Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unmarketing. Stop Marketing, Start Engaging.

Book Review by the New Economics for Humanity

AWESOME BOOK!!! I seriously loved it. Scott speaks as if his way is the way, but I don't mind it, that's what works for him and it resonates with me. I too recommend what works for me.

One of the topics that have come to my mind when I think of the Financial Institution of the Future project is, what are economic transactions for?? Why do we want to measure them?? and, what is it about value that makes it so important. Recently, I have repeatedly heard phrases that have led me to conclude that economic transactions are all about social relationships.

Paolo Ricciardelli, from a Skype group that discusses complementary currencies, said that "The core idea is that relations of exchange between individuals are more valuable than the goods or services exchanged."

In another conversation with Helen Dew from Living Economies, she told me that "we know that good relationships mean good trade". A relevant for my local exchange group which is wondering about why we are becoming stagnant.

Well, the author of this book takes this conversation about good relationships to the world of business in a way that no mainstream businessman could do. Although he apparently also works as a consultant for old-age type of business, I see great potential for using his wisdom in evolutionary businesses. "Marketing happens every time you engage (or not) with your past, present and potential customers" he says. It is not about a department of your business that will put an expensive ad and hope that someone will call, which the author calls the 'push and pray' method. It is about engaging with your customers, it is about establishing human conversations. Furthermore, he doesn't get tired of saying that honesty, authenticity and transparency are key to success.

So, in a mainstream/old-age company, the employees normally do not care about their job, they do what they do 'to survive', 'to pay the bills'. The employer cares about his employees as long as they bring sales. There is no engagement between them, therefore, employees will never be part of the positive marketing process for that business. They will never tell their friends to visit the factory where they work because it is awesome and have great products for them, for example. What Scott seems to be telling me is that your employees need to be as passionate about their job, as you are about your company. You need to be passionate about what you do so that you can go out and talk to people about it.

How does passion comes about?? or how do you motivate your employees?? Engage with them, be honest, authentic and transparent so that they trust you. When they trust you, they will be honest, authentic and transparent to you, so you'll trust them. Then, every one will play a key role in the Unmarketing process.

I concluded that marketing is about imposing, unmarketing is about creating trust. Scott even talks about a social currency!! something like, every time you build and strengthen your relationships with potential costumers, that is to say, with anyone, you are crediting your social account with a social currency. Eventually, the time will come for you to use it!

With the Financial Institution of the Future project, I am struggling a bit because I have got people joining the team on the BetterMeans Platform, however, I haven't been able to engage with them in a conversation that would motivate us to actively participate. That is because the platform does not allow us to keep contact with each other through email. If I want to email them, I need to go to my personal email account and select the recipients one by one. Same would be for them, which is an issue since not everyone has everyone else's addresses. So before we can go out to talk about this project, we need to develop passion for it, we all have to own it, to feel we belong to it and it belongs to us. We need to love the project...but we need the tool to engage and have conversations. I'd like to ask to current and future contributors, how do you think we can overcome this if BetterMeans cannot solve this issue for our project, which they are aware of??

My abstraction of the book can be summarized in the next sentence: Conversations start the process of building trust, which creates and strengthens good relationships. These are essential in building community, which process engages the public and promotes good trade. Social cohesion is key to healthy and sustainable economic activity. I chose the fractal spiral to indicate that, to me, this is a never ending process, it is an iteration, it feeds itself and when you look at it closer, you find more of the same stuff..."to infinity and beyond"!!

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