Book Review – Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.
The more you read UnMarketing, the more curious you become about its author, Scott Stratten. Truth be told, Stratten does not leave much to the imagination as he writes very candidly (and, at times, casually), about his successes and failures along the way from becoming an unknown consultant to an internationally-recognized expert. You can learn more about Scott by watching his Amazon.com book intro video, watching him speak on YouTube or by following him on Twitter.
UnMarketing seems to focus on Internet tools, but it’s really about using Internet tools as a means of thriving in the actual physical marketplace. If you read about Scott or watch him interviewed, you might often hear him suggest that although he’s a perpetual Twitter user (he once Tweeted non-stop for 24 hours for charity), he really preaches in-person engagement. A few of the real-life or “bricks and mortar” examples he talks through are:
- A janitor at a Las Vegas casino who went out of his way to engage him as a customer
- A frame shop that had plenty of browsers but no buyers
- A local restaurant that fumbled an opportunity to reach residents in a nearby condominium complex
Along the way, Stratten walks the reader through the process of engaging customers through relationships, not shouting at them blindly as typical or traditional “marketers” have a way of doing (hence the “un” in front of marketing, we presume). He makes his point using his concept of the “Hierarchy of Buying,” the notion that cold-calling and shotgun advertising are easy and ineffective while building trust and relationships are harder yet more promising. Shooting low on the hierarchy will be frustrating and expensive in the long run.
The concept itself evokes memories of Permission Marketing, a book written by Seth Godin in 1999 to argue that television and print advertising that “interrupted” us would ultimately be usurped by marketing relationships that were based on “permission” granted to the marketer by the customer. A decade later, this couldn’t be more true. So while Stratten’s ideas aren’t altogether revolutionary, his synthesis of the concepts, practical examples, and contemporary spin on social media is spot on.
At its core, Unmarketing helps the reader understand how things really happen in the promotional marketplace. Most practically for Internet marketers, it embraces the reality that simply launching a website will not magically bring traffic. It helps the reader what to do about that challenge. One step further, traffic, followers, and fans don’t necessarily result in tangible results and revenue (the real goal for most marketers) without a healthy dose of creativity and a pervasive culture of engagement (by the way, you have to watch the Wal-Mart video he created that emphasizes this point).
The book is comprised of 56 brief chapters which contain some practical anecdotes and advice, most of which is very helpful to marketers and small business owners who want to think “full circle” about online and offline (un)marketing. We highly recommend the book from that perspective although a handful of the chapters are a bit “101-ish” for even the casual social media participant. You can find it on Amazon.com (non affiliate link).