I have here at my desk a copy of Scott Stratten’s UnMarketing, My review: it’s good, but it could be better.

Let me get the good things in front of you first.

The tonality of the book is extremely engaging. Scott has a great writing style, and you can see that he clearly infused his personality and passion into this work.

The topics in the book are extraordinarily important for marketers to consider. It is an invitation, in book form, to analyze the old ways and see if they are really working for you. In particular, I think that Scott’s idea of the hierarchy of buying is extremely important for businesses today. Essentially, as outlined in the first chapter, UnMarketing describes how relationships and trust can make or break your business. The way that you market creates trust and relationships, and therefore, you need to think about how you’re marketing. This, to me, is the single most valuable nugget, kernel, and core of the book.

The book is based on the premise that cold calling is the best way to shoot for the bottom of the barrel when it comes to both trust and relationships. If you’re cold calling, you’re reaching people who have absolutely not expressed any interest in you so far as you know. They have no reason to trust you, and in fact, since you’re cold calling them, their trust of you is probably starting at  a negative 57. The peak of the hierarchical mountain is the current, contended customer who trusts you and who may even spread the word about your products and services.

Based on this foundation – the hierarchy of buying, UnMarketing proceeds through many different topics, ranging from customer service, Twitter use, Social Media in general, events, and seminars.

There are a LOT of nuggets in here that can be useful. For example, are you aware of all of the gaming that goes on with book testimonials? With Amazon best seller lists? It’s pretty interesting stuff.

How it could get better

The reasons that I enjoyed this book also create the foundation for where I think it could be better. I felt at times that the chapters kind of meandered away from the central theme a bit. For example, when you get to Chapter 42, titled “Hello, Walmart?” you encounter a brief description of how Wal-Mart’s motto is great customer service, but how Scott conducted an experiment and found that Wal-Mart’s customer service leaves much to be desired. It seems that Wal-Mart’s reputation for low prices outshines its reputation for customer service for a good reason. Now the lesson in there is good – practice what you preach, be authentic. But you want there to be more to that tale.

Here is my opinion – I think that the book could have been narrowed to far fewer, much longer chapters. Many of the chapters are just two pages, and they really appear more as vignettes rather than full supports for the main thesis. Maybe it’s my academic background that is making me a biased reader, but at the end of a lot of chapters, I was left thinking, “Okay, so, where can we go with this information?”

An example of a chapter that I think could have been built out or added to another is chapter 37, titled “Your transparency on Twitter.” I agree with every single thing in this chapter. Auto-tweets can be dangerous if you aren’t telling people those are auto-tweets. People get upset when you don’t interact with them. If you’re using a team of people to run your Twitter account, you should let people know, and you should give your community a way to know who is talking at what time. Couldn’t agree more.

But the chapter just delineates those facts. It left me hungering for a bigger meal of information. What are the ramifications of being inauthentic on Twitter, for example? Guy Kawasaki’s use of 2-3 other people to run his account is mentioned. Has that admission hurt Guy’s brand? Seemingly not. Would it hurt a business’s brand? Has it?

How can your transparency on Twitter translate back to targeting that highest bullseye of the buying hierarchy – the trusting, contented customer? I think there are a lot of important lessons there that go outspoken. And sure, if you’re smart you can probably piece things together, but the particular style of the book makes me want to see how the author pieces those things together. I’m disappointed it’s not there.

Do I recommend reading this book? Yes, especially if you are new to the world of using Social Media for business. I think UnMarketing could serve as an extremely helpful guide as you go along, especially in terms of avoiding common pitfalls.

Did I like the book? Yes.

Could I have liked it more? Yes.

If you’ve read the book, what did you think of it? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.