Ride The Cluetrain To Five Easy Pieces: New Marketing Strategy For A New Digital Market

The Cluetrain Manifesto taught us that even in the digital age marketing is a craft. Old time markets started as a place where people talked about what they cared about – the craft goods on the table between them. As the distance between producer and consumer lengthened, a gap in our business voice and our authentic voice appeared. Marketing became an applied science to engineer responses through calibrated stimuli.

Today the Internet has made markets networked and given a voice back to the consumer. And with that voice brings craft: work by individuals motivated by passion. In response, marketing needs to become a craft. Craftworkers listen design the house to fit with the landscape. By listening, marketers re-learn how to talk and engage customers in their story. What are the ingredients of this new brand story? Five Easy Pieces.

Years after Cluetrain marketing guru Seth Godin gave us five building blocks, “Five Easy Pieces,” that take marketing above the bazillion tactics it has become. It is time to move past the applied mindset of the four “P”s and look at marketing through five elements: Data, Stories, Products (services), Interactions and Connection.

DATA is observational. What do people actually do and want? How do they get to  and “get” your brand?

STORIES define everything you say and do. The product has a myth, the service has a legend.

PRODUCTS/SERVICES are physical manifestations of the story. Push the product to be the story/myth.

INTERACTIONS are all the tactics the marketer uses to touch the consumer. Interactions are everything.

CONNECTION is the end goal. Connection between you and between customers – tribes of the faithful.

Sunzi taught us in The Art of War that strategy was not planning by working through an established list, but rather responding to changing conditions. In the diner scene from Five Easy Pieces, what was the strategy (story) of the diner? Was it built around the customer? If it was, then the waitress’s tactics could have changed to meet the needs of Robert (Jack Nicholson). Robert (Jack) was willing to pay the price of a chicken salad sandwich to get his toast! A customer approach considers value. With instant Internet comparison shopping strategic differentiation now comes from the value a company can provide.

Today Jack gets his side order of toast or he’s Tweeting about it to hundreds of followers. And now there are ten other diners in the same strip mall. You’re also competing for his attention. You need brand stories built around customers that are told in the channels (touchpoints) most likely to reach them. Today you need customer-centric marketing in order to succeed. Get on the Cluetrain and build your brand on Five Easy Pieces or like Robert you’ll be in the fast lane on the road to nowhere.