Gary V

I had the chance to spend some tome today with that New Media force of nature — Gary Vaynerchuk. For those, who haven’t seen him, Gary is a dynamic and passionate speaker. Witness, for example, his keynote performance at the recent MyWeb 2.0 conference (note: contains some strong language). But there’s a key difference between Gary and a number of prominent business speakers — not only can he talk the talk, he has also launched and grown successful businesses and recently published a commendable no nonsense book on enjoying wine.

How does he do it? More important, what can we as marketers do — not to be clones of Gary — to grow our own brands and products?

As he tells it, he grows community. He uses tools such as blogs, Tweeter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, YouTube and SEO/SEM. It’s not the tools per se, but how he uses them. He is online to listen, learn, contribute. This is not just feel good marketing. It’s ROI driven and embraces measurable media such as Google AdWords over conventional pay and pray media buys.

How does this busy entrepreneur spend his time? “I read and respond to blog comments, hang out on social network groups where my customers go, and (at least try to) answer all of my email.”

How have you connected with your customers today?