Christmas. Pretty quiet on Twitter over the holidays except for the diehard tweeters like me… and the really, really diehard tweeters like Scott Stratten, also known as @unmarketing on Twitter. Can’t remember exactly, but I had started following him a while earlier after seeing a retweet (forwarded tweet) or mention of him. Scott posts something about getting a DVD of the movie 300 as a Christmas present. That movie is in my top four favorite flicks of all time. Instant connection for me! Figured if we’ve got the same taste in movies, we probably are on the same page on other stuff, too, which was absolutely the case. Since then, we’ve exchanged occasional tweets, particularly about another mutual favorite that’s here in Chicago: Portillo’s restaurants.
This little story demonstrates what Scott’s new book, UnMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging is all about. It’s not about selling, just in a new venue or format, it’s about connecting and engaging with your audience. So when his new book was available for pre-order on Amazon, do you think I had any hesitation about jumping on that offer? Of course not. I was already sold.
And it didn’t disappoint. But then me reading a book like this might be preaching to the choir. However, I did find some true gems in the book such as the following.
WHY FREE CONSULTATION IS BAD
How many business success books have I read that recommend giving away free consultations to encourage prospective clients to buy? More than I can count. But as Scott points out, “allowing someone into my home requires a lot of trust, which simply making it free to try does not remove.” Got that right! “It’s like going out to a singles night and letting people know you have a ‘Free Make-Out Offer.’” (P.S. His slightly off-the-wall sense of humor is another thing I appreciate about Scott’s writing/tweeting.)
The real problem is the “Trust Gap.” It is only through engaging with your audience over time, sometimes lots of time, that this gap is reduced. Lucky for us, we now have a myriad of social media, blogging, and publishing tools to provide value, demonstrate our competencies, and build a level of trust prior to a sales inquiry.
Besides a mutual appreciation for 300 and Portillo’s, Scott and I also hang out at coffee haunts. I’m a Starbucks fiend, surprisingly not for the coffee, but for the tea. I can so appreciate when he talked about the little things that made him addicted to Tim Horton’s and the little things that eventually drew him to McDonald’s… yeah, really, McDonald’s. In my case, Starbucks makes the best iced tea anywhere. They know it shouldn’t be black like coffee and should be transparent, especially the green tea I like. Plus, the facilities are perfect for meeting with clients and colleagues. Almost all of the “baristas” I’ve encountered are very friendly and efficient (and at “my” Starbucks, they know my order by heart). Hope they never mess with the little things.
Do you know what little things are making or breaking your business? Scott suggests doing a “Stop, Start, Continue” survey. No, this is not the usual “agree/disagree” or “scale of 1 to 5″ type survey. Rather, this survey asks your customers about what they think you should stop, what you should start, and what you should continue doing. Brilliant.
As a supplier to the tradeshow industry, you can imagine I was interested in seeing what Scott would have to say about them. Pretty much what I expected considering his emphasis on engagement. Don’t sit in your booth, don’t judge a tradeshow attendee by their badge, appear to be open to talking with show visitors. Yep, seen all the violations at every single show I attend.
Of course, being a promotional product distributor, I totally agree with his comment, “If you make your giveaway not relatable to your company, then what good does it do for you after the conference?” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
There are all kinds of nuances to tradeshow and conference engagement of attendees. So this chapter is a bit on the light side, but covers the main points that every exhibitor must consider to maximize a tradeshow investment. Also, another chapter discusses some basic social media strategies for shows and events. A flood of information on this subject is pouring in and through the tradeshow and event management community almost daily. So I’m sure we’ll see an updated chapter on this in UnMarketing 2 (maybe?).
Okay, I hated to laugh at this, but I really liked Scott’s story about his viral video experience: the bandwidth issues that skyrocketed costs from $9 a month to $1,400 (for just the last week of the month), the awkward email subscription handling, the one-off speaker request kit. Though I can’t claim that any of my campaigns have gone super viral (one has had some intriguing results though), I have “been there, done that” with all of the same scalability issues. Probably why it makes me laugh. Preparing for success — or going viral — is something for which many entrepreneurs just don’t prepare. Is it because we don’t expect success? But that’s another discussion.
I think it goes un-said that I recommend UnMarketing by Scott Stratten to anyone trying to make sense of marketing in the age of social media.
Click Here to Buy UnMarketing by Scott Stratten on Amazon (Not Affiliate Link. I’m in Illinois!)
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