UnMarketing: Cease to Sell and Begin to Engage! (Book Review)

May 17, 2011

Last time I wrote about the book UnMarketing I told you a little bit of what I thought it might be about, my excitement to read it and entirely too much about my apparent obsession with Amazon. But, that’s not going to be my blog post today (a second blog post on the exact same thing would be unforgivably boring and I normally shoot for just a little bit boring). Today is the day I tell you all about the book (now that I’ve actually read it), my main take-aways and why you should consider reading it yourself. (This blog post is pretty lengthy and I know that it might cut into your precious reading time. So, if you just want to know whether or not this book is for you, go ahead and skip to the last paragraph. Go ahead – I won’t be too upset about it!)

What is UnMarketing?

In his book UnMarketing, Scott Stratten provides you with “a winning approach to stop ineffective marketing and put relationships first – then reap the long-term, high-quality growth that follows.” Stratten consistently proves his main point that “if all business is built on relationships, then building good relationships is your business” in many different and creative ways. He uses descriptive examples and applicable research to bring his book to life and provide a backbone to his claims. His unique way of reiterating seemingly obvious (yet rarely implemented) business practices drove home important arguments and even made me laugh (which is hard to do when I’m reading a book on marketing, or business, for that matter). For me, UnMarketing brought the concept of WOM (Word of Mouth) and relationship building full circle and cleared up some of the fogginess I had on the topic.

My Top 3 Take-Aways

1. The Hierarchy of Buying

On the 2nd page of UnMarketing, I was presented with a pyramid that caused a moment of discovery. (Let’s call it the Ah-ha Pyramid! Any kind of “Ah-ha” in even the first chapter of a book is a sign of more Ah-ha’s to come – they tend to travel in herds!) Before reading UnMarketing, I knew that relationships were most important and that cold calls might not be the best form of marketing, but I didn’t have any physical evidence to back this up or a clear way to explain it. Now, I’ll just carry around a little laminated copy of this in my purse for whenever someone tells me otherwise. The Ah-ha Pyramid (properly named by Stratten as the “Hierarchy of Buying”) shows that people do business FIRST with people they know, trust and like. These people that know, trust and like you are very often going to be current satisfied customers. But, as Stratten points out, “even though customers are current, this doesn’t mean that they are happy.”

2. Good Relationships = Good Business

For years now I have been approaching potential clients and new connections with the mindset that I am there to create a relationship with them, not to sell them on a product or a service. And, it has worked quite well for me – as far as numbers are concerned and as far as my quality of life is concerned. Think about it – if I was just pushing a product day-in and day-out, my job would kind of suck (for me, maybe other people like bombarding people with greasy sales pitches?). Instead, I get to meet people – I get to hear about their life and learn from their challenges and successes. I get to meet people who eventually become friends. And, I don’t know about you, but I could always do with another friend. Stratten does an amazing job at bringing this idea full circle and reiterating the point that traditional marketing (cold-calling and the like) can make you some money but that you are really reaching for the bottom of the barrel at this point.

3. Social Media as a Tool to Engage

For those that are already engaged in social media (notice that I said “engaged” and not merely “present”), some of what Scott has to say on the subject may sound repetitive, but will offer great reminders. For those who haven’t entered the world of social media or those that have accounts but aren’t quite sure how to use them to generate business, this book offers an amazing overview of how to start successfully. The book covers topics such as “Reasons Why Companies Don’t Use Social Media” (more like excuses), the good and bad aspects of each of the most popular social media platforms, and the “7 Deadly Social Media Sins.”

Why Should YOU (yes, I said you) Read This Book?

You already have an alarming stack of books you want to read next to your desk. So, why would you want to go to the trouble of adding another one? Well, if you’re a business owner, then you know that the most important thing for your business is to make money. Without closing deals, you wouldn’t have a business, right? But, you may be all too aware of this reality, causing you to push your product on others as opposed to building relationships. Creating lasting and authentic relationships with your customers and potential customers take time, but it is the most effective way to create a successful business while enjoying yourself along the way. If you are making cold calls even though you hate receiving them yourself (irony in its richest form), then you are sliding down a slippery slope to the bottom of your market. So, you need to start now. Put UnMarketing at the top of your stack and take a second to evaluate your sales process; you’ll be glad you did.


Picture of Alyssa Magnotti

Alyssa Magnotti