Book Review: "UnMarketing" by Scott Stratten

We love being in the business marketing industry. It’s our lifeblood (and our paycheck). But sometimes business marketing gets a bad rap.

Sure, there are marketing firms and ad agencies that use their Don Draper-like powers for good and put out some pretty moving campaigns. We’re not talking about those guys.

We’re talking about the solicitor who calls you during dinner or knocks on the door right when you’re getting out of the shower, forcing you to listen to his little spiel about lawn care while you’ve still got the towel wrapped around you. That’s why it’s so refreshing to come across someone who calls out all those clowns and presents a new way of marketing.

His name is Scott Stratten and he calls it “UnMarketing.”

I came across his book in the library a few months ago and was intrigued by the title, as well as the cover. (I know there’s a saying that cautions against judging books by their cover, but in all honesty, it’s the best way to judge books.)

I was even more intrigued by his marketing philosophy, because it kinda falls in line with the way Clarity does business. The book is quite information-dense, with tons of examples, case studies, and tips for launching your own “unmarketing” campaign, but I’ve broken it down into four (very simplified) key points:


1. Authenticity

If I could boil down “UnMarketing” to its essence, it would be “authenticity.”

Tactics like cold calling don’t work because people hate it. So why would you market in the exact same way you hate to be marketed to?

Stratten’s suggestion is to simply be authentic. Be you. Create relationships with people rather than putting up a loud sign or taking an ad out in the paper. This includes your entire staff. Because anybody working for your business has a role in marketing.


2. Social Media

(Un)Marketing is nearly impossible these days without having some kind of social media presence; and honestly, it’s the best and easiest way to connect with people (i.e. customers and prospective customers) and see what people are saying about you.

Stratten recommends X as his top pick, but maybe you’ll get better results from Facebook or Pinterest. Whatever.

The point is, you are now in a unique, almost God-like position of being able to see what’s being said about your company and to control the conversation. Plus, it’s free. What other marketing outlets can say that?


3. Expertise

One of the most thought-provoking things I learned about was the “trust gap” that stands between your business and a potential customer.

The “trust gap” is the thing that prevents potential customers from trusting you to perform a service or sell a product to them.

The trust gap might be very small for a low-risk, inexpensive product (like food), but for service-based companies that want to visit your home (contractors, cleaning companies, etc.) that gap can turn into a cavernous gulf.

The best way of bridging the “trust gap” is by marketing yourself as an expert in your field. Calm down. You don’t need special awards for this. Just a knowledge of what you do (which you obviously already have, or else you wouldn’t have started your business) and a media outlet for sharing that knowledge with others.

This can be a blog, a social media site, a newsletter…whatever works best for you and your message. But when customers start to see you as an expert rather than someone who just wants their money, they trust you, which creates loyalty. Before you know it, you have another regular customer.


4. Quality

Making money isn’t your business, it’s the result of your business.

I’m gonna say that again. “Making money” isn’t your business, it’s the result of your business.

Successful businesses are built on authentic relationships, but they start with a quality product (or service) that you are passionate about. Find that one thing that sets you apart from your competitors, and focus on that. Hire enthusiastic employees and educate them so they are experts, too.

A few years ago, we found a fantastic BBQ joint that we frequent all the time. Did we go because a commercial told us to or because we got a coupon? Nope. It was because every time we drove by, the line went out the door. (The line still goes out the door four years later.)


Stratten may call it “UnMarketing,” but I think those old-fashioned methods of cold calling and Yellow Pages advertising are the real “un-marketing,” because they don’t work.

Stratten’s book details what “real” marketing looks like and how to do it. (No, he didn’t pay us to write this review. That would be inauthentic.)

Have you read “UnMarketing” or another book that changed how you viewed business? Let us know in the comments section.


Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We have been known to hide when solicitors knock on the door and have our ways of messing with telemarketers.




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