Three weeks ago, we continued our conversation about data monetization and business models used to turn data into real money. These include selling raw data, processing data to sell insights and selling tailored transactions.

As foreshadowed, this Tech Talk is intended to help organizations think about “going to market” – i.e., identifying customers, marketing to them and converting sales. While the focus here is on data products, these principles can be applied to almost any go-to-market strategy.

One of the best in the business at marketing and sales is Gary Vaynerchuk (note to viewers: GaryVee uses a lot of foul language, which may not be appropriate for some audiences). He is chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing clients around the globe.

The following are taken, in part, from one of GaryVee’s recent “4Ds” (Digital Discovery Deep Dive), during which he shares his wisdom with small business owners and entrepreneurs.

  • Know your core customer. Once you know your core customer, then you can build “look-alike” audiences to whom you can target specifically and strategically. Rather than trying to market to a wide audience – i.e., being all things to everybody – hone in on the specific population your innovation helps and who will pay you to use it.
  • Know your craft. After you identify who to target, you need to convince them that your organization and product are trustworthy. Customers view your product as an investment, so they need to believe that your organization understands the problem that it solves. Getting “nerdy” about what you do demonstrates valuable insight. When developing your marketing content, GaryVee suggests acting “as if you are architectural digest, not Pablo Picasso.”
  • Get a conversion (i.e., sale). After identifying your target market and developing content, the next step is deploying the content with intention. Inherently, sellers want to cast a wide net – hoping to convert a lot of customers out of the gate – rather than getting that “first sale.” This is a fatal mistake. GaryVee uses the metaphor of asking your customers out for a cup of coffee; if you can get seven customers to “have coffee with you,” then you are guaranteed to convert at least two.

As such, focus on impressing a small number of potential customers with your nerdiness rather than showing off to the masses. The intent of your content and marketing will be obvious to potential customers. A relationship built on trust is a prerequisite for earning a conversion.

  • Have a little heart. GaryVee tells a story of running his family’s liquor retail business. On December 23, 2001, he got a call from a lady who did not receive her $45 case of White Zinfandel. He leaves the store floor, where he is selling $40,000 an hour, to drive two-plus hours to deliver the case himself. The customer turned out to be an ungrateful elderly lady, and his dad was furious with him for leaving the store.
But GaryVee explains the silver lining: For the next three years, “that story became the foundation of how we treated every single customer; it became our competitive edge.” GaryVee says to “figure out how to afford the allocation of a little bit of heart (vs. brain) into your business” and your long-term value will be exponentially more.
Adam H. Berry is vice president of economic development and technology at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He joined the organization in 2019.