The 2014 Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) featured several outstanding speakers, but perhaps none provoked more thought, laughter, and inspiration than Scott Stratten. His “unmarketing” approach reimagines the business-customer relationship and focuses on creating exceptional, real-time experiences that build trust through listening and engagement.
Following the HCIC conference, I caught up with the best-selling author of “Unmarketing” and “Unselling” to learn more about his mission to help organizations stop marketing and start engaging.
Q: Why is the concept of “unmarketing” so counter-intuitive to most organizations—even to most marketers?
We’ve been taught since the dawn of time that marketing was all push messaging. Communicating and conversing with our market was meant for sales people and client services teams. Feedback was never part of the plan for marketers. We put messages out there, patted ourselves on our backs, and held industry awards for the best marketing. Now, voices are more powerful than any marketer. Our brand is what people say it is, not what marketers want people to say. Branding used to be about control—until we realized we never really controlled it.
Q: What is the first step toward transforming your marketing from traditional tactics to an “unmarketing” approach?
Keeping your ear to the virtual ground and being able to adapt are the biggest things. Adapting doesn’t mean jumping from marketing platform to marketing platform, but rather, knowing where your potential clients/customers are having brand-relevant conversations and at the very least learning from them, if not being a part of them.
Q: What is your opinion on trends such as marketing automation and inbound marketing that are becoming so prevalent?
Automation has a place, but not in social media. Scheduling 20 tweets and 10 Facebook posts to go out in a week isn’t “being social,” it’s doing push messaging that never worked well in a forum that doesn’t welcome it. Inbound and content marketing is fantastic, but only if done well. Creating content for the sake of creating content does nothing but use up your resources and create content clutter. Create things that are relevant to your target audience, make them timely and helpful, and people will consume and share them.
Q: Can you share any great examples of unmarketing in health care?
Q: What is the most important thing you want our readership to know about the concept of “unmarketing?"
If you believe that business is built on relationships, make building them your business.