Martins are always like that. Emotional. Revolutionary. Mind-changing. Words are their powerful tools. They come up with an idea, either speech or theses, which later influence generations and cultures.
None of the four authors I am going to mention are Martins: Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger and Rick Levine. Still, just like Luther, who is cited to be the founder of the Protestant Reformation with his 95 theses, these authors kicked off a new era in marketing. Does it sound exaggerating? Absolutely. Let’s talk about 95 Theses from “…the future of business and it’s The Cluetrain Manifesto.”
Am I going to point out anything new about 95 Theses, something untold since manifesto was released in 1999? Unlikely. However, I can point out the ones that I like. And then, I will tell why exactly I like them — not because I have to since they are related to marketing and media, but because each of these truth can be about any other things than marketing and media.
In terms of marketing, there are several main points in 95 theses:
I. Markets are conversations. Markets should return in their classic meaning, which is the place to meet and offer products actually looking at each others eyes, hearing the voice, asking the questions and watching the live reaction.
II. Internet is great and bad at the same time. It allows people to talk and become a single voice. However, it is used by companies as a shield from people by re-addressing customers to their websites filled up with brochures and artificial language, edited by the lawyers beforehand.
III. Companies should stop being double-faced, practicing different policy inside their companies and towards the customers. Target group is not as naive as companies suppose.
When Martin Luther came up with his 95 theses, to me, he actually presented the main idea of promoting human as the main creature. Not the Church, not the Pope, but people are the above all and they have their own direct connection with God. Reading 95 theses in The Cluetrain Manifesto over and over again, I keep coming to a single conclusion: markets are conversations between human and for human.
Suddenly, everyone loves these theses. People quote 95 theses during the interviews to impress the future employer. But I do not see the theses just as the document exploding the world of marketing on the eve of millennium. It is another document repeating the universal truth that we do not like repeating.
Corporations, companies and organizations should understand that people are not demographic sectors only. People’s destinies cannot be predicted judging by their ZIP code and receipts. Machines cannot satisfy them even over the phone. Enough sounding hollow, flat, literally inhuman. People want conversation and even being a Lovemark is not enough anymore. Love must be sincerely mutual.
95 Theses is so political to me. Some cool people in governments have to read the manifesto. Especially suppressing governments, self-elected, self-confident and bloody governments over the world should take millions of people as seriously as they take one reporter from The Wall Street Journal. Your product broke. Why? We would like to ask the guy who made it… What do you mean she is not in?
…Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships…
…We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting…
P.S. Dan Gilmor in We The Media says: “Just as journalists should not be threatened by a more knowledgeable audience, companies should not be threatened by smart customers who care to make products better. When your customer offer their expert assistance, the smart move is to say Thanks.”
Good addition to 95 Theses.