First, there was Use Web 2.0 Tools to Drive Loyalty from iMedia Connection. Author Joe Lichtenberg contends that "Customer engagement drives loyalty, and effective (and judicious) use of Web 2.0 drives customer engagement. Marketers that embrace these technologies and integrate the new brand/customer dynamic into their strategies will engender the loyalty of the customers." How? He recommends that marketers reward their best customers with valuable information (something I've said before) and use Web 2.0 tools to drive customer community participation.
Next, MarketingVOX reported that Web 2.0 Websites Account for 12% of U.S. Web Traffic. The article notes that Wikipedia has already become the dominant reference website -- outdrawing Encarta by a 3400 to 1 ratio -- and quotes Bill Tancer of Hitwise as saying, ""It's the participatory aspect of Web 2.0 that is still in a very nascent stage. When online participation goes mainstream, we can expect an explosion of new content on the web."
Third, I got an email from Shawn Henry of the Britopian Marketing Blog, a highly engaging blog devoted to SEO, social media optimization and online marketing. Among Shawn's posts was a link to an interesting SEO'Brien piece on paid Digg-ing and the black market for the unscrupulous use of social tagging.
Finally, the speaker at a recent SEO seminar quoted one of the think tanks (sorry, couldn't find the original source for this) as stating that by 2010, half of all the content on the internet will be consumer-generated. She probably should have added: "Or at least you'll be led to believe that."
Savvy marketers will explore and refine ways to use Web 2.0 tools and social tagging to effectively promote products and services without "brochure-speak." Marketers are as hungry as dinosaurs but much smarter. Web 2.0 will drive the evolution of marketing, but not its extinction.
Terms: Web 2.0 tools, social bookmarking, customer loyalty, Wikipedia, consumer-generated content
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