The Thank You Economy

Summary Written by Chris Taylor
"When given the choice, people will always spend their time around people they like. When it's expedient and practical, they'd also rather do business with and buy stuff from people they like. And now, they can."

- The Thank You Economy, page 4

The Big Idea

Transaction or Relationship?

"People want to have close relationships with their brands. It still sounds a little weird today, but one day it won't. The right time to start building those relationships is right now."- The Thank You Economy, page 64

How do your customers view you? Did they buy from you because you were the cheapest? Or because of something more?

Gone are the days of captive audiences and solo retailers. People have choice now; an unprecedented level of choice. So much choice, as Sheena Iyengar pointed out in our recent interview with her, that it can, at times, be overwhelming. And so, consumers are looking for relationships. They want to build identity through their brand, and the products/services that they use. Your customers are more than a number in your balance sheet and they want to be treated as such. Making them feel special requires work.

But here’s the good news. When your customers feel appreciated – when they consider their relationship with you to be more than a simple transaction – they get loyal. Fast. They’ll stick with you through thick and thin, and be willing to forgive your occasional slip up. As long as you’re authentic, transparent, and willing to admit when you’re wrong (and then make up for it), those individual transactions can turn into long term customer relationships, with the recipients not only buying more from you (and more often), but acting as your ambassadors as well. There’s very real ROI (return on investment) in that for you, and is not to be taken lightly.

So, build relationships.

Insight #1


"If you're going to launch a campaign, it has to be one that evokes an emotion - positive or negative - so that people feel compelled to share. Give them something to talk about, unleash the power of word of mouth, and allow them to pull you into their consciousness."- The Thank You Economy, page 133

Step one of building customer relationships is remembering that these are people we’re talking about. Human beings. Creatures with emotions, opinions, and a desire to be a part of something larger than themselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling toothpaste, cars, or insurance, when you decide to make a stand on something – to really take a side – you’re going to get people talking. You certainly don’t want to be causing waves for the sake of it, but there is real value in telling the world what you stand for. People listen to passion, and it’s better to be polarizing than it is to attempt to make everyone happy.

The next time you’re sharing your message, be it through a marketing campaign, a public announcement, or a thank you email you send your customers, don’t be afraid to be bold. Authentic. Genuine. With a real desire to support your loyal customers. But bold.

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Insight #2

Both ends of the spectrum

"Joie de Vivre has figured out that it's the big and the little stuff that matter most to building a brand's identity. The stuff in the middle is important for a company's survival, of course, but it's the one-on-one initiatives that lie at either extreme - the nit-picky details and the big, grand gestures - that make an impact, and make people talk."- The Thank You Economy, page 175

In a great case study on Chip Conley’s Joie de Vivre Hotel chain, Vaynerchuk touches on a crucial point: it’s the ends of the customer service spectrum that really makes companies stand out. It’s the attention to detail and the big, bold moves. Yes, you need shorter wait times on hold. Of course, your staff should be clean, courteous, and efficient. But great companies understand that this “stuff in the middle” is essential just to survive, not to thrive. Great companies go beyond – they personalize the experience for their customers by giving them exactly what they want (and not what market research shows they want). Little touches and big gestures. Fortune favours the bold.

I love Vaynerchuk’s books. The passion virtually leaps off the page, tempered by a great awareness of the digital landscape. The Thank You Economy is a great wakeup call and reminder to all of us – while we may play and work in a digital world, we live in a physical one, full of wonderful people who are just waiting for companies, products, and services that they can claim as their very own. Give them an opportunity to support you and connect with you, and you’ll be constantly surprised by the goodness of people.

Read the book

Get The Thank You Economy on Amazon.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is a “New York Times” bestselling author and American businessman who was born in Belarus and immigrated to the United States as a young child. Gary’s entrepreneurial instincts took over at a young age, when he owned a franchise of neighbourhood lemonade stands and made $1,000 a weekend selling baseball cards. Much to his dismay, his father Sasha pulled Gary into the family business, a local liquor store called Shopper’s Discount Liquors. Before long, Gary recognized that consumers collected rare wines just like people collected baseball cards, and he was off to the races. Gary transformed himself into a wine expert, rebranded the store as Wine Library, launched a retail website in 1997, and by 2008 he had raised annual revenue from $4 million to $60 million. In 2006 Gary achieved one of his life-long goals when he was caricatured on the front page of the “Wall Street Journal” in an article about online wine sales.

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