Introduction to Marketing … Lessons 101 for Social Commerce

If you follow people like Robert Scoble and Seth Godin, etc., you know that we’re living in the era of “social business.” I read The Cluetrain Manifesto seven years ago, though it was released over a decade ago. One of the central ideas in the book is this: markets are conversations, and conversations build social commerce. It contains a great introduction to marketing lessons 101.

marketing lessons 101
Marketing lessons 101.


The networked markets know more than companies do about their products, and whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

The Cluetrain Manifesto


Even in this day and age many companies still do not comprehend this concept (even if their employees sometimes do).


With these lessons and a little bit of experience, you can achieve more marketing success than you ever imagined, even on the tightest budget.


What Cluetrain was talking about were changes in current company-to-consumer interactions, though their emphasis was on how technology and the web, among other things, were changing this interaction in a radical way. What these authors were saying, at its heart, is that communication matters and that the way we think about organization-to-customer communication needs to change.

Introduction to marketing … it’s all communication

Web sites, intranets, message boards, email blasts, blogs, developer conferences, and marketing presentations — it’s about communicating. It all matters. Whether it’s a blog, an e-newsletter, or a conversation with a customer, what communities and customers yearn for from organizations is authenticity and transparency, simplicity, and a real human, emotion-without-the-BS approach to communicating. A real conversation…for a change.


The Cluetrain tenets — the “95 tenets” at the beginning of the book — speak largely to wired communications. But it’s all communication. While the “Thesis” may not have been written with marketing or social commerce totally in mind, many of the items fit nearly perfectly and can serve as good advice or reminders for how we need to connect and engage with our communities today. Below are ten items (in bold) I took from the list of “95 Theses” in the Cluetrain (my comments follow), that represent great tips for social commerce marketing:

Your Markets

Markets are conversations, not abstractions, and so are our customers. They’re people worthy of our full attention and respect. If businesses and employees can remember that it’s about customers and not about the business … they will be on the right path.


“Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.”
–  Seth Godin


marketing strategy 101
Marketing strategy 101.

Introduction to marketing notes … your Customers

Customers are human beings … NOT demographic segments.


Be Part of the Community

To share the concerns of the community, companies must belong to the community.


Share Your Knowledge and Enthusiasm

Share what you know in your conversations … no strings attached. Make things interesting for your customers. Pay attention when customers speak and remember things that are said for their next visit. You will be amazed at how fast customer relationships will grow.


In his bestselling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell provided an explanation for viral hits like the Reese’s Pieces meme.  A special class of rare people, he reasoned, can give a spark to an idea due to the influence they have on the rest of us.  He called his “Law of the Few,” which he formulated as:


The success of any social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.


These gifts, Gladwell explained, came in three distinct flavors: “Connectors” are social butterflies, traveling between diverse groups of people and seeding ideas. “Mavens” become a trusted resource for collecting knowledge and sharing it freely and “salesmen” have almost magical powers of persuasion.


We don’t need to tap into mysterious powers of influence to make an idea spread.  In reality, what’s essential is a good story and a density of social relationships.


Introduction to marketing book … New Social Organizations

your markets
Your markets.

Networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social knowledge exchange to occur. Are you participating?


Customer Sources of Information

People have learned that they receive far better information from one another than from anywhere else. Word of mouth marketing campaigns should be your top priorities. Do you know which of your customers are your best influencers?


Marketing lessons 101 … No Secrets

There are NO secrets in the internet society. Whether the news is good or bad about business, customers will tell everybody.


Lighten Up

Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously … develop a personality with a sense of humor. A genuine sense of humor requires humility, straight talk, and big values. The best employees take their role and their customer very seriously…but they do not take themselves too seriously. They are relaxed…they have nothing to hide. At that moment, nothing could be better than sharing time with your customer, and he/she feels that.


The Internet versus Mass Media 

The internet is enabling conversations among people that were simply not possible in the era of mass media. The message … it is not adequate to simply have a website or be on Facebook. You must find ways to have conversations.


Customers Have the Real Power

When companies don’t grasp this fact, customers easily turn to other companies that will be more attentive. Have you noticed the changes occurring in customer loyalty lately?


The bottom line


In summary, remember that people communicate with people … not brands or businesses. It’s all about social communications and relationship building.


Marketer’s like to repeat the quote, “I know I waste half of my ad budget, I just don’t know which half.”  No one knows who first said it—it’s been attributed to some people—but the fact that it gets repeated so often is a testament to how strongly it resonates.


Malcolm Gladwell is probably the person most responsible for the massive interest in influencer marketing.  It was he who, in his blockbuster book, The Tipping Point, laid out his now famous “Law of the Few,” which he stated as:


The success of any social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.


It’s important to make the distinction between a digital strategy that involves social platforms and a true social strategy.  For a social strategy to succeed, simply joining the conversation is not enough.  You must lead it.



Do you have any social commerce stories to share?


Need some help in capturing more customers from your marketing strategies? Creative ideas to help the differentiation with potential customers?




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Do you have a lesson about making your marketing strategy better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?


Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics that relate to improving the performance of business. Go to Amazon to obtain a copy of his latest book, Exploring New Age Marketing. It focuses on using the best examples to teach marketing … lots to learn.


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


More reading on marketing strategy from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

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How to Get Small Business Press Coverage

Secrets to BMW Marketing Videos … Effective Campaign?


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Introduction to Marketing … Lessons 101 for Social Commerce