"It’s never been less important to be smart than it is today because every single piece of knowledge sits on your phone," Gary Vaynerchuk, founder & CEO of VaynerMedia, told his audience at HousingWire’s Real Estate Expo (REX Annual) on Monday.
In an age where anyone can search via Google to find out who the 14th president of the United States was, information is at our fingertips. However, Vaynerchuk noted, "It’s what you do with the data after you have it that most dictates your success."
Vaynerchuk, who grew up as an immigrant, came to the United States with close to nothing, living in a tiny studio apartment. However, he had a drive, riding in his Big Wheels to collect money from each of his eight lemonade stands at six years old.
By the age of 17, he had taught himself everything about Pinot Grigio after working in his father’s liquor store for a year, and then launched winelibrary.com. At a time when the Internet was nowhere near what it is today, Vaynerchuk was ahead of his time.
But according to the CEO, that’s how you set yourself aside. "The only way to really succeed is to be enough in the future while still remaining practical," he said.
For instance, Vaynerchuk advised the audience of real estate professionals to start eyeing up Google Glass. We’re still a couple of years from it being fully in market, Vaynerchuk said, so we should be thinking about it, but not executing on it quite yet. Up-and-coming social media sites such as Vine, however, are a great place to be looking now.
Whether you’re B2B or B2C, the practicality of being where the consumer will be in the future is where it’s at now, he said.
So what is the commonality between someone who sells real estate and someone who sells lemonade at age six? "Tell the story about what you do for a living to people who will buy it during the process in which they are looking to buy," advised Vaynerchuk.
Consumers’ attention is shifting, so it's crucial to anticipate the things consumers think they’re never going to do, but that you believe they actually will end up doing.
For example, so many years ago, no one thought they would pay for things over the Internet with a credit card, but today, everyone’s doing it.
"Every person in this room is a media company," Vaynerchuk said. "Being the best media company you can be over the next decade will dictate your success."
In a time when everybody is hunting, you should be farming. Consumers like convenience, and the way we now communicate matters to everyone in this room, said Vaynerchuk to his crowd.
"Access is the real value in play," he added. Actual engagement is what matters.
According to Vaynerchuk, the real value would be to leave the conference, get on Twitter and engage with everyone tweeting about his session.
"What social networks really are is just the plumbing in our society to make your word of mouth go farther," he concluded.