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Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.

By: Scott Stratten

Reviewed By: Ramona Sukhraj

Scott Stratten is an expert in social media and authentic marketing, which he calls unmarketing. According to him, “it’s all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so when they have the need, they choose you.”

One of the key principles he preaches, alongside authenticity, is building relationships slowly.

Where most social media marketers are focused on how to grow your follower and “like” count, Stratten is all about real engagement.

In his book, Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging., Stratten shows us how to banish bad marketing habits and learn how to attract and engage the right customers, or as we say in inbound marketing, your buyer persona.

Instead of throwing your message out into the ether and hoping it sticks, you can deliver a message that you know your prospects care about.

By developing this kind of caring, thoughtful relationship with your prospects, as Stratten suggests, your brand builds trust, authority, and, in turn, becomes the logical choice to solve their problems.

Here are three of the key lessons Stratten shares to help you unlearn your bad marketing habits and start engaging:

1. Relationships Rule Marketing

“It’s not just knowledge people buy from you, it’s the application of the knowledge for their specific situation.” - Scott Stratten

Thanks largely to Google, it’s never been easier to access information from around the globe and since there is no shortage of information out there, it’s not as valuable as it once was.

In a world where everyone is on this equal playing field, execution is what sets successful people and brands apart from the mediocre.

Stratten strongly emphasizes the point that following best practices isn’t enough. It’s the bare minimum.

To create real value, you have to be an expert in your field and you have to find a way to use that knowledge to address specific wants, needs, fears, dreams, etc. of your buyer personas.

The only way to cater to those specific needs is to take the time to get to know the people you are marketing to. The more time you invest in getting to know and helping your prospects, the quicker you establish yourself as an expert.

Once that happens, more people will come to you and eventually you will have gathered enough research to create an ideal solution for them. At that point, marketing is nearly effortless.

2. You Only Have to Be AN Expert, Not THE Expert

“Webster’s dictionary defines an expert as ‘having, involving or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.’  You have to be an expert to run your own business.”- Scott Stratten

It’s no longer a challenge to become an expert on any subject, but it’s harder than ever to be the expert.

Innovation happens at a rapid pace and staying up-to-date is hard enough, much less being the most up-to-date person in an entire field.

Stratten is a huge advocate of the idea that you only need to be an expert… for now. To run a business, you simply need to know more about a particular topic than the majority of people (I mean why would someone pay you to do something if they could do it better, right?).

The problem with this is that most of us are too modest to declare ourselves as an expert at all. We have limiting beliefs that we need certain accolades or prerequisites to use such a label, when in reality, you only need knowledge and experience.

On the other hand, however, there are people with a complete lack of modesty who are always boasting and trying to fake it all the way to the top.

Stratten stresses the fact that you have to actually know your stuff. You shouldn’t act like you’re the expert on a subject when you’re most likely just an expert. It’s not a smart strategy and it usually backfires in the long run.

3. Focus on Your Buyer Persona

“The day you start talking to your audience and it’s about them, that’s the day that business really happens.”- Scott Stratten

Simply being an expert isn’t enough to stand out in a crowd. You also need focus.

There’s no shortage of experts who will brag to anyone and everyone who will listen. Stratten suggests doing the exact opposite and spending as much time as possible listening.

Remember, being an expert only means you know more than most, it doesn’t mean you know it all.

The smart expert listens closely, engages deeply, and finds the key pain points their prospects are struggling with. In other words, they are able to demonstrate their knowledge and apply it to real life situations.

Once your prospects see that you actually care about and can help them, they will start to care more about you in return.


The best part about authentic marketing, or unmarketing, is that so few brands will actually take the time to do it. There’s always room for more authentic marketers.

Not only are listening and engaging with your buyer personas the “right” things to do, but they are simply good for business. They allow you to offer better solutions.

The most valuable products and services connect with customers on a deep, emotional level. When you truly understand your customers by connecting with them, you’ll be able to better create a marketing message that truly resonates. From there, everything else falls into place.