Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

What’s Wrong With Cluetrain?

January 24th, 2005 by Bob Bly

It?s this?.

By proclaiming that ?markets are conversations,? and that talking with customers is the ultimate marketing methodology, Cluetrain ignores this important truism from Rene Descartes:

?To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say.?

That?s where we direct marketers have it all over the Cluetrain crowd.

We aren?t guided just by what people say they want or will do; we primarily pay attention to what they actually do ? in other words, what they buy.

You can determine what your prospects will buy based on your own test mailing ? or by studying the successful control mailings of your competitors in the same category.

Because those control mailings are working, they tell you the appeals that are causing customers to open their wallets ? those marketing approaches that are making money right now.

Actions speak louder than words, and what people actually buy is infinitely more important than what they say they will buy.

Which do YOU think is a more accurate indicator of what your market wants ? a ?conversation? or a purchase?


This entry was posted on Monday, January 24th, 2005 at 2:09 pm and is filed under Direct Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

98 responses about “What’s Wrong With Cluetrain?”

  1. Michael D. Pollock said:

    Hi Bob. Thanks for stimulating the debate. My first intuition is to question the question itself. Can you tell me why it has to be an either/or issue? Can it be both?

    Would you agree that different people have different ways of buying? Some respond to a direct marketing approach. Some don’t. Some will engage in a conversation of sorts, whether it be via the company via website, a customer service rep, a sales rep, a blog, FAQs, etc. Some will converse with other people about the product. i.e. word of mouth, buzz, referrals, etc.

    Looking forward to your response – Michael

  2. Danny Thompson said:

    There’s no denying that DM is valuable in its ability to quantify which practices are better at converting sales. And yet, one of the core ideas I’ve seen involved in DM is etablishing credibility. I’ve seen it countless times in sales letters I’ve received (like the ones I receive every now and then from AWAI). Hi, I’m [NAME] and I’m [JUST LIKE YOU].

    No, blogging isn’t a very effective sales tool in and of itself. And I’d agree that anyone who says it is going to directly generate sales is…trying to sell you something (likely a book on how “you too can use blogs to add to your bottom line”).

    But that does that inherently mean that they are completely useless as a marketing tool? As a place to interact with customers? A place to ask customers for feedback or offer help, to test concepts, to create a forum for open discussion that generates true, expreiential credibility?

    Markets are conversasions because customers talk. Where is the harm in participating in those conversations–or starting them? It’s more P.R. than sales, true–but P.R. has a place in marketing, too, wouldn’t you say?

  3. Gerold Braun said:

    The clue is, that direct-marketing IS conversation (or should be to be successfull). It doesn’t need cluetrain improvement.
    The cluetrain people say: change your attitude while writing website-copy and e-mails. Write like directmarketers do.

  4. John said:

    Clutrain is quoted – “markets are converstations.” Take this as a rhetorical standpoint, in counterdistinction to “let’s market the hell out of them.” Direct marketing works. I know because my credit card type was once a result of that; my 68 year old neighbour has crap in her living room as a result of it.

    As people become more empowered, they are less influenced by direct persuasion – either the wrods from blogs or from DM. People’s experience counts, and the quality of relationships matter . Direct persuasion / propaganda has always worked, and will continue to; it seems to me it successfully exploits a lack of relational self reliance. Youre right, I think Cluetrain is wrong to signal the dawn of a new era for humankind. People will always like to be told, even geek hippies! New technology is giving a new means for people to empower themselves through relationship if they want.

  5. Jim Logan said:

    While I’m not intimate with Clutrain, I think what your customer purchases is a more accurate indicator of what your market wants. Ultimately, what a customer purchases is the greatest indication of their interest – interest to the compelling point of making a purchase.

    Have you ever had a series of great meetings with a prospect that never resulted in a purchase? We all have.

    Conversations are worthwhile, they provide great insight into markets however, until you ask someone to purchase you never surface true objections or support for your offering.

  6. Susan Getgood said:

    IMO it is most definitely not an either/or proposition. Blogs are a new way of communicating and building community. To the extent that this sort of marketing approach would work for your product or service, you should consider how a blog might fit in with your marketing strategy. NOT replace the other elements that you might use, but supplement it.

    Right now I am working with two very different clients. For one, I believe a blog will be an excellent way to reach out into a community of shared interests and ultimately drive sales. For the other, although I think long-term a blog may be an interesting addition to the marketing mix, right now there are other tactics that will be more productive to get leads. For me, the tactics/tools I use ALWAYS depend on the marketing strategy.

    I have lots and lots on when and why blogs makes sense over at my own blog Marketing Roadmaps, so rather than go on about it here, please feel free to check out the posts there and tell me what you think.

  7. Bruce DeBoer said:

    Cluetrain and thinking like it is one dimensional. Please don’t ignore people like Peter Druker, Michael Porter and others who take a broad view of business strategy integration. Marketing is a conversations is accurate yet remedial.

    Blogs are great for what they do but they are tools like countless other marketing tools. Choose the ones that work best with your business and marketing strategy

    Now … what was the question?

  8. Doc Searls said:

    Which do YOU think is a more accurate indicator of what your market wants – a “conversation” or a purchase?

    That’s a false choice, a misrepresentation of what we wrote in The Cluetrain Manifesto, and a gloss over how direct marketing works. Because with DM you’re not just talking about purchases. You’re talking about the 5 purchases in a hundred (if you’re lucky) that come out of a direct marketing campaign. Those purchases may give a good indication of “what a market wants,” but it also forces 95% of your potential customers to throw away or ignore something they probably didn’t ask for and certainly don’t want.

    Good to read commenters (above) who understand that this isn’t an either/or issue. Also for getting that “markets are conversations” is about the nature of markets, not the techiques of marketing.

    To Bruce DeBoer (comment 7): It’s quite possible that I never would have said “Markets are conversations” if I hadn’t read Peter Drucker, who remains one of my heroes.

    Go read what we wrote.

  9. TonyD said:

    As I filter cluetrain through my own experience, it’s not just about selling, it’s about passionate selling. Cluetrain applied to sales isn’t just about what to sell and how to sell it, it’s about transforming the act of selling.

    Take a look a the Hughtrain. As much as it’s about being effective in advertising, its also about making advertising a business we can stomach being in. I’m willing to bet you see the same thing in DM. The campaigns that are worth pushing aren’t just a carbon copy of what the competition is pushing. It’s not just about campaigns that work, it’s about campaigns that work and kick ass.

  10. Diego from metacool said:

    “Direct Marketing” should really be called “Direct Selling”. Marketing is the process of determining what a person needs and then developing an offering to meet that need. Sales is the process of convincing that person to buy your offering. As such, “Direct Marketing” is a misleading phrase. Hugh’s assertion that markets are about conversations where you learn what people want and show what you can give them… well that sounds like marketing to me.

  11. AdPulp said:
    Marketing Greater Than Or Equal To Selling
    “By proclaiming that ‘markets are conversations,’ and that talking with customers is the ultimate marketing methodology, Cluetrain ignores this important truism from Rene Descartes: ‘To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rat…

  12. Marketing Roadmaps said:
    More PR, Marketing and Blogging links/references
    Ok, gentle readers, I do have a more substantive post on the way about the ongoing debates at Bob Bly’s weblog about direct marketing versus weblogs, and the similarly polemicized blogging versus journalism debate that is happening in various forums

  13. Anonymous said:
  14. Bruce DeBoer said:

    Doc, (ref. 8)
    I saw your comment and went back to reread. My thought: “maybe I missed something”. On second read I could see a depth of influences. There are many good insights. Maybe it was the format but many of those insights were hammered to death.

    Still, overal, the Manifesto reminds me of earlier overly excited web preachers that helped inflate a bubble that got me laid off in 2001, hence my comment about fundamental strategy.

    Marketers often tend to take a slice of that strategy, play with it, fill it with buzz words, create meaningful insights but fail to reintegrate the meaning.

    I maintain that the really bright CEO’s practice what you preaching. Ultimately, it’s easier said than done profitably.

    I’m not afraid to be wrong, what do you think?

    BTW – I like the read though and will recommend it.

  15. Aileen Cassidy said:

    Knowing the history of purchases seems to be a reliable indicator of future purchases. However, I do know one thing is certain: I discard all marketing materials received in my mail without reading them, period. I refuse all telemarketing attempts without exception. There is simply too much of this material clogging up my mailbox and too little peaceful time at hime to have it invaded by strangers. And everyone I kow feels the same way. So how come these methods are so aggressively pursued? Do they really improve sales? I am curious.

  16. acne said:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. You’ve done a terrific work. There should me more people like you writing this type of content! acne

  17. Acne Treatment said:

    lots of great info, thanks for taking the time to share it!

  18. Acne said:

    You should be writing for New York Times, love the style and content, keep up the good work

  19. erectile dysfunction said:

    erectile dysfunction .

  20. jw operating said:

    jw operating

    Of jw operating and more

  21. beach sex movies said:

    beach sex movies

    beach sex movies

  22. don tit said:

    don tit

    ka-ka-sh-ka 3498107 don tit intro

  23. OnlineDrugstore said:

    Online Drugstore Online Drugstore

  24. pornstar crissy said:

    pornstar crissy

    ka-ka-sh-ka 3498107 Modern view of pornstar crissy.

  25. indian hardcore babes said:

    indian hardcore babes

    indian hardcore babes

  26. big cock in tight pussy with lollypop said:

    big cock in tight pussy with lollypop

    big cock in tight pussy with lollypop

  27. old ass black women said:

    old ass black women

    old ass black women

  28. bduocbsody said:

    Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! vrbydinytfkvf

  29. hairy pussy free galleries said:

    hairy pussy free galleries

    hairy pussy free galleries

  30. film trailers and video clips xxx said:

    film trailers and video clips xxx

    film trailers and video clips xxx

  31. RMils said:

    How add your blog to google database?

  32. keyword said:



  33. 3 ffm said:

    3 ffm


  34. Zachary43 said:

    I wanted to thank you for your time.

  35. run 3 said:

    I know that an essay is considered to be a difficult job to do and there are rules that are sure to write an essay good run 3

  36. RoBerti said:

    Everybody hurts sometimes
    Everybody hurts someday,
    But everything gon’ be alright…
    dinosaur game

  37. appvn ios said:

    appvn ios
    appvn app
    minecraft appvn
    appvn 2019
    this apk are pre-hacked so you do not have to do all the things like root access or extracting etc.

  38. Cyberflix TV for Android TV Box said:

    great post!

  39. Nouman Shakeel said:

    Amazing blog. Check

    7 wonders of the world
    top 10 richest coutries in the world

  40. Nouman Shakeel said:

    Amazing blog. Check

    top 10 richest countries in the world
    top 10 poorest countries in the world

  41. Arthur Rodriguez said:

  42. Egypt packages said:

    I’m sure that the last article. It is more interesting and very useful.
    Most of the other compositions have been done to death.

    I would be interested in seeing the flower idea. It might help many people get an idea of how to begin to step outside the “that’s the way we always did it” box.

  43. ???? ??? ???? ??????? said:

    This is a very interesting post! Thanks!

  44. jacob said:

  45. Max said:

  46. sam miller said:

  47. dsdsnosdsd said:

    Holyfield I am proud to be able to join Triller Fight Club as they Evander Holyfield vs Kevin McBride are exactly what our industry needed. They have reimagined the sport of boxing in a very exciting new way.

  48. capigssds said:

    KSW XI they are split, with the tournament final taking place on the next event. KSW XV is the first event without ksw 61 a new tournament, only with extra fights and finals from previous tournaments.

  49. dssmsds said:

    The repatriated salaries of its overseas stars have become Watch All Blacks Fiji rugby online an important part of some local economies.

  50. rafemsds said:

    The competition was postponed to reduce pressure on the public services How to watch Euro championship in affected countries and allow for the completion of domestic leagues that had been suspended.

  51. S M Nahid said:

    Softowa is the Best Android App & Windows Software Download Store.

  52. DownBeach Remodeling said:

    very good
    Countertop Installation Egg Harbor Township NJ

  53. Corwin said:

    Pugs for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale near me,teacup pug,pug for sale,teacup pugs for sale,pug puppy for sale arkansas,pug puppy for sale atlanta,pug puppy for sale adelaide,pug puppy for sale australia,pug puppies for sale alberta,pug puppies for sale austin texas,

  54. robert said:

  55. norsdsdm said:

    U.S. Olympic Team headed to next month’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. That UCI BMX World would make Wolfe the first out transgender athlete to make a U.S. Olympic team.

  56. samirihd said:

    The U.S. Men’s National Rugby Team, The Eagles, will host the USA Versus All Blacks most successful rugby team on the planet, the New Zealand All Blacks.

  57. pilosdsd said:

    The Alabama Crimson Tide football program represents the University of Alabama in the ALA vs MER sport of American football.

  58. Nathan said:

    I agree witt mail) are just one of the many ways we reach out to our audiences to tell them about something — an idea, a product, a service, whatever. And in some fashion encourage/hope they’ll buy it.

    pug puppy | pug puppy for sale | pugs for sale near me | pug puppies for sale under $500 near me | pug puppies for sale under $500 | pug puppies for sale | baby pug | pugs for sale | white pug | pugs for sale | pug for sale | pug breeders near me | black pug puppies | black pug puppies for sale | teacup Pug For Sale | french bulldog puppy|french bulldog for sale|french bulldog puppies for sale|frenchie for sale|french bulldogs for sale | frenchie puppies for sale | frenchies for sale | french bulldog puppy for sale

  59. ABHI PATEL said:

    Nice content writing…thanks for sharing….

    Visit :

  60. Borjan Shoes said:

    Borjan offers its customers the most beautiful rings for women in Pakistan. We have the highest quality women’s rings available. So, peruse Borjan’s amazing collection of rings online to find something that suits you all at affordable prices. Borjan’s rings manage to perfectly implement style and fashion into a small size.

    Borjan offers its customers the best Sports shoes for girls in Pakistan. We have the highest quality ladies Sport shoes for the most affordable prices. So, get Borjans amazing collection of Sports shoes for girls online. Get the best girls Sports shoes from Borjan to keep yourself in both style and comfort at the same time.

    Borjan offers its customers the best Scarves for women Online in Pakistan. We have the highest quality ladies Scarves for the most affordable prices. So, get Borjans amazing collection of Scarves online in Pakistan today. Get the best womens Scarves from Borjan to keep yourself in both style and comfort at the same time.

  61. himanshu sharma said:

    check this hot girl

  62. vivek sharmat said:

    thank you for looking here.

  63. Melissa Vonetre said:

    Visit for ftx pro referral. Getting ftx pro referral for crypto exchange is easy there. Discount codes and offers are free and you may take advantages of all daily codes, referrals, coupons and promo codes.
    Check out ftx pro referral code. There are ftx pro referral code for crypto exchange. You may save with using those discount codes, coupons, promo codes and referral codes. Take advantages of daily codes, ids and coupons!

  64. Real Estate Agent In Long Island said:

    Our experienced team is considered one of the best in the real estate market. We assist you in selling your houses at the best rates. You can list your Houses for Sale in Long Island on our website. We offer rental services as well so you can rent your beautiful homes. Here are a few tips to help how one can sell their home.

  65. PSW said:

    Striping is integral on roads and parking spaces. Line striping gives a clear sense of direction to the drivers in following the traffic rules on the roads and highways. In the parking areas, the thermoplastic striping Houston helps manage the space properly and directs the inflow and outflow of the traffic.

  66. TheCareer-Coach said:

    executive coaching jobs you’ve just stepped foot into the job market or have been working for some time, the Jobseeker plan is tailor-made to help you find your dream job. With the jobseeker coaching plan, you can join thousands of other successful clients to land your first job or land a new job you’ll love.

  67. leonardcooper said:

    stationery design have got everything for you. Our experts are super qualified and innovative who will individualize your brand with their unique designs. They will develop catch taglines, colorful themes, and banners for your brand.

  68. pwpic said:

    pakistani photographers weddings will surely be one of the most memorable moments of your adult life. You can’t rely on your memories alone. On your wedding day, you’ll mostly have your eyes on your significant other, or see things from your seat.

  69. Customized Jersey said:

    Product arrive fast and I am satisfied with Customized Basketball Jersey.

  70. tani seks telefon said:

    thank you for sharing.

  71. Alexpeter said:

    Our career coaches have decades of experience and have taken thousands of interviews across different industries – so you’ll be in AMAZINGGG hands for your Interview Tips

  72. Shanewotson said:

    Thermoplastic striping houston helps manage the space properly and directs the inflow and outflow of the traffic.

  73. Hazel James said:

    Affordable Custom Website Design Dublin that offers a complete digital solution in taking your business online. Our Award Winning Agency not only devises strategies for your brand, but we own it like our own. We are the best web design agency in Dublin & Web designers in Dublin Ireland.

  74. Flormar said:

    Buy the best best compact powder in Pakistan for girls at a reasonable price at

  75. RobertHalf said:

    Marketing collateral desgin services were previously limited to brochures only but not anymore. As the marketing channels have increased so marketing collaterals have also taken a new form as blog posts, case studies, newsletter, email marketing, press releases, white paper, product guide or catalogue etc.

  76. Rivaj UK said:

    Rivaj offers stunning cosmetics accessories and related products like the best mascara in Pakistan So, grab their long lasting, high impact, black dense mascara products today. Their waterproof mascara items are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction. Rivaj offers the best mascara to their customers every day.

  77. Rios Cosmetics said:

    Rios is a multi brand store providing amazing blush on and blusher kit. Their collection of blush on products is perfect and is just what you need. Grab your favorite products online in all over Pakistan.

  78. Servis Shoes said: is a leading online store that provides trendy and stylish Sneakers for women, men, and kids at affordable prices. Buy online Sneakers for women, Sandals, Chappals, Casual Wear Shoes, Heels, and Pump Shoes in different sizes at a reasonable Price from Servis Pk. We can deliver in all Metro cities across Pakistan, like Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad.

  79. Sifa pk said:

    Sifa offers an amazing collection of ladies ready to wear dresses for girls and women. Grab your favorite ready to wear dress online in all over pakistan at reasonable prices with fast delivery.

  80. shaypari said:

    advance fitness by Bilal Brothers, established in 1979, is the leader in exercise, fitness, gymnasium and indoor sport equipment all over Pakistan. We work only with the world’s top brands and are proud to serve our customers with top-notch after sales service.

  81. bertgil said:

    Best Shisha in Ireland offers you a wide range of shisha with flavourful drinks to go with it. Bring in your friends and family and enjoy the secluded atmosphere we offer you. We are offering amazing deals on drinks and shisha combos throughout the week.

  82. ash12 said:

    Affordable Flights from FlightsnTravel provide the best flights to their costumer to travel around the globe with their love one, once in a Blue Moon.

  83. Oxeltech said:

    Electronic design services involve the process of designing and developing electronic devices or systems, such as circuit boards, microprocessors, and other Electronic design services. These services are typically offered by companies that specialize in electronic engineering and design.

  84. cavpshost said:

    We provide a service called cheap windows vps remote desktop which enables users to remotely access and manage a computer or other device from any location at any time. Service providers provide safe, dependable, and user-friendly remote access to computers and other devices.

  85. iHost VPS said:

    Dedicated web hosting refers to hosting your website or online presence on a dedicated server. It provides complete control, enhanced security, and improved performance, ensuring a seamless experience for your visitors.

  86. Gabe Freeman said:

    Interesting take on this!

  87. BabyBoxShop said:

    Discover the perfect baby gift set that combines practicality with style. Our carefully curated sets include a variety of essential items, such as clothing, bibs, blankets, and more. Thoughtfully arranged and beautifully packaged, these gift sets make for a memorable and convenient choice for both the gifter and the new parents.

  88. Vallee Real Estate said:

    Discover lucrative investment opportunities with our selection of office buildings for sale. Whether you’re an investor or business owner, our listings offer premium options for your needs.Find the perfect commercial property to meet your business needs and investment goals. Start your search for prime office spaces today!

  89. Vallee Real Estate said:

    Land assembly Vancouver refers to the process of acquiring multiple adjacent parcels of land with the goal of combining them into a larger, consolidated property. This practice is particularly common in Vancouver due to the city’s limited available land for development and the increasing demand for housing and commercial space.

  90. Vallee Real Estate said:

    Our Burnaby realtors have a deep understanding of the local market. Whether you’re buying or selling property in Burnaby, our dedicated Realtors are here to assist you. Explore our listings and experience the best in Burnaby real estate with us.

  91. Criminal Modz said:

    Immerse yourself in GTA with a Gta Modded Account. Enjoy unique in-game content, tailored customizations, and powerful assets. Rule the streets of Los Santos with newfound prowess and an exceptional gaming experience.

  92. BSNS Consulting said:

    Business Consultancy and Services. Our team is committed to enhancing your company’s revenue and efficiency through comprehensive advisory, strategic planning, and process optimization. Whether you need help with market entry strategies or performance improvement, we’ve got you covered with end-to-end solutions.

  93. TipTop Enrichtung said:

    Friseur Rezeption is a hair salon reception desk. This is the area where clients are welcomed, appointments are managed, and salon services are scheduled. It’s an important part of any hair salon’s front office.

  94. Ginkgo Retail said:

    Ginkgo Retail stands as an innovative domain, illuminating the pathway to streamlined and efficient ecommerce order management process. This platform serves as a beacon of innovation, offering businesses a systematic and intuitive approach to handle their order workflows. With a user-centric interface and meticulously designed features, Ginkgo Retail facilitates seamless orchestration and optimization of the entire order management process. Its sophisticated design ensures a smooth and efficient process flow, empowering businesses to navigate complexities effortlessly. Ginkgo Retail epitomizes reliability and efficacy, providing a robust foundation for businesses to thrive in the dynamic landscape of digital commerce.

  95. TipTop Enrichtung said:

    A barberstuhl is a specialized chair used in barbershops. It is designed to provide comfort to male clients and facilitate optimal working posture for the barber.hese chairs often have a classic design and can be antique or retro-styled.

  96. TipTop Enrichtung said:

    The Friseur bedienungsplatz is the space where the hairdresser provides their services to the client. This area often includes the client’s chair, mirror, and all necessary tools.

  97. Electric Bug Zapper said:

    To decide if the bug zapper is right for your space, consider its coverage area. Higher coverage capacity zappers are needed for larger regions.

  98. Grocery Store said:

    When it comes to the best online grocery store in Pakistan, quality, variety, and customer service are paramount. Explore options that offer a wide range of products, including fresh produce, pantry staples, and specialty items. Read customer reviews to gauge the reputation and reliability of the online grocery store.

Leave a Reply