There are some people with very strong voices & Valeria Maltoni has one that’s worth listening to. Her writing is focused & provides key points on marketing with social media. I’m honored to be invited to join a meme that contemplates where we’re at on the 10th anniversary of the publication of The Cluetrain Manifesto.
Let’s take a couple of minutes to talk about The Cluetrain Manifesto because many of my readers are new to social media marketing. It is based on the premise that customers are talking & companies need to start listening & participating:
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.
If you’re not familiar with the manifesto take a couple of minutes to read the 95 theses. I suggest reviewing them periodically because at various stages of involvement with social media you’ll find that they take on new meaning.
I really like Valeria’s summary & inclusion about emotion because the New Marketing is all about customers & relationships. She says:
This kind of conversation is a commitment, not a savings account for your marketing spend. When I speak about social media, the tools and dynamics, I often say that they are the container, the context in which you get to:
The fourth “E” is emotion, the human quality that is memorable because it touches us. While blogs and other social media seem (and often are) extemporaneous, they do allow you to show the personality of your business. Your personality is still what differentiates you from your competitors – and, after years of industrial age treatment, what makes you likeable.
Here is my take on the meme on the 10th anniversary of the book:
1. What does The Cluetrain Manifesto mean to you? How has the book and theses influenced or not influenced you?
I was introduced to the concepts in early 2006 in the public library non-profit setting. As I have shifted to marketing online the precepts of the Cluetrain Manifesto have become more applicable. They also ring true for me as a customer!
As a customer living in a rural area I’ve long relied on reviews on Amazon to make purchase decisions for three reasons:.
- Word of mouth influences me: It is easier to purchase electronics in this way rather than rely on college students opinions in stores.
- Local selection is limited in a town of 60,000. I want to buy what’s best for my needs rather than what’s being mass marketed.
- Lower price & the convenience of having it delivered to my door – shopping online definitely allows me to purchase at the best price
As a Community Manager the Cluetrain Manifesto provides the foundation for my philosophies & underlines the relevance of my work:
- the customer is first & they need to be listened to – they are networking & influencing each other’s purchases
- conversations are happening everywhere – the company needs to get off their site & join in
- they need to respect the customers opinions & space
- realize that the relationships must be nurtured & are fragile
- the conversation must be transparent & authentic – if it is then the customers will embrace it & uplift the brand (as well as forgive it’s shortcomings)
- the conversation isn’t something to be controlled (externally OR internally)
2. Which companies have best implemented The Cluetrain Manifesto in your opinion and how were they effective?
There are so many examples. There are some excellent books that I list in my Resources page that provide examples & case studies.
3. In thesis 57, The Cluetrain Manifesto states, “smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner.” In light of that thesis, is encouraging employees to use social media and blogging a good idea? Is it really effective, when an employee is encouraged but not directed?
I believe that education/training is imperative in every organization. In my tenure as a supervisor for almost a decade I always challenged my staff & learn & grow in their positions. Change is inevitable & learning new technology is imperative. My staff were always asking for more training & I believe that it’s the organization’s obligation to provide it.
Education can provide the foundation for encouraging employees to do new tasks (including incorporating blogging & the use of social media tools into their routines). The last question asks whether employees should be encouraged or directed? How about if management embraces the concepts first, then ensures training & participates with their employees. That’s a win-win situation & I’ve always thought that management should lead by example.
4. How can a company encourage employees to use social media, and empower them to answer customer questions and learn from customers?
I guess I covered it in question 3. I would recommend that companies:
- Learn about the benefits & commit to participating
- Embrace the concept & plan for it
- Education & train the employees
5. Do all employees want to talk with customers? If not what percentage want to internetwork and converse?
I don’t think that all do. And I don’t think that it’s everyone’s job. Conversely those that are on the company’s front lines NEED to be not only comfortable with talking with customers but also be well versed in how important word of mouth is. Specific training should be provided to them so that they can fully understand the value of the relationships that they’re creating & the power that can bring.
I also believe that management & the executive level should be participating with their markets online. As I mentioned earlier that will set an example & tone for the culture of the organization. Surely every employee that wants to engage with customers should be encouraged to. Building relationships with the customers will pay off in surprising ways!
Here are other responses to this meme by: RichardatDELL, Michael Walsh, Valeria Maltoni, Jason Falls, Zane Safrit, Phil Gomes, Mack Collier — and John Cass who started it.