Posted tagged ‘cluetrain manifesto’

The Marketing Rules are (Still) Changing

March 6, 2009

tre-coverAs the world has witnessed the collapse of billion dollar companies such as AIG and Merryl Lynch, some of us stood by and were only able to watch in horror as if we were watching the Titanic sinking after hitting the iceberg. “It can never sink. It’s just too big,” they said. One can almost hear the naysayers scoffing at anyone who predicted such a catastrophic failure as what happened on Wall Street. “No, the banks can never fail. The government won’t let that happen.”

Look where it [our confidence] got us. Over the past two or three years, we have taken special notice to some blogs, names and phrases, such as, “Relationship Capital.”

The Relationship Economy is a system in which we are worth who we know and what we know. For example, I personally have just over 2,400 so-called “friends” on the online social network known as Facebook. A year ago, I had exactly 67 “friends” on that same network. Realizing that the shift from a goods-based/knowledge-based economy to a relationship-based economy, I started adding “friends” like crazy. Today, with my 2,400 + “friends,” I am more valuable than I was on March 5, 2008.

I’ve made connections to people all over the world, most of whom I will never meet or even speak to on the phone. And while I would say many will prove to be fruitless, I have made some really good connections to people in some very high places with companies such as Dell, IBM, Apple, HP, and, my favorite, Comcast.

The marketing has changed in the past six months. People are coming to the realization that the social networks are becoming more vital to businesses rather than just a fad. People are watching television online, listening to the radio online, getting their news online, and companies are capitalizing on the world’s ability to connect online.

So what’s my point?

With people spending so much time online and our ability to remain connected to the world, via Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and RSS feeds, the marketing has changed locations and forums, but the message is still the same: “LOOK AT HOW GREAT MY PRODUCT IS!”

That’s where the marketing guys come up short. Rather than talking to us, they need to be talking with us. Finding out what it is we need. What we want a product to give us, etc.

In The Cluetrain Manifesto, written by Doc Searls et. al., says that marketes are conversations. It does little to aid your bottom-line if you are speaking in a language none of your customers can understand. Therefore, the relationship isn’t there.

Now, some companies have adapted their marketing to The Relationship Economy, but the big-boys–the banks, the insurance companies, etc.– have not. That’s why they collapsed in ’08.

Companies have forgotten that they aren’t all about million dollar homes and large offices with gold trash cans. When a person is made to feel important, that is when you will develop consumer pride and brand loyalty. But when a service call is not kept, the call is dropped, or the company doesn’t seem to care about YOU, the consumer, that is when the walls they have built all around them start to crumble.

The move toward the relationship economy is coming, and I think it may catch many big companies unaware.

How ’bout it?

Comcast Starts Seeing Benefits of Conversations

April 4, 2008

conversation-on-comcast.jpgWith the Facebook group “The Conversation on Comcast,” which was started by several members of the business community who don’t work for Comcast, solutions have been provided to concerns Comcast clients/customers have expressed by executives who work at Comcast!

Though the vast majority of the group does not work for Comcast in any form or fashion, there are a couple of Comcast execs who are members: Frank Eliason and Scott Westerman. Kudos to these two! They are engaging The Relationship Economy, and Comcast is establishing good relationships with clients, as a result of their actions.

As Doc Searls says in The Cluetrain Manifesto, “Markets are Conversations. Therefore they (the markets) are constantly changing. They are ever-evolving, and flowing as rivers of conversations. They can change the way people buy, sell or do business. The internet is a perfect example. For several years now, we have been doing our holiday (Christmas) shopping online, rather than driving to the local mall, driving around to find a parking space, and fighting the crowds. It’s much faster and easier to shop online.

As the group grows, it provides value for not only Comcast, but also for its members. The problems which are solved provide a hope and an insight to other solutions which are case-specific. Though the commercials for Comcast high-speed internet are amusing to say the least, they are really nothing compared to the buzz created by Conversations on Comcast!

Making $$$ with the Social Web

January 19, 2008

relationshipeconomy-mid.jpgAds and emails (spam) proliferate the internet promoting hundreds (or thousands) of “get rich quick” schemes. Many of the ideas promote and advocate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools or “spamming” friends and contact lists with products to enlarge, slim, or whiten or generally make some aspect of their lives better.

But those “businesses” don’t get it. The social web is not only a tool with which one can promote products – which may or may not do what the ad-execs say they will. Think about it, why would a business release trade secrets to a worldwide audience that reveal its money-making ability? Bottom line, it wouldn’t. Especially if that particular business has a corner on the market (i.e. if it’s the only business doing whatever it does).

The true key to making money on the Web

In The Cluetrain Manifesto, Doc Searls states that markets are conversations. The Social Web is simply a technological tool which enables these conversations, and the conversations (should be) designed to be influential to others. It is not just for the younger generations. Social Networking Strategist (mogul/guru) Jay Deragon explores this fact in his blog.

Call “it” a fad, a “thing that kids use” or whatever you want but to ignore “its” influence is like saying “Our business doesn’t need any customers”.

The new “system of influence” is unlike any other system used by business. Its primary elements are connectivity with people and conversational content which connects people. So how connected is your business? How influential are your conversations? Maybe you need a new “system.”

The real key to making money on the web is by having good conversations. The quality of the conversations is determined by the contentwhich makes them up. The sphere of influence can be established and grown by attracting more readers to whatever the portal happens to be. The “MySpace Generation” doesn’t get it. Many people post on other peoples’ walls or personal pages with comments like, “Just wanted to say hi!” or something along those lines.

While that may be fine for the younger members of the social web, business people need to have quality content in whatever they post. Quality content provides greater readership, which provides a greater sphere of influence, which will, in turn, provide the business with more clients and customers.

The Long and The Short of It:

When pop-up ads or emails come across the screen professing to be the “best thing since sliced bread,” one should be very skeptical and view whatever offer with a degree of cynicism. The surest way to become wealthy through the Social Web is to produce high-quality posts with good content. It’s really not a quick process, is it?

¬†How ’bout it?