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on September 4, 2010
The new book UnMarketing from Canadian viral marketer and Twitter gadfly Scott Stratten takes the rules and purees them, Blendtec style.

Here's what makes UnMarketing an unusual, yet worthy use of your marketing education time:

UNpretentious
Unlike so many marketing books, Stratten doesn't overcomplicate the subject matter. He believes that common sense should prevail, and that UnMarketing success is rooted in the creation of everyday "wow" moments. His self-deprecation adds a hilarious, warm tone throughout.

UNstructured
Like Gary Vaynerchuk's Crush It, Stratten dictated some of the book, and it reads very conversationally. Also, there isn't a narrative or progression in the book, but rather a collection of 57 short observations, lessons, and anecdotes. For readers that consume material in bits and pieces, this format is ideal. You can easily read UnMarketing over time in 10 or 15-minute chunks.

UNafraid
Sacred cows are slaughtered in UnMarketing, both in the material and in the book's packaging. (The faux testimonials on the back of the book are priceless, including:
"This book is the greatest business book in the world, besides mine."
- Author who only gives testimonials for people who give him one in return
Stratten's rant against direct marketing - "People still teach courses on how to cold-call better! That's like finding a better way to punch people in the face" is one of the more memorable examples of his outlook.

UNderstandable
One of the most commendable aspects of this book is Stratten's gift for boiling down a marketing principle to its simplest form. His "Pull and Stay" advice; segmenting customers into barrels; platforming; social currency, and other concepts are instantly applicable to real world marketing challenges fitting a wide variety of circumstances. The examples and mini case studies he presents provide insights that leave you nodding your head and thinking you could adopt the same approaches.

UNsettling
Stratten has a knack for gaps. The two sections in the book on the Trust Gap and the Experience Gap are among the strongest in UnMarketing. Both are wake-up calls for marketers, and make the case that separating marketing from day-to-day customer experiences is an impossibility. Greg Verdino's excellent book MicroMarketing hits on similar themes. Stratten writes: "

The space between the best services, often what a new customer receives and the worst experience is what I call the Experience Gap. As a business owner your goal needs to be having no gap at all, optimizing every point of contact with your customer."

A tall order, to be certain.

UNdercover
The best parts of UnMarketing are when the author uses his own circumstances to make a point about the importance of people and customer experience. His tale of his switch of coffee loyalty from Tim Horton's to McDonald's is a documentary-style account of how real people perceive and are impacted by business details we all too often take for granted. Based on consistency of product, suitability of packaging, and convenience of location, Stratten shifted his daily coffee habit - to the tune of perhaps $30,000 in lifetime value, underscoring the ultimate importance of every customer acquisition or defection.

As you might expect, UnMarketing is not your typical marketing and business book. It's a boullabaise of advice and observations on social media, viral marketing, and customer experience, with a side order of social media how-to. There are a few sections devoted to the mechanics of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and other social media operational specifics. Because they are relatively high level overviews, these aren't the strongest components of the book, and if you want details on Twitter or Facebook best practices, I recommend Kyle Lacy's Twitter for Dummies and Mari Smith and Chris Treadway's Facebook Marketing an Hour a Day.

But, if you're looking for an always-interesting, impactful, funny, practical book to get you excited about marketing again, you should pick up a copy of UnMarketing. Scott Stratten is a compelling character with panache and wit, and he puts these strengths to great use in his first book.
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on January 15, 2011
I was assigned this book by our talented marketing business unit. Though I agree with the astute (*) and (**) reviews here, I feel comfortable giving three stars since I accept the basic concept presented in the book. The author throws the golden rule at marketing (treat your customers the way you'd want to be treated) and sprays the familiar self-help pep-talk/pacifiers (you can do it! you're great! you can figure out how to make $ from Tweeter, really you can!) which simultaneously and all-too-briefly fires up and soothes the tired, overworked, overweight masses which are the well-oiled gears of the US economy. A virtual Icy Hot Balm on our frazzled brains.

The one egregious fallacy in this book is right up front, page 6: "You are an expert when you say you are one." Although in the next paragraph this muddy thinking is watered down by the self-contradicting "You don't become an expert by just telling people you're an expert- people tell you and then they tell others.", the damage (to the thinking reader) is done. If we really take this to its logical extreme, expertise just becomes a popularity contest. Although sometimes it seems we pick our leaders this way (thankfully not the current president), surely we don't want to live in a society where the "experts" are the ones which yell loudest or have the most fans.

Another basic premise I disagree with is whether doing something "which makes you feel ill" means that it's wrong and you should not do it. It might apply to cold-calling, but every one of us who's trained hard physically knows the nausea-inducing unpleasant moments, which can be good for the body and mind in the long run (sorry for the pun).

In most businesses, it's good to get out there and meet potential clients face-to-face. You get a chance to impress them in person, on the spot, and no social media tool will substitute for human contact and the verbal jousting that goes on during a real discussion (our brains evolved to respond best to those stimuli).

Un-marketing basically means "not traditional marketing". So the author wants you to build a follower base before you present your ideas and products to them, and presents some ideas and examples of how to go about doing so. This is not a bad premise. Unfortunately, the terrible humor (meant to sugar-coat the ideas in "entertainment") and the ongoing monologue with the footnotes significantly detracts from his delivery, at least to this reader. In fact, this book is at least memorable for having the most irritating, asinine footnotes ever. On top of that, his overly jocular, self-centered (to put it kindly) style is just not very professional and detracts from his message and helpful Twitter FAQs.

On the subject of his dominance of social media, or "expertise" if you will, let's do a little math. We want to ascertain the returns on his tweet binge. As of the writing of this review, the author has 77466 followers, quite an impressive number. To capture this audience however, he posted 66752 Tweets and follows 33786 accounts himself. One way to gain an idea of effort vs gain is to subtract the followed from followers (77466-33786) to eliminate the reciprocal follow-me-and-I'll-follow-you types (also begs the question whether one person can ever meaningfully "engage" with 33786 tweeters a day). That leaves us with 43680 followers. Divide his total Tweets by that number, and you get about one and a half Tweets posted to get one follower (or only two-thirds of a non-reciprocal follower per tweet). The caveat is that it apparently only takes him a few seconds per tweet. Still, many people unfollow users which tweet too many times a day, if they are interested in actually reading them and not just collecting points. It's just like spam filling up your inbox and obscuring the stuff you actually want to read and learn something important from.

To put things into perspective, let's consider Cristiano Ronaldo, a professional soccer player currently plying his trade in Spain (for those Americans who haven't heard of him, with apologies to the rest of the globe). While not as good-looking as the author (who compares himself to a GQ model, though with an ever-irksome footnote diluting the comment), CR has 1.488 Million followers, following only 50 and having 331 Tweets. And he's got a bit of talent and a day job.

Final example close to home: the ever-resilient and clever Conan O'Brian. 2.17 Million followers, following 1 (one) himself, 342 tweets. I like Conan's tweets. They are always witty, to the point, often funny, and he doesn't overdo it. But the real interesting bit is the one person Conan follows, a person named Sarah Slowik from Michigan. With 38K followers she seems only half the Tweeter the author is, but considering she's only following 460 (I feel that's a number one can actually follow and read daily) and made 1235 tweets, applying the above reasoning we get 30.8 non-reciprocal followers per tweet she made. Considering the author himself only had 0.65 nr followers/tweet, Ms. Slowik seems to be almost _50 times_ more efficient and effective in using this medium. Her description is very sweet and lacking in the self-aggrandizement that is all-too-often endemic to mouse-wielding males:"I love to smile and have fun in life. I think that anyone and anything can be forgiven and we should all just love and be." And she's the only one Conan himself follows. Maybe she should write a book- agents take heed.
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on October 9, 2011
For over 10 years I've designed hundreds of websites, promoted them online, and have literally made millions for my clients. I've invested in dozens of marketing books to create an edge for myself and for my clients.

With all of the positive reviews that I read for UnMarketing, I had high hopes for this book, and what it would offer. By the time I finished reading it, I was incredibly disappointed.

Just reading the book is a chore. It's poorly organized, filled with fluff, and the author constantly wanders with his topics and unhelpful anecdotes. It's written as though the author composed the book in one sitting, without any real planning. His constant use of footnotes to inject humor is distracting, made worse by the fact that he's honestly not that funny.

With respect to marketing techniques, the author brings nothing new to the table. The author credits much of his success due to videos going viral, but this does nothing for the business owner reading the book. Having a video go viral is something that simply can't be forced. His end advice seems to be to create as many videos as possible, and keep your fingers crossed.

As far as his Twitter suggestions, he also isn't telling us anything new. As pointed out by another Amazon reviewer, the author's own Twitter account seems to be made up of a significant number of reciprocal follows. And truth be told, Twitter follows should always be about quality vs quantity.

Furthermore, some of his advice is flat-out bad. He knocks Youtube, suggesting that it's better to host videos on your own website. Never mind the fact that Youtube allows for greater ease in a video becoming viral, thanks to "favorites", easier sharing, and the ability to embed videos onto blogs and message boards. For business owners, the right wording in your Youtube title can also mean finding your video on the homepage of Google for your target keywords.

The author simply doesn't seem to be any type of expert on marketing. The honest truth seems to be that he capitalized on the surprise success of one particular video. He offers no new nor sound advice on how to duplicate his own success. The parents who uploaded the "Charlie Bit Me" video are just as qualified to write a book on non-traditional marketing.

I've given plenty of four and five star reviews for marketing books that were at least good primers for newbies, even if I had a good grasp of their suggested techniques already. I consider this book to be a waste of time, and I will gladly suggest other marketing books that have concrete results of generating more revenue for my clients.

[11/2/11 Update: kudos to the author for commenting on this review without giving it a thumbs down in the process, which I can't say for some authors I've reviewed on Amazon]
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on September 8, 2010
I have enjoyed Scott Stratten's content for a little while now - starting with [...], his twitter feed, and not his book.

I briefly met him at Canada 3.0 and was delighted as he tore into a panel of traditional marketers, deflating the myth that we as a society want and crave interruptive advertising. That panel session was worth the price of admission to the event.

Therefore, I was very excited to get my hands on an early copy of UnMarketing and it didn't disappoint.

It was the most engaging book on business I have ever read, consuming the better part of a weekend like only Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien and TH White have done in the past. Before reading the following review, a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Scott's sense of humour is perfectly matched to mine - sarcastic with a slight chance of ranting. If you don't find sarcasm an appropriate use of humour, you may not find this book as amusing as I did. Scott wields sarcasm like Picasso wields a paint brush.
2. I hate cold calling and have never done it to build my business...

What does cold calling have to do with this book review? Scott takes an aggressive early swing at traditional marketing techniques and I agree with every single point he made. Every one. At one point I even shout-whispered "HELL YEAH!" (children were sleeping at the time). Scott quickly segues into better ways to engage customers, building long term relationships and discovering the potential for every interaction with a prospect - online and off.

The tips and ideas flowing out of this book easily pay for the cover price - it is well worth the read.

Learning and Loving it!

The reason I am telling you to go buy it now is that it is FUN TO READ and INFORMATIVE. Yes, I said it, a sales/marketing/business book that was actually a pleasure to read from cover to cover. I actually counted out seven times I laughed out loud, at one point earning a quizzical look from my wife.

The last book that made me laugh out loud while reading it was Douglas Adams some 15-20 odd years ago - particularly the part with the jaguar guarding the records room, but that's a story for another time.

Scott has deliberately set out to make a very different kind of marketing book and in most ways it works.

Room for Improvement

The only disappointment found is that there are 56 chapters, and each chapter has at least one, in many cases several key action items, things that you can take and apply today. There are no "chapter summaries" that give you the key take aways from the chapter to start your to do list.

Now to be fair, I typically completely ignore the chapter summaries in most other business books - however, there is so much great content/ideas in this book that I would have liked a quick reference I could go through with a highlighter and say "these are items we are implementing this month".

I am going to re-read the book - probably starting tonight - and create a chapter by chapter summary for myself.

No Proof, No Pudding?

As a suggestion to Scott, more "Proof" (Scott has a section of a book covering the 3P's of an article/presentation) throughout the book would be a nice addition - there are a few case studies from Scott's perspective, i.e.: Switching from Tim Hortons to McDonald's coffee (by the way - can you get deported from Canada for declaring that in a public forum?)

His book would have benefited from some examples of companies who have put some of his advise into action - not just to build a marketing consultancy like Scott -but how an actual accountant, retail store, local restaurant, etc. put his advice into action and benefited directly.

There is a similar issue reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan (another excellent book) - perhaps the UnMarketing techniques have not been in play long enough to show the specific gains to specific organizations. Maybe we'll see UnMarketing 2: People Actually Listened so Now I Can Show You

All in all you will benefit greatly from reading Scott's book on the new marketing models for our generation of customer engagement, and you will thoroughly enjoy it.

If you are interested in social media, viral marketing, or ol' fashioned treating the customer first, this book is for you.
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on November 4, 2010
You can learn the basics of common sense marketing if you have No experience in marketing at all!
The entire book could be summarized in one sentence:be yourself (authentic) and do not talk at people - have a conversation instead; give before you get.

It expresses that in the first few pages. The rest of the book is rehashing how you can do it through Twitter and other traditional media: trade show;seminars. The third of the book is dedicated to praising Twitter. There are a lot of half pages and quotes from "important" Twitter discussions.

If you have read any marketing books do not waste your money on this one. You will not learn much new. Good thing I got it from a library. it would have been a disappointment otherwise.
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on September 6, 2010
Fresh approach to connecting with people. Covers email, web sites, blogs, events, trade shows, networking events and social tools LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The book was fast reading, and flipping back through in Kindle iPad now shows plenty of highlights to learn from in more detail. The author "get's it" and ga actually done what he recommends. His section on "viral" has credibility because he has the results to back up his suggestions. If you are in sales, marketing, or own your own business I heartily recommend this book.
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on August 3, 2011
Having just finished this book, I'm absolutely exhausted and bored to tears. I read on average one book per week on the subject of marketing and this week was UnMarketing. This week my wife listened to me moan about how this book was wasting my time.

Me: "I can't believe I'm reading this."
Wife: "Just stop it."
Me: "No, I have to finished it now that I've started it."
Wife: "What's the point? Just start another book"

And so on, all week long. I have this character flaw whereby I must finish any book I start.

Frankly the best part of the book is the fake / pseudo reviews on the back cover. But you can get them for free just by reading the book description here on Amazon.

This book is overly long and convoluted. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of a coherent framework. Most of the book discusses how cool Twitter is. The rest is punctuated with stories about going to McDonald's and of course there is the obligatory chapter about how great the Zappos customer service is.

Zappos? Really? This has to be the 13th marketing book I've read with a chapter about Zappos. Yawn. Surely there must be at least one other business out there with great customer service that ISN'T Zappos. (No offense to Zappos.)

It is hard to summarize this book since it wanders all over the place. Most of the time I was in disbelief and asking myself, "Is this really a book about marketing?" Right -- it's a book about UnMarketing. I guess he can write about anything he wants since he created his own category.

To summarize this book as best as I can: "Twitter is awesome because it lets you connect with other people for free. Traditional marketing is yucky and you should stay away from it. Just make some friends on Twitter and figure out how to monetize those relationships. Oh, and by the way, Zappos has great customer service and McDonald's makes a surprisingly good cup of coffee."

I feel bad giving this book such a bad review. Honestly I tried my best. You can accuse me of being a troll (convenient way to dismiss negative criticism) but in any event I can't get back the time I put into this book. The fact that I'm even wasting more time by writing this review makes me even angrier so I'll just stop here.
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on February 9, 2011
Honestly, I am really fed up with this kind of bogus books with sexy titles. Unmarketing. What? Forget interrupting people and instead, `engage' them. Great. But how are we gonna do that? "Well, honestly I don't know', but I know a few things about social media, I can talk about that instead." "But this is supposed to be book on marketing? "Who cares, people will not realize that it is actually not before buying the book. Look how many 5-star ratings I have got!".

First of all I must admit that the rating system in amazon books is getting more and more dubious for me and it is losing its credibility. Because otherwise it will be impossible to understand how this kind of trash could get 5 star reviews from so many people. I am serious, this not a book. It is just bla bla.

I give you some examples from the book so that you get my point.

1. This guy is apparently a Twitter freak who managed to pull together more than 10.000 followers. He now that thinks that this 10.000 is the NEW marketing universe. You know, when you tweet to these 10K and then they each tweet to their other individual networks, your message reaches an endless number of individuals and these individuals are the exact target clients. The maths sound nice but in real life it does not work like that at all.
2. So, since the guy has so many people in his network, it is time to market to this crowd. Now comes the part on NEW MARKETING. He gives out messages via Twitter and his blog that he is readily available to receive gifts that he can review. The bribes (as the author himself calls them) start coming in. First from Kraft company in the form of a new coffee maker, then from a shoe company called Rock-something, than an invitation from Zappo (and also maybe from McDonalds). So in return for a freebie, our heroic Unmarketer starts writing positive reviews about these freebies in his Twitter account and in his blog. And this is called NEW MARKETING. Sending away freebies/bribes is OLD marketing!!!
3. Apart from this reccommendation, there is nothing about marketing by using social media. This is understandable because the guy is so weak on the subject of marketing that he wants to quickly turn his experience on Twitter into something which will bring quick money. Because soon enough many people will realize that what he is talking about is sheer BS.
4. About one third of the book is on `How to use Twitter'. Actually it is worse than that. It is not a complete primer on Twitter but just tips for using it better. So if you are so keen about learning how to use twitter and especially how this guy increased the number of his followers, you may give the book a try. But still, do not expect anything on marketing.
5. Also DO NOT expect any framework, model or theory on New Marketing. There isn't any. And I really doubt that this guy is able to come up with a framework at all. There is nothing systematic so that you can take home and use it in your marketing efforts.
6. The whole book is based on "I did this, I did that, I received this, I sent that, I visited this web site, I, I, I, I." What do you expect from a guy whose ultimate aim is to get as many speaking engagements as possible before people realize that neither is Old Marketing completely dead, nor is there yet a such thing called New Marketing.

We are certainly going through a serious change and the base of marketing is definitely shifting. But where to, no one yet knows. I can confidently say at this point though, it is absolutely not shifting towards facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. They are just the initiators of a new era where old and new marketing will converge to create a new wave of marketing. So, if you are in the marketing business yourself, you should know by practice that nothing is dead yet and nothing has replaced the old methods. There is just a great change and we will all see how it will evolve, of course with our participation in this evolution.

To sum up my points, I must state that such a non-book certainly does not deserve a long review like that. But I felt so responsible to WARN potential readers of the book about its shallowness, lack of any intellectual base and credibility, let alone the lack of anything related to marketing. I despise this kind of cheap efforts to cheat people so that the author gains fame and a few bucks more. Shame, shame, shame.

PS: I would like to give a ZERO star but amazon does not provide us with that option. So please consider my one star as 0 star.
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on September 1, 2010
This is a well-written and fun book whose timing is ideal. With so many bells and whistles and shiny new strategies out there in around social media and business ideals, the common sense of business strategy seems to have been lost along the way.

In compelling, bite-sized chunks, Scott explains how to do the old-school blocking and tackling of relationship building with new tools and media, the perfect melding of sound marketing and engagement strategies.

The book is infused with Scott's quirky sense of humor, but it also delivers very critical business lessons. Some of the key takeaways include the trust gap that exists in business (and why so many business owners hopelessly disregard this when marketing to customers), having dialogues with customers instead of shouting "at" them and how to really engage using the latest methods. This is not just a social media book, either- the salient points apply to every customer-driven business (and by that, I mean every business!).

Easy to read, practical and with stories, personal experiences and specific action items, this is one to add to your business library. Oh, and read the footnotes and endorsements too; they are the best ones I have ever seen in a book!
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on December 7, 2010
"Unmarketing is all about engaging at every point of contact with your market." This quote from "Unmarketing" pretty much sums up the theme of the book. Can "Unmarketing" help you? Well, let me provide a few thoughts that might assist you in determining your answer to this question.

First of all, why 4 stars instead of 5? Here is my reason. Stratten begins with a wonderful example of a carpet-cleaner at Wynn in Las Vegas who completely changed his mind about the casino resort. Later, the author shares a similar powerful example of the Unmarketing service at Cirque du Soleil. Any business owner, and Stratten later confirms this, realizes that one engaging employee can make a huge positive difference in a relationship with a customer (and on the other hand, one disengaging employee can undermine any well-crafted advertising campaign). So my question here (which remained unanswered in the book) was how do Wynn and Cirque du Soleil actually train their staffs to be so engaging? This would have been great information (and for me, would have pushed my rating up to five stars).

None-the-less, my rating is still strong, so let's go back to my original question, "Can Unmarketing help you?" If your business is successful beyond your wildest dreams, if anything you post in the social media seems to go positive in a viral manner, if you completely understand the concept of building relationships with your customers before you attempt to sell them anything, and if you understand how software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking can help you, or how sites such as twitcam.com or Refollow.com can also help you, then perhaps this is a book that you might skip. On the other if you would like to see your business grow and perhaps make greater use of the social media (such as Twitter), then I think "Umarketing" could be beneficial to you. In addition, if it would help you to learn from another person's mistakes (Stratten shares his failures as well as his successes), rather than spending time and money making your own mistakes, then "Unmarketing" may also be useful to you.

"Unmarketing" is easy to read. Stratten injects his personality with both candidness and humor. Throughout the book are relevant websites and links that can increase your learning from this book in a very practical manner. In looking through this book, you will find further information on topics such as: why people buy, tips on building your social media platform, thoughts on Twitter success, tips on improving traditional marketing tools (such as newsletters and trade shows), 10 core values in developing your business culture, tips on improving your use of e-books or even live video. As well, Stratten shares four secrets for successful viral marketing.

As Stratten talks about Sam Walton's 10 foot rule and then shares his actual experience at Walmart, we are quickly reminded that even the most successful businesses in the world sometimes have a disconnect. Perhaps, there is value for each of us who may be involved in any way with a business to consider Stratten's thoughts about Unmarketing because after all, how many of us have the success cushion of a Walmart when we lose customers because of failing to engage them?
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