Tomorrow Has Come.

Tomorrow Has Come.

When The Cluetrain Manifesto was published in 1999, it smacked of silly futurism, like Maxwell Smart’s shoe-phone and Dick Tracey’s TV-wristwatch.

Both of which are now possible.

Likewise, the societal shift predicted by The Cluetrain is already happening. Can you feel it?

Here’s a look at a few of the 95 Theses of The Cluetrain Manifesto. These statements were laughed at when they first appeared 8 years ago, but no one's laughing anymore:

1. Markets are conversations.

Are your ads a conversation with your customer, or are they a pompous lecture?

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.

Are you marketing to people with names and faces and favorite places, or are you marketing to a “target”?

3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.

Are your ads written the way people talk, or the way ads talk?

4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.

Would the public describe your ads as “open, natural and uncontrived”?

15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business – the sound of mission statements and brochures – will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.

Wow. That's already happening. You've noticed it, haven't you?

22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.

What are your values? Do you admit your mistakes? Do you talk straight, or go sideways? Are you willing to say what you really think?

23. Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.

I've said it often: “Most ads aren't written to persuade. They're written not to offend.” Do you have the courage to take a position and suffer the wrath of those who disagree? Will you choose who to lose?

24. Bombastic boasts – “We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ” – do not constitute a position.

In my 1998 book, The Wizard of Ads, the fourth of my Twelve Most Common Mistakes in Advertising (chapter 35) was: “Unsubstantiated Claims. Advertisers often claim to have what the customer wants, such as 'highest quality at the lowest price,' but fail to offer any evidence. An unsubstantiated claim is nothing more than a cliché the prospect is tired of hearing. You must prove what you say in every ad. Do your ads give the prospect new information? Do they provide a new perspective? If not, be prepared to be disappointed with the results.”

Is your business in step with the fast-coming future?

2007 is winding to a close. We’re only Thanksgiving and Christmas away from a sparkling New Year’s Day.

Then, Bang! 2008.

You need to be in Austin December 12-14 if you want to make 2008 the best year your business has ever had.

The internet has become our phone book, dictionary, encyclopedia, sales brochure, research vehicle and back fence for gossip. Like it or not, you're going to have to do a better job online if you want to flex your muscles in 2008.

Come. We’ll give you exactly the tools you need. In just 3 days you’ll learn the new rules of communication and we’ll demonstrate specific techniques that will allow you to apply these new rules to your own situation.

It’s an event that happens only once a year. It'll be Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg and me and a bunch of nuts and bolts. You coming?

Roy H. Williams