This post is part of a 95 post series discussing the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto as they relate to business in 2009. Read more about the series in the introduction post. And check out the rest of the series!
Thesis #11: People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
Imagine walking through the aisles of your local Walmart with a shopping list. You know with a certain degree of confidence that you’re going to be able to grab each item on your shopping list, and the more generic the contents of your list are, the better your chances of leaving with 100% of what you came for. Walmart, and other mass market vendors, have mastered this model by carrying not just one, but many of the same commoditized product.
To the undiscerning eyes (or the carefree shopper), soap is soap. Socks are socks. Televisions are televisions. So long as they do the same thing, the sale goes to the lowest bidder.
Walmart is the intermediary, and doesn’t care who the lowest bidder is because they make a margin on it either way.
But people have fundamentally changed, and they are more than just value conscious.
The carefree shopper cares more now than ever before, because they are more informed. It’s an interesting set of cause and effect, too.
Companies are too busy selling a line of marketing drivel, so in true “Boy who cried Wolf” fashion, every bit of messaging companies sent out is assumed to be marketing drivel.
Now consumers have networked markets. They have each other to find which soap leaves their skin the softest, which socks keep their feet the warmest, and which television the big game will look best on.
And they trust each other WAY more than they trust your marketing department.