Friday, December 07, 2007

The Cluetrain Manifesto

I came across this site the other day and it struck me how easy it would be to substitute "the church" for "companies/corporations" and "the unchurched" for "markets" in nearly all of these points. There are some profound statements made:

14. Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.

Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.

Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.

Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them.

Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.

Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.

Companies attempting to "position" themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.

Bombastic boasts—"We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ"—do not constitute a position.

Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.

Public Relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.

By speaking in language that is distant, uninviting, arrogant, they build walls to keep markets at bay.

Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what's really going on inside the company.


Unknown said...

I read this book when I was working at WebTrends. I was in a weird position in that company, in that it was both small enough and foolish enough to let me apply for a position that put me close to the CEO in terms of company operations.

As I read the book, I appreciated some of the sentiments, but the author betrays a sort of anarchist sensibility that betrays his lack of experience with the burdens of actual leadership of a company larger than twelve people. With hundreds at WebTrends and a frontrunner being watched by the hightech industry during our IPO days, ClueTrain reads more like an eschatological vision of what a company might look like if removed from the real world and stuck into the dreams of a young professor of MBA who never actually worked in the field.

Good values. Snarky, appealing attitude. Lousy, lousy application and utter disregard for all the necessary dimensions of a business that hopes to actually last long enough to pay its employees.

Jennifer B. Davis said...

The book is great! A classic.