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Why Gary Vaynerchuk Is Flat Out Wrong

He's one of modern marketing's biggest success stories. Here's why following his advice could kill your business.

If you’re an Inc reader, you’re probably familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s the entrepreneur who grew his father’s business from a humble liquor store into a wine empire through a combination of social media and content marketing. Today he’s a media mogul, bestselling author, and aspiring New York Jets owner.

The man is a massive success, and he’s certainly no dummy.

That said, unless you’re a certain type of person in a very specific set of circumstances, following his "Jab, Jab, Crush It" model could likely sabotage your shot at success. Before you call me crazy, let me tell you why.

He relies on brute force.

Gary V. talks a lot about how hard he works. He regularly stays up until three in the morning, sending and responding to emails to cement connections. He tweets in every spare minute he has--in cabs, in-between meetings, during commercials. And when he’s not doing all that, he’s creating content and running his company.

Believe me when I say I admire the guy. But the fact remains that his approach to building a following is all about brute force. It relies on huge sacrifices of rest, free time, and deep concentration.

I’m sure you’re a believer in hard work. Chances are you’re already sacrificing sleep and a whole bunch of other things to run your business. But ask yourself honestly: With everything on your plate, do you have another 20 to 40 hours a week to devote to marketing yourself on the Internet? And will you be able to keep up the same pace if a massive client order comes in or an important new initiative pops up?

He creates bottlenecks.

Imagine a factory assembly line where production depended entirely on one person. Whenever this person felt even a little bit under the weather, the operation started to lag. If he missed a week or more, it ground to a screeching halt.

You may not realize it, but that’s the Vaynerchuk model. The success of the whole operation rests almost entirely on his shoulders. Gary’s employees are there to support him rather than the other way around.

I know, Gary V. is one of the biggest success stories around. The man is a force of nature. However, unless you can be 100 percent sure you’ll be able to maintain a consistent level of output and energy around the clock, putting the fate of your organization’s entire online marketing program in your hands alone can be a recipe for disaster.

His approach isn’t scalable.

Many readers of this publication want to build a business that will stand the test of time. They are looking to grow, expand into other ventures, or retire to Tahiti with millions in the bank. If any of this rings true for you, remember that you will eventually be limited by how hard you can work. Even if you manage to work 24 hours a day, there will come a time when your business and your marketing require 25.

Like so much else in business, sustainable success in online marketing requires systems.

What’s the alternative?

Luckily people tend to react to the same psychological triggers time and time again--online as well as off. Use this fundamental truth as the basis of your marketing.

Start by studying the champions. What types of headlines do the most popular bloggers use? How are the tweets that get the most responses put together? Once you’ve worked out these challenges, teach your employees how to customize these content structures to create the kind of compelling material that will get members of your target audience to keep coming back for more.

By testing and tweaking until you land on the formula that works for your industry and your potential customers, and then building procedures to enable others to do at least some of the heavy lifting for you, you’ll be able to achieve Gary Vaynerchuk results without having to put in Gary Vaynerchuk hours.

Last updated: Nov 18, 2013

MICHAEL SCHEIN | Columnist | Founder and principal of Michael Schein Communications

Michael Schein is the founder and principal of Michael Schein Communications, a digital marketing company. He has created or facilitated the production of content for companies such as eBay, LinkedIn, Avectra, Tesla, SEER Interactive, Interneer, Arise Virtual Solutions, and Citrix. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with honors and got his start at Spin the Bottle, the production company behind VH1 hit show Pop Up Video.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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