What is Cluetrain Manifesto? Its Relevance in Digital Marketing

What is Cluetrain Manifesto? Its Relevance in Digital Marketing

Communication is one of the pillars of the world, it allows us to connect, know, learn, understand, create alliances, and expand; All this to grow, and this is demonstrated in the digital channels, which are the superhighway in which society communicates every day and more so if it is about this moment, which is a “New Normal”, where platforms like Zoom, have gained significant value in recent months.


If we analyze the new media, we can also see the presence of brands and companies adapting to a market with different habits, a space where it is required to have a human-to-human conversation, with more freedom to express, and with more decision-making power, that, by being exposed to different factors, can be influenced, and behind this are marketing strategists, commercialization and professionals who can influence in one way or another in the company’s process, to connect to a mass market.


With this opening message, it gives a broader view of the collection of 95 statements, of the relationship between markets, customers, suppliers, allies, competitors, or any entity or person, directly and indirectly, related to the brand or company.

Origin of the Cluetrain manifesto

This was created in 1999 by Frederick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger, it was published in 2000 in the book 


“The Cluetrain Manifesto: the decline of the conventional company . 


The term Cluetrain comes from the quote: the clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never accepted a delivery. From a firm plummeting from Fortune magazine’s 500 lists.

You can learn a little more about this on the official Cluetrain page.

What is the Cluetrain manifesto?

It is an exquisite collection, which has more than 20 years of history, which focuses on 95 conclusions or statements, of the current market, consumer, and user behavior and how brands or companies should convert their automated language and without emotion, in an inspiring message that transmits the values, mission, vision, objectives and organizational climate, I dare to share that before a company goes out to conquer the market, it must start from within, and make love and loyalty to participating members (endomarketing, internal marketing or corporate marketing).


The manifesto suggests that the changes come to give companies the option to adapt to the new market if their objective is to continue in the market, where digital marketing and new technologies are part of this reality, social networks, digital channels, new Virtual but real experiences and the most relevant: more human, direct and without the filter.

What can you learn from the Cluetrain manifesto?

Most specialists or teachers send us to read the 95 statements, however, do we learn from them? 

What is the reflection we should take? 

And how applicable is it within corporate reality?


I share from my point of view, that yes, we managed to learn that, if you want to leave a mark of your brand in the world, it cannot be achieved with only the sales force, but with ALL the members that are part of the ECOSYSTEM of the brand, including from the competition. Where the manifesto does not ask you to speak just to speak, but to SPEAK WITH INTELLIGENCE, and understand that each person is different and you do not see them as simple numbers or cash registers, but as people with feelings, who need, although we are on digital channels, WARMTH HUMAN.


The reflection that I took when I read it is that, as professionals who are behind each brand, we allow ourselves to be devoured by monotony within the company, and we must make a difference to change this perception, in short, EDUCATE the board of directors, our colleagues and each department that is part of the company. And this starts with the LEADERS of each department.


And finally, it is applicable only if we have the patience to educate or that the leaders that make up the board of directors or each department have within their style and habit of involving all members and thinking empathically about clients and allies.


Now, I invite you to read and reflect on the Cluetrain manifesto.

95 statements from the Cluetrain manifesto

1. Markets are conversations.


2. Markets are made up of human beings, not demographic sectors.


3. Conversations between human beings ‘sound’ human. They are carried out with a human voice.


4. Whether conveying information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments, or humorous comments, the human voice is open, natural, and sincere.


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5. People are recognized as such by the sound of this voice.


6. The Internet makes it possible to have conversations between human beings that were simply impossible in the days of mass media.


7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.


8. In both networked marketplaces and between employees linked by intranets, people communicate with each other in a powerful new way.


9. These network conversations are giving rise to emerging forms of social organization and knowledge sharing.


10. Consequently, markets become smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in an online market changes people radically.


11. In new markets, people have found that they can get much better information and support from their mutual values ​​and experiences than they can from salespeople. Enough of the corporate rhetoric about adding value to products.


12. There are no secrets. The network market knows more than companies about their own products. And whether it is good news or bad news, they spread it around the world.


13. What happens in markets also happens among employees. A metaphysical structure called “The Company” is the only thing that stands between the two.


14. Businesses do not use the same voice as the one that sounds in these new online conversations. To the online audience they are targeting, companies sound hollow, opaque, and inhumane.


15. In just a few years, the current homogenized “voice” of the business world, the sound of mission statements and brochures, will seem as far-fetched and artificial as the language of the French court in the 18th century.


16. Today, companies that use lip service no longer manage to capture anyone’s attention.


17. Companies that assume that today’s online marketplaces are the same ones that used to see their TV commercials are deluding themselves.


18. Companies that don’t realize their markets are now person-to-person connected, so they become smarter and deeply engaged in conversation, are wasting their best opportunity.


19. Now companies can communicate with their markets directly. If they don’t take advantage of it, they could be missing their last chance.


20. Businesses must realize that their markets often laugh. At them.


21. Companies need to relax and take themselves less seriously. They need to have a sense of humor.


22. Having a sense of humor does not mean putting jokes on the corporate website. Rather, it requires betting on great values, some humility, frankness, and a genuine point of view.


23. Companies trying to “position themselves” must take a stand. Ideally, it would be related to something that interests your market.


24. Exaggerated statements such as “We positioned ourselves in the market to become XYZ’s main supplier” do not constitute positioning.


25. Businesses should come down from their ivory towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to build relationships.


26. Public relations do not interact with the public. Companies have a deep fear of their markets.


27. By using distant, unattractive, arrogant language, they build walls that drive markets away.


28. Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market may discover what is going on within the company.


29. Elvis Presley said it before: “We can’t stay together if we suspect each other.”


30. Brand loyalty is the corporate version of a stable relationship, but the breakup is inevitable, and it is fast approaching. Because they are interconnected, markets can redefine their relationships with agility.


31. Interconnected markets can change providers instantly. Networked workers can change bosses during lunch. At the time, the workforce cuts taught us to ask ourselves: “Loyalty? What’s that?”.


32. Smart markets will eventually find suppliers who speak the same language.


33. Learning to speak with a human voice is not something that is achieved by magic. It is not something that sticks by attending sophisticated talks and conferences.


34. To have a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.


35. But first, they must belong to a community.


36. Companies must ask themselves where their corporate culture ends.


37. If the limits of their culture do not intermingle with those of the community, then they will have no market.


38. Human communities are based on dialogue, on human conversations about human concerns.


39. The community of dialogue is the market.


40. Companies that do not fit into the discourse of a community will disappear.


41. Businesses have turned their security into a religion, but they are not addressing the real issue. Most protect themselves less from their competitors than from their own market and workforce.


42. As in networked marketplaces, people also communicate with each other directly within the company, not just talking about rules, regulations, board directives, and balance sheets.

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43. These conversations take place through corporate intranets. But only when conditions are favorable.


44. Companies often install their intranets from above to distribute their HR policies and other corporate information that their workers try to ignore.


45. Intranets tend by nature to be boring. The best ones are built from the bottom up by committed individuals cooperating to build something far more valuable: an intranet-connected corporate conversation.


46. ​​An open intranet organizes workers in many ways. Its effect is stronger than the agenda of any union.


47. While this is very scary for businesses, they also rely heavily on these open intranets to generate and share potentially critical knowledge. They must resist the temptation to “improve” or control these conversations that circulate on the web.


48. When corporate intranets are not constrained by fear and regulation, the kinds of conversations they promote have a lot to do with those in networked markets.


49. Organizational charts worked in the old economy, where plans could be fully understood from the top of steep pyramids of command and detailed work orders could reach the worker from above.


50. Today, the organization chart is blurred, it does not follow a hierarchy, but rather respect for practical knowledge is imposed on that of abstract authority.


51. Management and leadership styles emerge from the bureaucracy and ultimately reinforce it; they promote power struggles and a general culture of paranoia.


52. Paranoia suppresses the conversation. That is your goal. But the lack of open conversations kills companies.


53. There are two parallel conversations. One inside the company; the other with the market.


54. In countless cases, neither one works very well. In general, the cause of failure can be traced to outdated ideas of authoritarian leadership.


55. As a policy, these ideas are poisonous. Like tools, they have no value. The authoritarian command runs up against the hostility of knowledge workers and generates distrust in the networked markets.


56. These two conversations want to meet. They speak the same language. They recognize the voice.


57. Forward-thinking companies will be unfettered and will do whatever it takes to make the inevitable happen sooner.


58. If the IQ of companies were measured by their willingness not to hinder the process, very few would have learned their lesson, at least for now.


59. Although still subliminal, millions of people online perceive businesses as little more than curious legal fictions that actively prevent these conversations from ever taking place.


60. This is a suicidal attitude. Markets want to talk to companies.


61. Unfortunately, the part of the company that the networked market wants to communicate with often hides behind a smokescreen of quackery, of language that sounds false and often is.


62. Markets don’t want to converse with advertisers and smoke sellers. What they want is to participate in the conversations that take place within the companies.


63. Discover what’s behind, unmask the hidden, establish a personal relationship: we are the markets. We want to talk with you.


64. We want to have access to your corporate information, your plans and strategies, your best ideas, and your authentic knowledge. We are not going to settle for your four-color brochures or your website overloaded with attractive images, but content.


65. We are also the workers who make your companies work. We want to talk directly with customers, with our own voice, not with topics written in a script.


66. As markets and as workers, we are fed up with obtaining information by remote control. Why do we need impersonal third-party annual reports and market research to introduce each other?


67. As markets and as workers, we wonder why you don’t listen. You seem to speak another language.


68. The pompous and conceited jargon you use in the press, at conferences… what does it have to do with us?


69. You may be impressing investors. Maybe impressions to Wall Street. But we are not impressed.


70. If you don’t impress us, investors will lose out. Don’t you get it? If they understood, they wouldn’t allow you to speak like that.


71. Your old-fashioned ideas about “the market” don’t get our attention. We do not recognize each other in your plans. Perhaps because we know that we are already in another place.


72. This new market seems much better to us. We are creating it.


73. You’re invited, but it’s our world. Take off your shoes when entering. If you want to do business with us, get off your camel!

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74. We are immune to publicity. Forget it.


75. If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. And make it interesting for a change.


76. We also have some ideas for you: we need new tools, better services. Things for which we would be willing to pay. Do you have a minute?


77. Are you so busy “doing business” that you can’t answer our email? Wow, sorry, we’ll be back later. Maybe


78. Do you want us to pay? We want you to pay attention.


79. We want you to cancel your trip, to come out of your neurotic egocentricity, and join the party.


80. Don’t worry, you can still make money. Of course, as long as that is not the only thing you think.


81. Have you noticed that, by itself, money is superficial and boring? Can’t we talk about something else?


82. Your product failed. Why? We would like to ask the person who made it. Your corporate strategy does not make sense. We’d like to have a chat with your CEO. What is not, you say?


83. We are 50 million people and we want you to take us as seriously as if we were all journalists for The Wall Street Journal.


84. We know some people in your company. They seem disoriented when they move on the internet. Do you have more of those hidden there? Can they go out to play?


85. When we have doubts, we rely on the rest of us to clarify them. If you didn’t exercise such strict control over “your people” they might be among the people we would turn to.


86. When we’re not busy being your “target market,” many of us are your people. We’d rather chat with friends than watch the clock, frankly. And that would contribute to much more being spoken of well about you than your million-dollar website. But you tell us that the marketing department is here to talk.


87. We would like you to understand what is happening here. It would be a detail. But make no mistake, it doesn’t take us away from sleep either.


88. We have more important things to do than worry about whether you will realize in time how you should do business with us. Business is only part of our lives. They seem to be everything in yours. Think carefully: who needs whom?


89. We have real power and we know it. If you can’t see the light, someone else will come that pays us more attention, that is more interesting and fun to play.


90. At worst, our new avenue of conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any TV series, and certainly more realistic than the corporate websites we’ve visited.


91. Our loyalty is to ourselves, our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our adversaries. Companies that have no place in this world have no future either.


92. Companies spent millions of dollars to avoid effect 2000. How can they not hear the ticking of this ticking time bomb that is the market? The stakes are high.


93. We are both inside and outside companies. The dividing line between our talks looks like the Berlin Wall today, but it is only a hindrance. We know it will disappear. We will work on both sides to eliminate it.


94. For traditional companies, online conversations can look and sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, and no rules to hold us back.


95. We are waking up. We establish ties between us. We are watching. But we are not waiting.



The Cluetrain manifesto focuses on communication in general terms of the company, and how this impacts more and more, when within the corporate culture, they do not share or download the information to the participating members of each department, or when they are not based in the opinion or in the thinking of the clients to develop a strategy, but in the “I believe”, “I think” “I perceive”, this means that they are based on what they see from the outside, and not on how the client you really need it.

These reflections allow the brand to analyze what it must do to adapt to each market, each person and ultimately adapt our business units, without assuming, but verifying with the conversation.


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