Jay Baer is a well-known digital marketing strategist, a sought-after speaker, and a best-selling author. He founded Convince & Convert, and has consulted with more than 700 companies on digital marketing, including Caterpillar, Nike, and Billabong. Fast Company magazine named Jay one of America's top social media consultants, and the Convince & Convert blog is ranked as a top content marketing resource.

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He's the co-author of The NOW Revolution, a best-selling book about social media's impact on businesses of all sizes and types.

I invited Jay to Marketing Smarts to discuss his new book: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype. which is a New York Times best seller.'

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation.

People are making high-end purchases—cars, diamonds, horses—without ever speaking to a salesperson (8:31): "If you provide sufficient information so that all the questions that your prospect might have are answerable in a self-serve context, people will make major purchases online without have an actual interaction with a real person.... You can buy a $50,000 engagement ring online."

Customers only contact a sales rep after 60% of the purchase decision has been made (10:33): "Salespeople have to totally change their rap...and they're not, largely....They assume that you're top of the funnel, so they start off with this very general information...not recognizing that you've already done all that research."

Becoming a Youtility provides long-term benefits, but requires a long-term approach (21:25): "There's no question that this requires a cultural shift in your organization, and a lengthening of the historical time horizon by which you measure marketing success. As Gary Vaynerchuck said...'the problem with marketing today...is that everybody wants to be a hunter and nobody wants to be a farmer,' and what Youtility is, is really a book on how to farm. You have to change the way you think in your organization from 'hey, here's a coupon' to 'let us help you...and you will eventually reward us with attention and sales and loyalty and advocacy, but it takes time to do that."

My conversation with Jay covered a lot more ground, so I encourage you to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.