“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter - and getting smarter faster than most companies.”
This is an excerpt from Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual, written in 1999 by Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, Rick Levine. At the time I don’t believe this excerpt was taken very seriously. Today, I don’t think anyone is challenging it…OK, there are always a few Neanderthals out there in marketing land.
The authors’ prescience way back then was the wakeup call that is informing marketing in the 21st century. The old “push” standard of marketing has become “pull” measure of brand value and product value. Features and benefits play second to ‘what’s in it for me’. And consumers have gotten very good at the game.
Consumers can be a brand’s best friend or worst enemy. Brands that promise value and deliver consistently have an advocate (as long as they keep delivering). Brands that sell hard but don’t deliver are disappearing at a faster and faster clip.
The Cluetrain Manifesto observed prepubescent Social Media and the speed with which consumers began the conversations. The jury was (and I think still is) out as far as SM being an effective marketing tool. What is understood in 2013 is that if it is a tool at all, it is in the consumer’s hand. The onus is on the marketer to become part of the conversation in a way that partners with consumers’ interests and needs, and delivers value – consistently.
The Cluetrain Manifesto is a good read and reference. Its 95 theses receive validation daily and provide insights into the control assumed by consumer and its impact on organizations, brands and marketers.
March 1, 2013