Website design By BotEap.comThere are plenty of great business books out there, and I was recently fortunate enough to rediscover The Cluetrain Manifesto (Rick Levine et al). Here are some things I took from the book.

Website design By BotEap.comIt is not your fault that you have lost your authentic voice. After all, marketing used to be about merchants meeting, talking, and sharing their products and stories, and the distance between them was no more than the reach of a handshake.

Website design By BotEap.comBut over time, the distance between businesses and consumers has widened, as has the distance between our "business" voice and our "original" voice.

Website design By BotEap.comThe ship.

Website design By BotEap.comCertainly, sharing one’s products has evolved from those days of handshaking in a crowded marketplace, becoming the "craft" now we call marketing. But to truly be a trade, we must understand how the old methods can merge with the new, and how we can turn today’s virtual cyber handshake into an authentic connection with our consumers.

Website design By BotEap.comThe Gulf.

Website design By BotEap.comTo do that, we must take a close and honest look at the wide chasm between the merchant (business owner) and the consumer, and the vehicle we have chosen to navigate between the two. That vehicle is expectation, but expectation is driven by perception, and what we hoped to achieve (narrow the gap) has actually widened it. 68% of the people surveyed left a product or service for "perceived indifference". That boat that floats between the retailer and the consumer is bound to sink if the consumer thinks he doesn’t care.

Website design By BotEap.comThe walls.

Website design By BotEap.comCommunication is rarely one to one. has become "them" Y "us", being them the consumer and us the distributors. Consumers have become something to be overcome and even conquered. We have built walls that we call corporations, filling rooms with every electronic toy imaginable. Outside, the world is dangerous. The competition lurks. As king or queen of our empire, we take the throne with an air of importance and power. Each of our subjects has a role. Our objetive? To take charge. To conquer. But for an authentic voice to emerge, the walls must come down.

Website design By BotEap.comThe Web.

Website design By BotEap.comThe web has become our drawbridge, connecting us with "them". But our hierarchy isn’t complete without hyperlinks—you know, those tangled webs that stretch throughout our domain. The hyperlinks crisscross the entire map. Chaos needs order, right? It is the human way:

Website design By* Mix it up and then fix it up.

Website design By* Categorize it.

Website design By BotEap.comIt is our nature. Man is categorized as an animal, but classified as "intelligent". This "hyperlink" to a specific category is what we do. Through symbolism, we link things together so that they can represent more than one thing. It’s great, really, but sadly a lot of that symbolism and classification is made up of fear.

Website design By BotEap.comThe fear.

Website design By BotEap.comWe fear failure. We are afraid of making a mistake. We fear losing control. We fear losing face. We fear success. It’s all part of what I call "inner-fear-ance"and it can be debilitating. As a result of that fear, we get hooked on the Internet which takes the "human" out of the equation, and while the internet allows us to connect with everyone on a whole new level, we have dehumanized the process. We never have to meet, we never have to have a real conversation. We can finally fly high cybernetically and hide in the iClouds of uncertainty, right?

Website design By BotEap.comWrong. The Internet is actually our chance to win back what we’ve lost: a conversation with our potential buyers. The Web has taken on a character of its own, like the Wizard of Oz, if you will, or the Great Wizard Without Borders. And the focus is no longer so much about getting the "until" in our competition, as it is about linking us and our target market so that a conversation can take place.

Website design By BotEap.comThe voice.

Website design By BotEap.comA professional voice is not natural. Since email communication is a key marketing link, a conversational tone is key, as is the return of the art of storytelling. Information is rampant, but what people crave is actionable information. What’s more, they want actionable information that comes through an emotionally felt and well-told story.

Website design By BotEap.comThe history.

Website design By BotEap.comKey elements of business storytelling include:

Website design By BotEap.com1. Kill the icebreaker prank. Chances are someone out there won’t find it funny. Instead, let your target market know that you want to tell them a life-changing story.

Website design By BotEap.com2. Invite others to tell their stories.

Website design By BotEap.com3. Understand that each encounter is its own story.

Website design By BotEap.com4. Appreciate that each piece of information can be turned into a story.

Website design By BotEap.com5. Recognize that every business has a story within a story. Each and every person there has a story. Collect them and share them!

Website design By BotEap.com6. Believing that every good storyteller deserves a reward. For many, the reward is in sharing his stories.

Website design By BotEap.com7. The need to review and then rewrite your mission statement as a story.

Website design By BotEap.com8. Realize that making a mistake is okay. Talk about it. Connect as a result of it. Make the mistake work for you, not against you.

Website design By BotEap.comThe process.

Website design By BotEap.comIn conclusion:

Website design By* Let your customer see how your process works.

Website design By* That the Internet is what it was designed to be: connection through the exchange of stories.

Website design By* Do not answer questions; answer the fear behind the questions.

Website design By* Recognize that the business of business is being part of a world that people (your neighbors, your friends, your family, your community, etc.) want to be a part of.

Website design By* Recognize that our "assignment" It’s not about distribution, it’s about "make available" our product or services.

Website design By* Be a blog hog. Spread the word through stories.

Website design By* Become a better listener.

Website design By* Change the way you see things (Example: Is an Erector Set a toy? Or a tool to unlock the imagination?)

Website design By* Break down the walls that block you from your intended markets and connect with them in a new and more effective way.

Website design By BotEap.comMarketing is not the designated driver. Marketing is the beer; the conversation; the connection. By the way, did I tell you the story about the beer and the glass boot? It all started with a misunderstanding. (Go ahead and finish the story. Then tell one of your own.)

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