Cluetrain celebrates 10 years – so what next?

Cluetrain  The Clutrain Manifesto was a significant moment in future-gazing for a world that is now very clearly with us.

The authors have re-published the book with some additional chapters by themselves and another luminary, JP .  Which will be great and some added thought-provoking chapters to digest.

What was so great about Cluetrain?  It first foresaw and articulated the concept of the market as a conversation. That is thesis number one.

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.

That corporations are made up of people who (shock horror) may disagree.

How do you speak in a human voice? First, you get a life. And corporations just can't do that. Corporations are like Pinocchio. Or Frankenstein. Their noses grow longer at the oddest moments, or they start breaking things for no good reason. They want to be human, but gosh, they're not.  Christopher Locke

and thesis 15 stands out for me today – have we arrived at the point of 'a few more years'?

In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.

For me what happens next is the really interesting part.  Here's what I think….

  1. the rise of the power of the consumer to inform, bargain, leverage and enthuse
  2. corporate honesty is tested and changes many organisations
  3. Reversal of the advertising-led world of marketing and sales to networked conversations
  4. The end of corporate databases and centralised record-keeping.  Only record-verification needs to be centralised
  5. B2B engagement and prospect research is easier and cheaper and the opportunities to find good new business partners and clients quickly and cheaply grow massively
  6. Shifting budgets from OTL to direct and social media
  7. The up-skilling of call centres from help-desks to teams of helpful folk who can get things done, sell more product and work withing the network to facilitate the coompany goals

thanks to David Cushman for the link.

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2 replies
  1. Joanne Jacobs
    Joanne Jacobs says:

    I can’t believe it’s a whole decade but of course Cluetrain formed the basis of all my teaching in strategic use of IT in the years that followed – and it’s been a while since I left teaching. Tempus fugit.

    Regarding your ideas for where we are going, I think your perceptions are sound. I particularly am interested in the notion of a revolution in marketing and help desks. It has always struck me as particularly stupid that call centres are populated with the lowest paid, least invested staff, and yet they are the first port of call for problems in business. The idea of a shift toward an army of advocates, well-paid, informed and acting on behalf of something they believe in is far more likely to induce a sense of trust in users. I also agree that marketing itself will shift – ironically *back* to more pure forms of the discipline, where marketing is about communication and connecting people with the information, products and services that are of direct interest to a user.

    You’ll note I use the term ‘user’ not ‘consumer’. I think that is perhaps the other main shift we’ll see. The age of pure consumption is probably at an end. The rise of green issues, the concern over health with the rise in obesity and diabetes (among other problems associated with a consumption-obsessed society) will all lead towards a more conscious and conscientious society. There will always be a need to be a user of products, but that use will come with a sense of the consequences of use.

    Interesting times. And I do look forward to the update to Cluetrain!

    Reply
  2. Joanne Jacobs
    Joanne Jacobs says:

    I can’t believe it’s a whole decade but of course Cluetrain formed the basis of all my teaching in strategic use of IT in the years that followed – and it’s been a while since I left teaching. Tempus fugit.

    Regarding your ideas for where we are going, I think your perceptions are sound. I particularly am interested in the notion of a revolution in marketing and help desks. It has always struck me as particularly stupid that call centres are populated with the lowest paid, least invested staff, and yet they are the first port of call for problems in business. The idea of a shift toward an army of advocates, well-paid, informed and acting on behalf of something they believe in is far more likely to induce a sense of trust in users. I also agree that marketing itself will shift – ironically *back* to more pure forms of the discipline, where marketing is about communication and connecting people with the information, products and services that are of direct interest to a user.

    You’ll note I use the term ‘user’ not ‘consumer’. I think that is perhaps the other main shift we’ll see. The age of pure consumption is probably at an end. The rise of green issues, the concern over health with the rise in obesity and diabetes (among other problems associated with a consumption-obsessed society) will all lead towards a more conscious and conscientious society. There will always be a need to be a user of products, but that use will come with a sense of the consequences of use.

    Interesting times. And I do look forward to the update to Cluetrain!

    Reply

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