Pull and Stay? Are you UnMarketing?


In his book ‘UnMarketing’ author Scott Stratten talks about a lot of things.  He talks a lot about twitter, about the essence of what marketing is today (versus 10 or 20 years ago), about the the criticality of engagement and a lot of interesting stories and anecdotes from his personal experiences.

It’s all good stuff, but it’s the discussion and examples of developing a Pull and Stay system that really made this a worthwhile book for me.  Pull and Stay refers to creating a system (or a series of systems) that will attract the right kind of prospective buyers to you and keep you front of them in an automated way.

It’s the opposite of the Spray and Pray approach – which is exactly what most business owners do when they send out all sorts of unrequested interruptions into the marketplace and hope hard that someone sees the right message, at the right time, resonates with that message and is in a position to buy!  Not a recipe for long term success!

Here are some other highlights from the book:

The main theme of the book is that business owners need to stop trying to market and just start engaging…with their existing clients, prospective and potential partners.  Be a real person and make an effort to build real relationships…sadly that’s kind of a revolutionary message.

For starters – Scott is an engaging kind of guy! Which actually both helps to prove his point and disprove it at the same time.  He lives his message and when you read the book (or especially if you listen to the audio book – I did both) he comes across as the kind of guy you’d just enjoy hanging out with.  It would be really easy to engage with a guy like Scott and clearly that’s serving him well from a business perspective.

Unfortunately many people aren’t like Scott and don’t have the natural ability to quickly and easily build relationships and engage with people.  The concepts he uses definitely work for him, but they may not work as well for the less socially skilled business owner.

It’s all about engaging

Having said that – Scott is recommending the right approach, especially for business owners.  His central message that business owners need to stop marketing and start engaging with their audience is right in line with what Seth Godin has been saying for years:

“Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t”.   – Seth Godin

And although the concept of permission based marketing isn’t new, the practice isn’t that widespread.  Those who practice it are in the minority and there’s clearly a need for most business owners to understand there is a better way to reach their prospective clients…and that is to build a real relationship with them, talk to them, be authentic, be transparent and engage. 

This is the one area where small business owners have a huge advantage over their corporate counterparts.  A small business owner can easily be a real person, which is what it takes to engage.  A big company generally finds that very hard to do.

Everything is Marketing

Another key point he makes early in the book is the idea that everything you do ties back to marketing.  How your phone is answered is marketing, what your store or location looks like is marketing…the way you respond to questions or requests…also marketing. 

Basically everything that you or your employees do influences customers and potential customers either towards your business or away from it – and with that in mind you have to look at ALL of those potential touch points and optimize them to be a positive experience if you want to excel at attracting and engaging business.

Twitter and other tactics

Scott is a huge fan of Twitter and he’s learned to use it to great effect as an engagement and marketing tool for his own business.  He makes a strong case for how Twitter can work effectively and if you’re looking to learn how it can be used to help you market or engage, this is definitely the book for you.

He also does a nice job of breaking down additional tactics and ideas – especially those focused on displaying expertise and raising awareness.  These kinds of tactics are especially effective for service industry businesses, but they can work for other businesses as well.  He covers writing (blogging, articles, etc.), videos, speaking and newsletters with examples and suggestions across the board.

Overall review – give it a read!

Every business owner would get a lot of value out of UnMarketing – the section on pull and stay ideas to attract potential clients and stay in front of them is easily worth the price of admission alone.  But there’s a lot more here.  Scott covers a lot of great marketing ideas that could apply to all businesses.  And…just as important, he’s engaging and entertaining.  It’s a fun business book to read.

My complaints are fairly small – there was some wandering around in terms of ideas and how things were organized.  There was also a lot of focus on social media (and especially Twitter).  It’s there for a reason – social media is the best way to engage with people today because the tools can give you scale and capabilities you can’t get elsewhere but his message was most compelling when talking about the underlying ideas of engagement rather than the technology…not a huge complaint, just an observation.

All in all – I recommend UnMarketing.  You’ll enjoy it, you’ll learn some things and most importantly you’ll refocus on engaging with clients and potential clients.

Have you read UnMarketing?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

photo by mccun934

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