Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote talk on the future of A/E/C business development at PCBC 2014

I’m a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and have been following his work for the better part of a decade. If you’re like most people, you might be thinking to yourself, “Who is Gary Vaynerchuk?” The short version: Gary took his family’s liquor store from $3M per year to over $60M per year by leveraging social media to establish himself as a leading expert in his field.

At this year’s PCBC, Gary was a keynote speaker on the final day of the event. I was able to sneak away from the Xpera Group’s booth long enough to catch his talk, and I later offered my take on it at my personal blog, More From Less.

For those of you that were unable to attend the event, or have never seen Gary speak before, the folks at PCBC have kindly made video available at YouTube:

Be forewarned: One thing about Gary is that he never holds back. If you are sensitive about certain words, or if you are beholden to traditional marketing practices, you may be offended.

What does this have to do with the A/E/C industry?

Granted, Gary is known as a wine guy and a social media guy. He’ll be the first to tell you that he doesn’t know much at all about the architecture, engineering and construction industry. What he does understand is people, business and how the two come together. Gary’s consulting company, VaynerMedia works almost exclusively with Fortune 50 companies on major social media strategies.

So what can those of us in the A/E/C industry take away from this talk?

  • Stop being romantic about your company – Nobody really cares what you did 25, 50 or even 100 years ago. What are you doing right now to drive innovation in the industry? If you don’t have an answer, you’re done.
  • Most companies using social media act like a 19 year old dude on a first date – What’s that mean? It means trying to close the deal on the first transaction. Instead, social media strategy is about building a relationship over time. As Gary explains in his new book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, the most effective strategy is a series of jabs—helpful pieces of content (links to informative stories, industry news, etc.)—followed by an occasional right hook, where you ask for something in return.
  • Are you marketing in the year we live in? People aren’t hiring companies like yours because of an ad in the yellow pages, an ad on a company vehicle, a flyer, or even because of Google ads (that’s so 2005…). You have to go where the customers are that you want to have, not just where your current customers may be.

There are lots of useful and directly actionable tips that Gary delivered over the course of his talk. The return on your investment of time watching the keynote depends entirely on your willingness to question the status quo.

Join me, if you dare…

For the second year in a row, Xpera Group has been named as one of San Diego’s top 100 fastest growing privately-held companies. Where does the growth come from? Relationships. End of story.

Clients aren’t coming to us because of listings in various directories, yellow page ads, radio spots, billboards or truck signs. And they aren’t coming to us because of banner ads, SEO tactics, or even e-blasts.

Clients come to us because of the value we bring to each and every project. We know that behind every project, and behind every contract, there is a living, breathing human that is just trying to get through their day. And if we can help make that person’s day just a little bit better, even in some small way, it is worth it. It is how we would want to be treated.

That is how to grow a business. And that is also how to transform an entire industry.

To paraphrase Gary:

YOU, with a little bit of me, are going to change the construction industry whether they like it, or not.


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