Got to meet Scott Stratten – “Un Marketing” last night –
He’s the Best Thing Since Sliced Godin.
UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.
No deference to Seth Godin, he truly is the lynch-pin that influenced a new generation of marketing professionals and those who are interested in making products and services that are better and therefore more successful. Seth’s Purple Cow and other great books like Meatball Sundae will always be close to our hearts, but there is a voice that I heard last night that is worth your undivided attention. “It is not rocket science”, as Scott said, “it just comes down to the fact the common sense just ain’t so common any more.” The basics of customer service and the attention it deserves is sadly lacking in our old “push” methods of marketing. Sure, I have already heard much of what Scott Stratten had to say – but it was more in the way he delivered it, in the book and in his message to us, that was so compelling. The light not only went on, it is still on today and I will be thinking about much of the marketing that I do personally in this new light.
Last night I was happy to find a truly great speaker addressing the AMA-CT in Glastonbury, CT. Right in the middle of my road trip to work on 3 new clients websites I found an oasis of marketing reason and common sense. The event is one of 30 book promotion stops for Scott Stratten, well known blogger and social marketing expert. If you are a bit jaded on hearing from “social marketing” experts, I am with you. But this young guy taught this old dog more in 2 hours than all of the previous experts that I have had the pleasure of snoozing through. He really get’s it. It is all about conversation and engagement. Connecting with our customers and building relationships.
The stage was a small, cozy room in a lovely upscale town outside of Hartford, CT. Folks came from all over the state and western Massachusetts to hear Scott’s ramblings as he sat comfortably on a high stool with no mike, no power point, no hand-outs and no notes. His advice came right from his experience and large knowledge that was contained in his equally large head (inside pun for those that were there). So about 60 of us got the pleasure of learning Scott’s take on future of successful marketing. Bottom line – marketing is not the same anymore, and it will never be what it was ever again. We are all just a bit too smart for that.
I asked Scott if he would mind if I shared some of his advice and nuggets of wisdom with you and he graciously obliged.
So, here goes. Most of what follows is either paraphrased or direct quotes that I furiously wrote down as he delivered rapid-fire ammunition for the new marketers.
How do I make something VIRAL? (something Scott’s clients often ask him)
Make it awesome. Make it memorable, evoke emotion – happiness, shock, humor or sadness.
Social Media is nothing new. We just used to call it “talking”. That is all it is – conversation.
Personally, I liken it to the big porch in front of the General Store. Everyone used to like to hang out where the conversation was going on. That is where friends were made.
Social Marketing is not a task or a department, it is the chance you have to interact with your current customer base or potential new customers. When it is thought of as a task, or worse yet – an automated task, you immediately devalue your customer and your audience. There is no substitute for genuine engagement.
Everytime a client asks for the ROI of Social Marketing a kitten dies somewhere. (Ok, Scott is a bit emotional at times)
Our job as marketers is to get content consumed, not subscribed to or held in a folder to read later. We all know what happens to those things – they NEVER get read. So write your messages and communicate in a way that will be read and have impact now.
Don’t put up roadblocks to communications. Do you really need a captcha that has 6 letters, 4 numerals and one thing that kind of looks like a giraffe? How much dreaded spam are you stopping vs. how many potentially interested people are you losing? Remember, when you have a contact form as a prerequisite to gain a free report or sign up for something – every additional field that is added will result in a loss of between 10 and 30% of the interested viewers. So, after filling out the name, phone, address, company, email and first-born fields there will be nobody left to hit submit!
Twitter is where Scott lives. But surprising he told us that “Twitter is a horrible marketing and sales tool.” But it is an important and extremely valuable tool to communicate with. It is a scalable way to reach out to your targeted market. Twitter allows you to meet and engage in conversation with awesome people that you could never meet any other way in such a short time. But it is not all about numbers, having tens of thousands of followers (although Scott does), it is about finding your voice, sharing with others and actually talking to people. Don’t use a logo for your avatar! People talk to people, not to logos. And the best part of getting to know and influence more people, is that people do business with those that they know, like and trust. This is nothing new, it is centuries old wisdom that is as true on Twitter as it was in the Roman Coliseum.
Imagine going to a great networking event and talking to several people. What if everyone there had a follow and unfollow button on their shoulder? If you should decide that they are really not “valuable” to you – just go right up to them and hit their “unfollow” button and walk away. Hmmmmm, might be kind of rude eh? Think twice before insulting anyone in person or on-line!
Twitter creates awareness and cost nothing. The cost is time – the investment you make is time, not money. Scott’s ROI?
More people know him, more people trust him and more people hire him! Your current ad agency may not be able to figure the metrics on that one or provide the analytics to justify it, but it sure does work good. Problem with most ad agencies is that they are full of people trying to protect their positions by making more money on more billings and bigger media buys.
Scott describes himself as the CRO of his Toronto based Un-Marketing company, the Chief Relationship Officer. He wants to be front and center and in the game, the “rock star” of his company. Every CEO should be that engaged.
It is better to work your Social Media for a half hour a day, that 3 hours on Saturday. People like a consistent conversation. Companies that begin a SM campaign or effort and then leave it to die on the vine are sending the message that they just really don’t care that much to spend the time talking to you (the customer) or listening to what you have to say. Imagine that your subordinate takes a phone call and it is from an irate customer with a complaint that wants to talk to the boss (you). Would you instruct them to “just hang up”, or “ignore them” – or how about if you get a personal email asking for details on your product, would you just hit delete and get on to more important stuff? Of course not, then why do companies continue to ignore the conversation that goes on about and around their brand? To not get involved in the conversation via Social Media is just turning your back on your customers. Progressive, engaged, customer-centric organizations monitor their brand and reach out to their customers on a regular basis to stay tuned in to their market.
Starting and building a Twitter following without interaction is like sending a mannequin to a networking event.
Social Media is not a fad, it is not going away. It has fundamentally changed the way we communicate.
I don’t “believe” in Social Media. That’s good, because it is not a religion.
The way we share (advice) has shifted.
It used to be the rule of thumb that if a customer had a great experience with your business they would tell one other person, but if they had a bad experience they would tell ten other people. Today, they tell 100 thousand other people.
That means we all need to be the best we can, be transparent, be real and deliver on the brand promise that we extol.
Final word about customer service . . .
Today, to be exceptional all you need to do is offer what used to be considered normal.
Check out some of Scott’s 30 tour stops for this non-traditional book release event.
If you are within a day’s drive of one of these events, you need to be there.
Or at least go buy the book.