks

Unlike university professors or big-name consultants, Gary doesn’t waste time on fancy frameworks or theoretical underpinnings.

Instead, his ideas are honed from the school of hard knocks, peppered with anecdotes from his own experience and a sprinkling of statistics.

Hailing the return of personalised, one-on-one attention, the book nudges you to care intensely for your customers, over deliver on your brand experience, and building a rock solid company culture can trigger Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing while sustaining your customer communities.

Why Social Media Rocks

A huge fan of social media and networks, particularly Twitter and Facebook where he drew much of his examples from, Gary dedicated an entire chapter to the importance of social media.

While admitting that traditional media still has a place in the marketing mix – Gary himself has advertised on New York billboards to promote his previous book Crush It! – Gary felt that managing your online communities is paramount to succeed and thrive in the new Thank You Economy.

Old Spice Man Not Spicy Enough

My favourite chapter was the one where he openly critiqued the Old Spice Man commercials.

Although the campaign created a major spike in sales and brand awareness for the heritage toiletry brand, it did not follow through with its hordes of 120,000 fans on Twitter.

As a result, it was seen more as a “sprinter stuck in a traditional marketing mind-set, not a marathon runner living in the Thank You Economy”.

14 Takeaways

So what are the key ideas in the Thank You Economy?  They’re pretty straightforward actually, and I’ve summarized their key points below:

1) Always care for your customers, employees, vendors and brand – with everything that you’ve got.

2) Don’t be afraid to erase any lines in the sand (ie not be afraid of trying anything new or unfamiliar), especially when it comes to deploying social media.

3) Show up first in a market; be early and ahead of the rest.

4) Instill a culture of caring in your business by being self-aware and committed to change. Walk the talk, invest in your employees, hiring culturally compatible folks, be authentic and empower your team.

5) Remember that there is a C behind every B2B transaction.

6) Speak your customers’ language and allowing customers to help shape your business or brand without you losing control of the direction.

7) Building a feeling of community around your brand or business.

8) Deploy both traditional and social media to extend the conversation on your brand. Gary called this the “Ping-Pong” effect. Here, brands should try to “earn media”

9) Direct your marketing initiatives towards the emotional centre and the creative extremes. In other words, connecting to the hearts of your customers while being boldly creative.

10) Embrace good intent – aim for quality engagements rather than quantity. Inauthentic intents can often be easily sniffed out in a transparent social media mediated world.

11) Use shock and awe to blow your customers’ minds and get them talking. Here, Gary is talking about over delivering on your customer experience such that they have nothing but great things to say about you.

12) Use “pull” tactics (engagement, conversation, service) that remind consumers why they should care about your brand.

13) Play it big if you’re small, and play it small if you’re big.

14) Don’t be afraid to crawl before you run.

Zooming in on Zappos

The final chapter of The Thank You Economy contained little thoughts, ideas, and snippets in a style which echoed Seth Godin’s own approach.

Gary paid homage to Zappos and its legendary founder Tony Hsieh. He reproduced Hsieh’s email to all Zappos employees following its sale via a share swap to Amazon in the book, and cited this as an example of how you should communicate to your employees in a company obsessed with a customer centric culture.

Beware of Burnout

Before I end, let me offer a word of caution.

While The Thank You Economy does have many useful ideas for entrepreneurs or intrepreneurs, we should also be mindful about running ourselves ragged.

Work related burnout is a very real issue in this day and age. Trying to be all things to your customer may derail your own health and peace of mind if it borders on obsession-compulsion.

For sure, you should keep the tweets coming and to respond to them, but do remember that you’re human too.

What are your thoughts on Gary Vee’s ideas in the book? I’d love to read them!

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. Thanks for sharing about the book, I think it will be helpful to many. Along with I want to talk about Kaleil Kaleil Isaza Tuzman . I inspired with him. He started his own business in early age. He struggled a lot to make his dream come true. He is best known as an entrepreneur and co-founder of At present he is the CEO & chairman of the board of KIT Digital. KIT Digital is one of the largest video software and service provider worldwide & dealing with prestigious brands like K-mart, Verizon, Best Buy, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Disney-ABC, FedEx, General Motors, and Hewlett-Packard.

  2. Thanks for posting this Walter.
    The Thank You Economy was a game changer for me.
    I learned a ton about the importance of social media for business.

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