November 23, 2006

the hughtain mark two



1. The market for something to believe in is infinite.

We are here to find meaning. We are here to help other people do the same. Everything else is secondary. We humans want to believe in our own species. And we want people, companies and products in our lives that make it easier to do so. That is human nature.

2. The most important word in marketing is “complicity”.

It's not enough for the customer to love your product. They have to love your process as well.

3. Your customers are becoming smarter about your market a lot faster than you are.

Thanks to the internet, your customers are able to talk to each other. They are able to find better information about your product than you are able of willing to give them, much quicker than you are capable of giving them. The conversation will happen with or without you, you’re better off joining in.

4. The primary job of an advertiser is not to communicate benefit, but to communicate conviction.

It’s not about what you have; it’s about why it matters.

5. A company's primary role is to function as an "idea amplifier".

A company's primary role is not to make or do stuff. Making and doing are mere subsets.

6. The future of advertising is internal.

The hardest part of a CEO's job is sharing his enthusiasm with his colleagues, especially when a lot of them are making one-fiftieth of what he is. Selling the company to the general public is a piece of cake compared to selling it to the actual people who work for it.

7. Your job is no longer about selling. Your job is about firing off as many synapses in your customer's brain as possible.

The more synapses that are fired off, the more dopamines are released. Dopamines are seriously addictive. The more dopamines you release, the more the customer will come back for more. Your customer thinks he is coming back to you for sane, rational, value-driven reasons. He is wrong. He is coming back to feed.

8. Good-bye, Messages. Hello, Social Gesture.

A well-executed marketing campaign is an act of love.

9. Control the conversation by improving the conversation.

Choosing to have a “smarter conversation” with the market is not a marketing decision; it’s a moral decision.

10. The more porous the membrane that separates your business from your market, the easier it is for both parties to be in alignment. And the more porous the membrane, the easier it is to fix non-alignment.

I mentioned recently that The Hughtrain was in dire need of a re-write.

So what did I do? Basically, I made it shorter. A LOT shorter. 418 vs. 4,500 words. In this regard, I was partially inspired by John Dodd's most excellent J-Train Manifesto [438 words].

The power of brevity etc.

[PS: Thanks to John for the impetus.]

[Speaking of manifestos: Two years on, my "How To Be Creative" still remains the most downloaded manifesto on You can also read the original online version here etc].

Posted by hugh macleod at November 23, 2006 4:41 PM | TrackBack

Bravo Hugh! Less is definitely more.

I'm particularly intrigued by the way the moral dimension has been creeping into your ideas.

As for internal "advertising" I agree entirely - I think it's the most powerful way to ensure that the experince that an organisation delivers is satisfying for all constituencies. Coincidentally, I just came across a method of doing this which I know will appeal to you on a number of levels. I hope to blog about it very soon if I get permission to reproduce it..

Posted by: John Dodds at November 23, 2006 5:56 PM

P.S. It strikes me that this proves how different blogging is from mainstream business as from now on we shall all be trying to claim that "mine's shorter than yours"!

Posted by: John Dodds at November 23, 2006 6:03 PM

You are lucky you didn't get one of his bloody difficult questions!

Both minifestos are great. Superb. Succinct. Just what we attention span challenged gits need!

Many thanks to you both!

Posted by: Robert at November 23, 2006 6:13 PM

From the Hughtrain Mk.II, point no. 3:

...better information about your product than you are able of willing to give them, ....
(emphasis mine)

Is that 'of' or is it 'or'? Kinda reads like it should be 'or', methinks...

Oh and BTW awesome rewrite :)

Posted by: Lemi4 at November 24, 2006 2:42 AM

Great effort!. I love this kind of stuff available in the internet . But please avoid typos ;) Its Hughtrain I suppose not HughTAIN!

Posted by: Prasanna at November 24, 2006 3:13 AM


Posted by: Sheamus at November 24, 2006 9:12 AM

The wiser we become, the more we can edit down, the more effective the outcome. Your manifesto is not only very well written to resonate, it is also a gift to the reader. It is easy on the eye.

Maybe I can teach this Italian (me) to hone her writing so her love of well executed marketing and communications work shines through.

Thank you. Grazie.

Posted by: Valeria Maltoni at November 30, 2006 9:48 PM

Great re-write Hugh! Funny enough I remember how it was "The Hughtrain" and "How to be creative" that got my eyes up for you and now, imho, they are nothing compared to your blogging. Funny thing that.

André Hedetoft
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Posted by: André Hedetoft at December 9, 2006 1:00 PM

Bravo Hugh! Less is definitely more. I disagree go to

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