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Marketing managers are venturing into Web 2.0. They still have some rules to follow, but there is a lot of room for experimentation. Web 2.0 is the set of tools that allows people to build social and business connections, share information, and collaborate on projects online. From blogs to wikis, social networking sites to online communities to virtual worlds, companies are playing in some innovative spaces.

To be successful in Web 2.0, the focus must be on getting the customer involved and interacting. Some ways to do so include introducing a conversation about product development, asking for feedback, or offering customer service. An online community encourages users to interact not just with the company but with one another. Customers can talk about their lifestyles, upload photos, talk about gift ideas, and offer opinions.

Companies should offer incentives to customers to encourage them to participate. For many customers, the draw of an online community may be sufficient, because those communities enable them to share their opinions and ideas with others who have similar interests. Other incentives could feature rewards. In addition, though companies need to be careful when trying to market in the Web 2.0 environment, a moderator can help prevent chaos. The biggest incentive for customers often can be a segue into an interesting conversation, and a moderator can be good at creating those opportunities.

Marketers should venture into the world at large, not just their created environments. They can find conversations that might benefit the company from a learning point of view, offer customer service opportunities, or uncover product advocates. By watching Digg and Del.icio.us., for example, marketers can discover what is popular and what consumers are talking about. They even might find brand ambassadors in these arenas.

Finally, marketers need to understand their role in the Web 2.0. They require good social networking skills, blogging skills, and an ability to share knowledge from outside the company with those inside. It is important to bring the Web 2.0 experience into the company to create better products and a better experience.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some success factors for marketers in the Web 2.0 environment?
  2. What has the blog on http://www.nubry.com done for the startup retailer, http://www.GRETCHY.com

Salvatore Parise, Patricia Guinan, and Bruce Weinberg, “The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World,” The Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2009.

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