Social Media Case Studies, Book Reviews

UNcanny Insights From UnMarketing

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. I wonder how Stratten feels about companies servicing customers differently, based on their online influence?


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. (I wrote a post a while ago called Social Media Excellence and a Side of Fries about the importance of people to McDonald’s)

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. He’s on the road now on the UnMarketing book tour of 30+ cities. If he’ll be near you, check it out.