Summer Book Club–June: UnMarketing Discussion

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“If you believe business is built on relationships, make building them your business.”  That, in a nutshell, is what defines “UnMarketing”. 

Why do marketers, in a world where consumers strive to fast forward through commercials and place their phone numbers on “do not call” lists, continue to use old ways of marketing that they themselves detest?  “Why do we market to people the way we hate to be marketed to?” asks author Scott Stratten.

Enter UnMarketing: a new way of marketing based on creating connections, building relationships and continually providing value to your contacts using traditional media and social media outlets.  Stratten urges us to “Stop marketing. Start engaging.”

One of the biggest ways Stratten suggests to build relationships with consumers is by positioning yourself, or your company, as an expert in your field.  “When you position yourself as an expert with useful information for people, your marketplace will always have a need for that information,” says Stratten.  Therefore, if a consumer does not currently have use for your product, they will still be interested in communicating with you based on the knowledge you have to share.

So, you have knowledge to share and a few contacts to share with.  Stratten recommends building a social media platform.  With social media tools expanding at what seem like an exponential rate, one cannot possibly use every service.  Stratten suggests starting small.  Pick one place, be it Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and invest your time in it until you build a strong following.  Stratten outlines three steps to successfully build your platform:

1. Build traction: be consistent with your updates and spread them out over the week.  Share information and respond to others’ updates.  Create a presence.

2. Build momentum: focus on strengthening the connections you have instead of only increasing followers.  Take your conversation to another level, like meeting face-to-face at conferences or Tweetups.

3. Expand: in order to take your relationships to the next level, grow your platform to other social media sites to better engage with your connections. 

Once you have followers, it becomes important to keep your followers.  Every communication should focus on creating valuable content and keeping your followers’ trust.  Stratten emphasizes that one mediocre experience can lead a customer to shop around elsewhere:  “One of the things companies need to realize is that they are only as good as the weakest experience of their customer.  Many businesses are guilty of creating a great experience to get a first sale from you, but are really bad at keeping that level of service going.” 

Stratten describes this “Experience Gap” as the space between the best services and the worst experience a customer receives.  Every business should strive for the smallest Experience Gap because other companies can sneak in through the cracks.

Because no company can afford gaps in trust or experience, the most important rule to follow is to be authentic and transparent.  Being authentic means being yourself.  When you stop trying to be your competitor and start showing what makes you different, you play to your strengths and position yourself for success.  Being transparent means being honest.  Honesty is just a good business rule to follow anyway, and it helps keep the trust of your customers.

These concepts merely scratch the surface of UnMarketing, but they demonstrate that Stratten believes engagement and sincere relationships are the foundation for any business that can no longer be ignored.

Share your thoughts on UnMarketing below!

  1. What did you agree with and why? What did you disagree with?
  2. Stratten provided the advantages and disadvantages for each social media outlet like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  Have you found a favorite site to engage with your customers?  Are there any pros or cons you would add to any of the site?
  3. UnMarketing featured an entire section on viral marketing.  Have you found success with a viral video? How did you handle the loss of control? How did you connect beyond number of views?
  4. Stratten provides helpful tips to connect with consumers using more traditional means of marketing like tradeshows, newsletters and seminars.  What other ways are you creating conversation beyond social media?  Do you think our society still finds value in traditional media?
  5. Networking is either your biggest fear or your greatest ally as a new professional.  We’ve all seen the “Card Collector” and all strive to be the “Great One”.  Stratten suggests listening to others, being yourself and enjoying the conversation, not just seeing the event as a glorified business card exchange.  What suggestions do you have for other new pros learning how to network? 
  6. What is the most valuable lesson you will take away from this book? Any specific ideas you will adopt?

Stay tuned for the announcement of our July Summer Book Club read!

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