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Customer Review

33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All it takes to be an expert is to say you are? Ad nauseam?, January 15, 2011
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This review is from: UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. (Hardcover)
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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 6, 2011 5:49:11 AM PST
Bookworm says:
This is excellent. Thank you for breaking it all down. It's smoke and mirrors; it's appearances and a faux facade couched in a manipulative presentation of "authenticity". Snake oil in a 21st century form. Yuck.

Posted on Mar 23, 2011 12:29:31 PM PDT
Awesome. Good work.

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 10:37:55 PM PST
A. Peguero says:
hilarious review!! thanks!
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