You may not have heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. Most of the audience gathered at the Guardian's Changing Media Summit, where he gave the keynote speech this morning, had not.
Making his money through his father's wine business, his expertise is not initially apparent to journalists or publishers, but he has consistently been at the forefront of new digital platforms and successful in turning them to his advantage.
"Marketers ruin everything," he said, but the 'variable' for those that succeed is in moving quickly to new platforms, understanding them and learning how to build an audience.If content is king, context is GodGary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia
In a keynote speech focussing on the travails of advertisers and marketing in the digital age, but with important lessons for journalists and publishers, Vaynerchuk stressed the need to think about where the audience is.
"We are not only a mobile first society, we are mobile first, second, third and fourth," he said, describing mobile devices as "the foundational device of our society".
But the problem for much of the media is in over-thinking the risk involved in experimenting with new formats and technologies.
"While [some] people debate whether something is important, it's the people who move quickest, respond and test" who will eventually succeed, he said.
Taking livestreaming app Meerkat as an example, he admitted Vaynerchuk was unsure whether it would become as popular as the founders hope.You run far more risk by waiting than by jumping in and testingGary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia
But, he added, that the concept of mobile livestreaming will not go away and those who experiment early will be in a better position to take advantage in the future.
"You run far more risk by waiting than by jumping in and testing," he said.
The point in understanding platforms is to be able to speak to the audience in a natural manner, native to the medium or platform they are using.
"We have to start strategising on where the attention actually is," he said, encouraging a focus on the depth of attention rather than just the number of impressions.
If people want to reach 13 to 22 year-olds they "have to lean how to storytell on Snapchat and draw shit on their face", he joked, while understanding Instagram should be the focus for those looking to reach 18 to 35 year-olds.
"If content is king," he said, "context is God," and anyone working in media needs to "respect the room they are storytelling in".
People visit Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and platforms that haven't even been invented yet for different reasons. So the media needs to understand and respect "the psychology of the people on each platform".
"We have to start thinking that way," he said, "because if you don't, you start talking somewhere and no one is listening."
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