Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006 trend: capitalizing on customer insights

It is the right time of the year to take a look back at what we thought were going to be the trends for this ending year. McKinsey is doing it in a number of areas -- read Ten trends to watch in 2006 for all of it -- but one of them caught my attention as we discussed it many times in Marketing 2.0 -- check User Generated Content label and on Marketing 2.0.

Capitalizing on customer insights is probably the one dimension that gave Marketing in the web 2.0 era, a.k.a. Marketing 2.0, a clear paradigm shift. Read McKinsey Capitalizing on customer insights article about it. As McKinsey points out, we need to embed customer insights in the organization's key decisions from sales planning to marketing investment. It cannot remain anymore an isolated research belonging to a specific division within our marketing department.

When considering on-line marketing and customer engagement, it even becomes a real-time discipline. Yes, Marketing 2.0 is to be managed real-time, leading to a real-time business adaptation. No need here to even remind you about these newly created companies betting their full business model on this user generated content (Flickr, YouTube, ...).

Capitalizing on customer insights is no longer "nice to have" but clearly moved in the "must have" category for all of our businesses.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Integrate an end-to-end viral marketing to your Marketing 2.0 plan

Viral Marketing is an integral part of Marketing 2.0. Thus agencies are starting to exploit the lack of integrated tools and strategies for you to have a full viral marketing set of tactics embedded in your campaigns. Here are some of the available ones I noticed:
Some marketers have a tendency to think that viral marketing is just about creating an e-mail buzz or post a funny video on YouTube. DON'T! Viral marketing is more than just one isolated tactic or a trendy gimmick to sparkle on your existing plan. It is an entire dimension to your on-going marketing strategy.

The difficult part of it is to address influencers as a demographic target. In fact influencers usually aren't. As Regis McKenna coined it many years ago, in his famous book The Regis Touch - 1985, influencers include all individuals between the vendor and its prospect impacting the decision to buy. And as Regis stated 20 years ago: 90% of the world is influenced by the other 10%. The good news in the Web 2.0 era, is that we now have means to identify and enroll influencers over the web. Some call it building communities - read Isabel's post about it as an example.

Whatever it takes don't miss it: integrate end-to-end viral marketing to your Marketing 2.0 plan. Make sure you identify end engage over time influencers to maximize Marketing ROI, especially if you're dealing in B2B Marketing. Don't forget to let them talk and listen.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Marketing 2.0 is real-time: Google after the $20 billion US radio advertising

It's now effective, last Thursday Google began limited test of radio advertising. The system resulting from Google's earlier acquisition of dMarc Broadcasting (Jan 2006), extends the AdWord platform with the ability for advertisers to create and manage radio advertising campaigns as an additional channel to their web campaigns. Sounds like integrated marketing made easy.

Google covers 800+ radio stations in the US targeting 5,000+, 87% US territory coverage, 19 of the top 25 markets and reports 300 Million impressions weekly.

It operates in 4 steps - read more in Donna Bogatin's blog from ZDNet:

"Step 1) Station inventory management system and studio log.
Step 2) Google links electronically with stations to search for inventory that fits advertiser criteria.
Step 3) Inventory is paired with advertiser requests.
Step 4) Google delivers automated order to radio station and reserves inventory."

Check out AdWords Help Center for some more.

My immediate reaction is to relate to integrated marketing of course, thinking that over time we'll have a choice of web based platform to pilot our integrated marketing campaign in real-time.

When you combine this idea with local search marketing, GPS rapid growth and mobile phone as marketing devices, we're getting closer to 1:1 marketing for the masses - remember Minority Report's changing billboards ads?

And finally, it looks like real-time advertising campaign measurement and adaptation is making its way beyond web advertising to encompass radio and I'm pretty sure TV in a short while.

Marketing 2.0 is all about integrated and measured marketing with the ability for a brand to react real-time to its audience behaviors. No longer can we have weekly or monthly meetings with our media planning agencies to figure out what to do next. Marketing 2.0 is real-time.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

O3Spaces: open source SharePoint for OpenOffice

The open source world is about to welcome a competitor to SharePoint from Microsoft. In 2007, O3Spaces from the Netherlands will release its open source version of its integrated collaboration and document management application for workgroups and small businesses that use or its commercial sibling StarOffice. It is already available in its professional version, you can take a look at this quick tour to figure it out, and read a Sharepoint feature comparison here.

It is important as SharePoint is central to Microsoft Office 2007 launch. People Ready is all about collaboration and probably the most compelling reason to upgrade your office suite software. Web 2.0 drives this collaboration attitude, motivating all individuals to do it easily over the network and from very different devices, including our cell phones.

Let's not forget that desktop productivity software is also making its early steps in the Software as a Service (Saas) world. Just keep in mind what Google is doing with Writely and its online spreadsheet service, offering native web collaboration, all for free!

2007 will definitely be a very interesting time for the office suite market and probably give us some indications on whether customers are keen to stay only with the old licensing model or move partly to the open source model or the Saas one.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ZoomClouds: tags cloud on your blog easy

As the blogger platform doesn't offer by default the ability to create tags cloud, I was looking for a simple way to just insert one from a third party. I like tags cloud a lot, it gives you in an eye blink a feel for what a blog is about.

I'm now using ZoomClouds for several days and it seems to work just fine. Go ahead a create one, it'll provide some additional metrics about what topics your blog readers take a look at. On top of it, it generates automatically tags for you on top of the labels you have created.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Is Microsoft 2.0 on the rise?

Most of us do remember the last major Microsoft transformation around the Internet in 1996, don't you? At the announcement for its new BBS, Microsoft Network (MSN) Bill Gates declared about the Internet something as "it's just a fad". After Windows 95 launch, Microsoft was quickly reorganized in 1996 and did let appear an Internet division -- read the detailed story here. The rest is history: Netscape became an industry icon for museums despite being once the web browser gorilla.

As challenging times are back again with the rise of Web 2.0, especially around:

  • rich on-line user interfaces
  • applications directly cooperating via the network (i.e. SOA and mashups)
  • the Internet becoming a platform rather than just a media

Microsoft once again needs to reinvent itself. And this time, it seems to include a new Microsoft leaders generation, check out this business week slide show. Business Week reports this week on The soul of a new Microsoft.

Zune, Vista, Live and MDAS are some of the new ingredients of Microsoft 2.0 as I see it. The People Ready campaign will need to provide an umbrella for this, which is a challenge as the range of Microsoft marketable offers is stretching like crazy. Similarly to the last major transformation I was refering to, Web 2.0 seemed to be lagging in Microsoft communication. Not anymore, watch this Businessweek Video where "Kevin Johnson and Jeff Raikes talk about how new versions of Windows and Office represent a leap into the Web 2.0 world". I'll give you a hint, it's all about web services. Surprised?

I trust the new Microsoft leaders, especially Ray Ozzie, will probably take it to the next level. I wouldn't be surprised if a major reorg was to take place after Vista launch that we could finally call: Microsoft 2.0.

Who's next?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Online spending trends in B2B Marketing

Just a quick one to be shared for those of you mostly in B2B marketing, as I do, and wonder how online media investments are evolving more specifically in this environment.

Here are some projection from in a report they've just released Marketing Online: Trends and Tactics. To be noted that according to this report, spending on B2B marketing and advertising regained the momentum lost during the bubble burst in 2000, reaching $2.4 billion in 2006 to be compared with deceleration in traditional media.

Interestingly in the US, 98% of 220 manufacturers interviewed do have a web site, and 87% for more than 3 years. Even better, 52% consider their site as the most powerful marketing tool, knowing that increasing pressure on Marketing accountability and return on investment (ROI) makes this "most powerful" judgment a relevant one.

As you'll discover in the table above, the share of online spending compared to total B2B Media spending seems to evolve rapidly towards 10% average on its way to 13% in 2010. In our industry, I mean IT, we've gone beyond that point since long. But we're naturally incline to do so as our customers are 100% on the web, and use it as the primary information source after peers recommendation. That would open an entire topic of interest, very dear to me in B2B, which is marketing via the influencers, to be totally revisited in light of Web 2.0 i.e. another Marketing 2.0 facet.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

IBM stumbles twice on its IT leadership, HP is the new King of IT

This is what we could call a defining moment. IBM will stumble twice on its results this quarter. First, IBM (IBM) global revenue should be now slightly smaller than the one from HP (HPQ), check Link to HP passes IBM as IT leader. HP's revenue for its 2006 fiscal is surging to $91.7 billion and IBM is expected to finish his at $90 billion on December 31st. Then Accenture (ACN) took the integration services crown from IBM according to an IDC report, read more about it in Accenture tops IBM as leading systems integrator, NetworkWorld. IDC started tracking systems integrators back in early 90's and mainly attributes this success to the explosion of SOA related services. Accenture announced back in July that they planned to invest $450 million in SOA services over the next 3 years.

What a change! To give IBM another food for thoughts, Google (GOOG) market capitalization is $140 billion with its 5,700 employees, exactly the same as IBM's one with its 329,000 employees. Track the stock comparison chart between IBM, HP, Accenture, Google and Dell here. It is not yet reflecting HP successes, but gives already Accenture ahead of IBM. Of course, as we already noticed in Marketing 2.0 in Is your brand relevant on line, some new Marketing 2.0 elements are influencing the stock value. In HP's case, its recent turmoil at the company's top could have started a negative buzz about the company's legendary ethical values. When is HP starting its corporate blog? Come on, fellow marketers at HP, take a chance on Marketing 2.0. Wait, they've started several of them. Here they are. But where is Mark Hurd's? Eric, that is Eric Kintz HP Vice President Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence, as you seem to be a Web 2.0 savvy marketer -- read his blog all about marketing -- couldn't you have more influence on your CEO?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Study your competition on-line for free

Studying your competition surely is an important part of your marketing activity. Now that a lot is happening on-line, there are very easy and cheap (FREE!) ways to do this on a regular basis.

Let me highlight some interesting tools to do it.

The very first thing to use, if you didn't already, is to leverage Google Alerts. Set a few agent that will bring you back on the fly, daily or weekly, whatever web page, news item and now blog posts relative to the keywords you're looking into. Here is a result of blog search for Marketing 2.0. I use daily agents for the core topics I am covering for Sun and have an e-mail sent to my inbox and provide my team around the world with a weekly summary. Very powerful to always stay on top of things.

Now what about discovering your competitors marketing campaigns? Spy Fu can just help you do this for free. It is still in beta but effective. Enter your competitors name in there and find out how much they're paying for search advertising daily, the number of total clicks they're receiving, their keywords ranking and their average ad position. Spy Fu monitors 4.5 million domains.

Another good tool is the Internet Archive. You can track there how many times your competition changes their web site and is it split tested.

Finally, you might want to know who owns one of your competitors site and where it is hosted. Use Whois Source for this. Could be effective to establish partnerships as well and get in touch with the web master.

I'm still looking for a solid blog competition research beyond Google new blog search. Let me know if you found a good one.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Web 2.0 is not just a new user interface

Following the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco last week, lots have been said, lots have been written and lots have been exchanged. We can now grasp that this energy and enthusiasm level surge is not some temporary fad but probably the matured revival of what used to be called the bubble, not even preceding it with "Internet" anymore as it is so obvious the bubble can only refer to the Internet one.

The list of speaker is impressive and the sponsors just encompasses more than the total list of companies we're after when organizing such events. Something is in the air, can't you feel it? I know a lot of those who are reading this blog are not from the U.S., far from it, so I can already tell you this: if you're not based out of the Silicon Valley, there's already a good way to do money out of the Web 2.0, and that is simply to organize a conference about it. Invite me, I'll be happy to give a pitch there ;-)

I'll probably write more than once about this conference, but I wanted to get a kick start with this Tim O'Reilly's quote about the Web 2.0:

"Web 2.0 is much more than just pasting a new user interface onto an old application.It’s a way of thinking, a new perspective on the entire business of software—from concept through delivery, from marketing through support. Web 2.0 thrives on network effects: databases that get richer the more people interact with them, applications that are smarter the more people use them, marketing that is driven by user stories and experiences, and applications that interact with each other to form a broader computing platform." - John Musser with Tim O'Reilly in Web 2.0 principles and best practices excerpt

Yes, Web 2.0 is not just a new user interface as we pointed out already here in Marketing 2.0, it brings a whole new perspective on how marketing must take into account our new world and the way individuals have evolved their relationship with brands out there.

Have feel for it and quickly scan this "News & Coverage" section of the Web 2.0 summit. Advertising Age is focusing in How to win Web 2.0 on monetizing video and traditional press struggling with considering user generated content as competition or co-journalists. Vast conversation. Check out some photos of the event on flickr as well.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Java goes open source today

Get the Source
I usually do not comment on Sun's marketing or activity here in Marketing 2.0, but today is an exception. Today is a major milestone in the software industry as Sun fulfills its promise and open sources all of its key Java implementations using General Public Licence (GPL), the licence used by the Linux community. Sun is launching two new communities: OpenJDK and Mobile & Embedded communities.

The Java community, started back in 1995, is thriving: more than 5 million developers, nearly 4 billion devices including 8 out of every 10 mobile handsets. Java the platform -- Java is often wrongly considered just a development language -- has reached an impressive level of maturity, innovation and adoption. Its promise "Develop once, runs everywhere" attracts now an even wider developer community. This announcement marks the single largest open source contribution the industry has ever seen and propels Sun as the #1 contributor to the open source community, adding to the already open sourced Open Office, NetBeans and OpenSolaris to name a few.

"Sun has made important contributions to the free world already. Things like Open Office and Solaris so [open sourcing Java] adds up to a very important contribution .. Sun has ... contributed more than any other company to the free software community in the form of software. It shows leadership." – Dr. Richard Stahllman, Free Software Foundation

Following important announcements as the Oracle one about RedHat Linux distribution and support and Microsoft cutting a deal with Novell (about SuSe Linux), it is now very clear the open source model for Software will not go away and has changed the software industry and its business model forever. For us marketers, it means a lot when considering the potential impact on other industries where intellectual property is a major asset (music, video, books, motion pictures).

Make sure you attend today (9:30 PST/6:30 pm Paris) the live broadcast announcement if you do care, so you'll get full details.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Do you master Marketing 2.0 metrics?

Dear fellow marketers, this is the time to check if you're on top of all the trendy acronyms that one must master to deal with the new media. Here is an interesting list I submit to your expertise:
  • CTR: Click-thru rate
  • CPM: Cost per thousand
  • CPC: Cost per click
  • Conversion Rate
  • ROAS: Return on ad spend
  • Value/Cost
  • Value/Click
  • CPL: Cost per lead
  • CPS: Cost per sale
  • CPA: Cost per acquisition
  • Advertising revenue per visitor
  • Visitor to browser ratio
  • Shopping cart abandonment
  • AVO: Average order

Who's saying marketing is not about measuring the outcome of the investment we're making? I increasingly meet Marketing Executives that are working around the clock to produce meaningful dashboards to their management. Search Marketing is no different and probably paves the way for other kind of marketing activities, especially advertising investments.

The trend though is to focus more on CPA than CPM as after all we're measured on the incremental business we can bring back to our brands. ROAS is a tricky one, I'm leaving you with the formula -- the ROAS provides the amount of revenue responsible from the campaign per dollar invested. For example, an ROAS of $1 means that you are generating $1 for every $1 in ad spend:

ROAS = ((Impressions * CTR * Conv rate * Avg sale) – Campaign Cost)/Campaign Cost

Work your spreadsheet for an interesting Marketing 2.0 journey.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Do you measure buzz about your brand on blogs?

Buzz Trends is something hard to measure. Marketing 2.0 is no exception to the marketing ROI demand we are all increasingly facing. If you don't, that should be a sign that your job is at risk ;-)

Most of you are probably already using Technorati trends and Google trends to have a feel for it and be able to create nice slides for your management. Again, if you don't, check them out right now.

I wanted to highlight this very interesting set of tools coming from Nielsen BuzzMetrics: Trend Search, Featured Trends, Conversation Tracker, BlogPulse Profiles. This is totally dedicated to the blog universe and very easy to customize. The Key People analysis, which has its own RSS feed, clearly shows who's making the buzz among top U.S. personalities (John Kerry took the front seat on Oct. 31st from rank 25, you must surely know why).

So now that we have some measuring tools ramping up to help us make our point, let's make Marketing 2.0 a measured integrated marketing approach. A question remains though, how do you translate positive buzz measurement into actual opportunities or revenue increase? I guess I'll have to work on it quite rapidly.

In the meantime, enjoy your week-end fellow marketers.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Social Network ad spending grows rapidly to $900M

Latest numbers tracked by are showing that Marketing 2.0 is ramping up more rapidly than expected. This new 2007 Ad spending forecast, totaling $865M specifically in Social Networking ad, is far bigger than the last $280M estimate for 2006, still coming from eMarketer. This is pretty much in line with the 2010 forecasted $1.8 Billion.

This is to be compared with the overall $16.7 Billion spent on US online advertising for 2006 i.e. 1.7%, which is a relatively small chunk but growing fast.

"The underlying concept will influence the way advertising is done in all media, not just online." says Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst and author of eMarketer's new report, Social Network Marketing: Carving Out Some MySpace.

Social Networking is definitely an important dimension in Marketing 2.0 and the way it impacts relationships between consumers or customers and brands.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Heads-up: Yahoo to combine with AOL?

Following my last post, just a quick heads-up note on Yahoo (YHOO) rebound. Apparently things are moving in the right direction again for Yahoo , reports Business Week, as Merrill Lynch changed their rating. The stock rose 3.3% in one day.

Assumptions are mixed from a possible AOL acquisition, Project Panama, designed to better match ads with search results, expected to generate over $500 million in revenue (25 cents in EPS) over two years and the pure speculation on Yahoo's stock which lost 35% year to date.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Google rides the wave, Microsoft follows, Yahoo is in pain

Following our question about where Microsoft business model was going - read Hey Microsoft, are you becoming Googled? - and now that all 3 Internet titans have published their quarterly results, let's stop for a while and understand who is ahead of the curve.

Assuming financial analysts and investors are doing their due diligence properly, we could rely first on their feel for it. So, looking at the comparison chart between all three stocks Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), and Yahoo (YHOO) for the last 6 months, Google seems to ride the wave, Microsoft catching up and Yahoo heading south. Google even afforded to reach a new stock price all time high of $484.64 on 23 October, briefly surpassing $150 Billions for the first time! Remember, they acquired YouTube for $1.6B in stock... that's a dime.

I'm pretty in line with this view of the world as it reflects today's perception of who are the leaders in the on-line business. Here is a quote from AP on Monday supporting it:

"The third-quarter performance underscored the substantial advantage that Google has built over chief Internet rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., leading most analysts to conclude that the company will continue to dominate the online advertising market while it explores other potentially lucrative opportunities." -- Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer

But one should also keep in mind that very few players in this industry have the financial muscle to create and maintain huge architectures supporting Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery to the masses. We're talking $Billions fellow marketers, not VC money (sorry Netvibes fellows ;-) ).

Why should WE care? Well, if you only rely on search engine market shares to place your search marketing bets, the game is pretty simple: Google 49.2%, Yahoo 23.8%, MSN 9.6% according to Nielsen Netratings. Google market share surges even to more than 80% in some countries like France. The reason why we should care is Marketing 2.0 again. Search Advertising is powerful but not enough. Why would all these major players invest in Web 2.0 emerging companies otherwise? The question is for us to understand what are tomorrow's business models in a variety of industries like software, music, videos and what have you. If revenue is bound to come from on-line advertising in the future, it clearly means all other advertising form factors will decrease. Our marketing-mix, in a Marketing 2.0 era, will then significantly change and above all, marketing performance will be heavily impacted. To be digged.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hey Microsoft, are you becoming Googled?

I attended yesterday an event in Paris entitled "Interactive Marketing: future is in our hand", co-organized by Microsoft and the media planning group MPG . The fact that Microsoft is putting some effort to address the communication specialists and advertising agencies, is a clear signal that Steve Ballmer's statement about the advertising business - see Watch advertising and make money on Marketing 2.0 - is already in execution mode in the field.

It was interesting to understand what Microsoft offering and strategy was and if Web 2.0 was already matured enough to deliver concrete tactics. Marc Bresseel, Regional Sales Director MSN EMEA walked us through Microsoft offering and Anne Kirah, Senior Design Anthropologist which I recommend listening to, check out her keynote address video at Tech.Ed 06 in Sydney, shared with us what interactive marketing should pay attention to vis-à-vis on-line international audiences behaviors. This impressive and well organized push for Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions (MDAS) is a clear signal and lead me to ask to myself: Hey Microsoft, are you becoming Googled? i.e. is advertising revenue going to become mainstream in Microsoft business model?

I'm not sure despite Marc referring to blogs, RSS and AJAX, in a typical technology centric view of the world, that Web 2.0 is yet at the core in MDAS, but we'll be watching.

Not only does Live initiative demonstrate the rising success of software as a service model, but MDAS could be one of the Microsoft answer to the burning question of what is the appropriate software business model in the future, as it is center stage with music and video for the majors for some time now.

Marketing 2.0 could then have a significant new role in these companies: carry revenue quota just like any other division. I'm sure a lot of us in the IT industry are going to pay a lot of attention to the advertising market revenue forecasts as of today. You can bet I will be sharing it here in Marketing 2.0 when I get some.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Web 2.0 is about collaboration, not technology

Buzz words can be true enemies. When I talk about Web 2.0, sometimes at length, a lot of debating takes place on a number of topics before I finally ask: "But what does Web 2.0 mean to you?". Let me save you the clueless faces and the typical "you know, web 2.0" reinforced by a supposedly mutual understanding face. Very often though, I hear AJAX and rich web client interfaces are the underpinning revolution attached to Web 2.0.

Well, all of this is true. Let's refer to Tim O'Reilly's definition of Web 2.0, as he coined the term back in Sept. 2005. In the Web 2.0 world, the web is a platform not a destination. Thus Tim elaborates with this Netscape vs. Google comparison to support his claim. Netscape flagship product was a web browser i.e. a desktop application, Google flagship product is a web service.

What really is interesting to us marketers about Web 2.0 is not the technology which has always been means to an end, but the social implication of opening up collaboration to all web users and among them your customers, partners, influencers, journalists and analysts. I was happy to read that Jay Adelson, Digg CEO, just thinks the same:

"To me Web 2.0 is not a technology revolution. It's rather users accepting the idea of collaborating."

You can refer to Jay's interview if you read french. Here it is.

Web 2.0 for us marketers is an acceleration of empowered customers and consumers two ways communicating with our brands and among themselves. Be sure to capture this inter-customer communication not to avoid growing negative buzz, as we highlighted here in Marketing 2.0 for Dell.

To me, Web 2.0 is the today's answer to the non effective advertising cloud addressing ad-educated populations. In a way, it drives us to being positioned properly and relevant to prospect audiences and to lead with transparency in our communication. This is another chapter of our Marketing 2.0 Manifesto.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Watch advertising and make money

We discussed here several times how advertising could be the revenue stream allowing for free software, free music or free video. In an interesting statement, Microsoft highlights how far larger is the advertising opportunity compared to the software one world-wide.

"Our close partnership with the ad community is extremely important to us as we evolve Microsoft from a software company into the world's largest, most attractive provider of online media through MSN, Windows Live and adCenter," said Ballmer. "Ad-supported software services are an integral part of Microsoft's plans to give consumers access to a broader variety of digital media, whenever they want and on whatever device they prefer."

The debate about software as a service (SaaS) seems to be clearly closed and discussions seem to focus on when rather than if. The question is: what will happen to the $120 billion software revenue? Will it augment the advertising revenue or vanish?

Google realized this a long time ago and provided our industry a clear demonstration on how to succeed in that space. The latest Google acquisition, YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock, grabs more than 50% of the online video market on top of its own 11% i.e. 61% total. With more than 100 million videos played each day, Google now appear to be a solid Web 2.0 broadcaster. The largest national US networks are revisiting their advertising value proposition, bending more to a result oriented proposition than the usual message impression probably responding to the Internet capability.

Another question is whether advertising can be more than just allowing for free stuff. As a matter of fact a good friend of mine, Marc Leprat, started an interesting business recently called, where you can earn money - yes real dollars - if you agree to watch commercials. They've been introducing non intrusive Advertising On Demand, more relevant and more effective. Each minute devoted to watch ads will bring you back about 50 cents i.e. $30 an hour. It is already well regarded in the communication industry as made CB News, a major weekly publication in France about communication, cover page. I encourage you to go on and become a member today.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Michael Dell launches Dell 2.0

We have a tendency to highlight the negative when we report on news, maybe badly educated by the media. I wanted to come back on the Dell story once again to find out how was doing our flagship leader of the don't get Dell'd syndrome.

First of all, let's do a reality check on the battery recall issue. It's been widening recently and Sony is really at the center of a communication crisis as now more than 7 million batteries are being recalled for replacement, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The list of the winners are Dell with 4.2 million, Apple with 1.8 million, followed by Lenovo, Toshiba, Fujitsu, HP. Battery recall at Dell and Apple alone will cost more than $170 million. That's a pretty extreme case study for all of you interested in quality impact to the bottom line. If you want to read the latest about it just go here.

Coming back on Dell, they're handling the problem with this dedicated web site, and apparently trying to initiate a serious turnaround in their decline. What happened to their corporate blog One2one? Well first of all they've been changing the name to Direct2Dell for various reasons -- Dell explains it here -- that would give you a clue on how little prepared they were. By the way, they admire the One2one XXX site marketers SEO skills!

But the most interesting breaking news to me was the real backfire move from Michael Dell in a keynote at the Techdays on September 12. Michael is back and he's launching Dell 2.0. Here is a Direct2Dell quote about it:

"Michael also talked a bit about Dell 2.0. He launched our Dimension products yesterday, including our first two AMD products for consumer and small business customers." -- more on this here

It produced at least one comment from a shareholder that goes like this:

"Nevertheless, the public response has been a shrug -- with most commentary calling Dell 2.0 devoid of substance and the stock price remaining unmoved. In the absence, to-date, of many concrete components to Dell 2.0, the success of this "evolution" depends on the quality, creativity and discipline of management. Part of the public indifference is probably based on the unsatisfactory performance of Kevin Rollins and Michael Dell at Tech Day." -- more on this here, and Dell stock vs HP and Apple here.

I'm an optimistic and I like to focus on positive outcomes. I wish good luck to Dell for its Dell 2.0 venture but let's make sure, message to Michael Dell's staff, that Marketing 2.0 is not ignored anymore i.e. tell Kevin Rollins that customer satisfaction is more important than cost reduction to be a Hero at Dell.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

SEO: Top Marketing Tactic ROI

Search marketing has emerged as a powerful way to accelerate Marketing ROI together with brand awareness in the recent years. With user generated content and Web 2.0 fueling Marketing 2.0, search engine optimization (SEO) is considered now as the top Marketing Tactic. This recent survey published by MarketingSherpa, demonstrates it more clearly out of 3,053 client-side marketers asked about the Top Marketing Tactic's ROI -- see the chart above. The respondents based their rating on measured tactics within the last 12 months in their company.

As you can see the results are separated by offering type:

  • products as books, PC or Travel, usually measuring direct impact on sales (lower response rate)
  • lead generation for offering such as financial services or real-estate, more incline to measure leads received from soft or free offers (higher response rate)

But at the same time, B2B software firms -- dear to my heart -- are lacking effective SEO. Again this survey finds out that 28% of them did not optimize well enough to appear in the first page of organic ranking for search on core keywords to their business, no matter how big the brand was. You can read the MarketingSherpa full report for more insight.

Is it correlated to a slower than expected spend in outsourced SEO? Or lack of focus from our Marketing Executives on the topic? We know SEO must be tracked on a daily basis and adjusted on the fly to boost results.

More is to be said about SEO in Marketing 2.0 and I'll probably come back on this topic shortly with more. In the meantime, let's share our experience: feel free to post your own take on this in a comment right here on Marketing 2.0.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

US online advertising grow 37%

Out of a busy week for me, I wanted to share these numbers released by IAB and PwC about Online advertising investment in the US for the first half of 2006.

The US online advertising spend over H1 2006 totaled $7.9 Billions growing 37% from H1 2005, exceeding for the first time $4 Billions in Q2 2006. This marks the 7th quarter of consecutive growth for online advertising, reinforcing the growing importance of online focus for our marketing spend compared to traditional media.

As you can see in this table, paid search accounts for 40% of total online spend, still the mainstream online advertising technique. One of the major advantage of online advertising is performance based pricing i.e. you pay for the click through (CPA) rather than the impression (CPM). The split between CPM and CPA is still very much balanced, respectively 48% and 47% of total investment. My advice: you should weigh on your media planning agency to favor performance based pricing deals as this is the way of measuring your campaign impact and adjust it in real-time.

However, and following Yahoo CEO Terry Semel speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference on Sept 19th and warning about a slower online ad growth, overall slowing of the U.S. economy impacts advertising and its online part for the remaining part of 2006, reports Ad Age Digital. eMarketer has lowered its ad-spending forecast this year from $16.7 billion to $15.9 Billion.

The missing one here? Marketing 2.0 of course. No one talks about the share of investment that brands are putting in viral marketing and user generated content techniques. This of course does not account for many dollars, but can reinforce significantly synchronized traditional campaigns results. After all, we are more interested in business results than pure awareness when it gets down to reporting to our CEO.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Are you a web 2.0 winner?

Last week in San Francisco took place an interesting event "The Future of Web Apps" gathering renown speakers to understand what was underpinning successful web businesses. A good friend who recently joined one of the most promising emerging Web 2.0 players, Netvibes, highlighted Mike Arrington's pitch about "What's next for web apps: building tomorrow's Flickr". Mike is known for his popular and influential TechCrunch blog contributions in the Bay Area, especially around Web 2.0 and start-ups.

I wanted to share with you some of his thoughts as a way for us to nurture our Marketing 2.0 brainstorming. This is pretty direct, here is the way he classifies it:

  • Winners: writely, grouper, skype, newroo, flickr, weblogs, myspace, bloglines, userplane, ksolo, blogger,
  • Very good bets: digg, facebook, youtube, photobucket, zoho, stumbleupon, popsugar, plentyoffish, netvibes
  • Ones to watch: jobster, riya, zillow, flock, sharpcast, rocketbookm, 1-800-FREE411, odesk, secondlife, wordpress
  • What were they thinking: inform, gather, pubsub, browzar, jigsaw, squidoo

Then about his personal forecast:

  • Avoid: Social networking, social bookmarking, video, photos, blogging/podcasting platforms, portal/homepages, feed readers
  • Big potential: Platforms, desktop apps (ported to online), office efficiency, cloud storage, identity, developer tools, market destruction (such as 1-800-FREE411), enterprise

And finally, winners and losers behaviors:

Passion for what they are doing Lifestyle/ego entrepreneurs
Do something extraordinary Forget about scaling
Remove serious friction Spent too much money
Great founder dynamics Poor founder, team choices
Never raise big money or raise it after you have won Raised too much money
Perfect revenue model is not required Over business-planned
Launched with post on TechCrunch Launched with post on TechCrunch

Check out on CenterNetworks if you want to listen to some of his remarks, MP3 files are posted there.

What strikes me here is that Marketing is not mentioned at all and that all these successful companies didn't use classical marketing techniques to get traction and awareness. Instead, they heavily used viral marketing and positive buzz to attract millions of users. The big question to a lot of them, the one that have not been acquired by Google and Yahoo yet ;-), is how to move from volume users to monetization. Advertising sponsored business models may not be suitable for all, then who's ready to pay for additional web services?

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"iPod ready": a new marketing gimmick

I went to Apple Expo on Friday. I missed the Mac ecosystem for long and it was refreshing to feel this relaxed vibe again. One could smell creativity, innovation and fun everywhere. I was impressed with the amount of business generated around iPod, up to the car manufacturer clearly using this European event to promote their latest innovation like Mini and Audi. Is iPod ready becoming of importance for cars manufacturer?

iPod ready devices were sparkling all around. This iPod ready screen from ViewSonic, announced on Sept 12, would tend to reinforce how PCs are not that important anymore. Plug your iPod and watch your videos, listen to the music or have your photos sliding in. USB connectors and memory card readers would let you use other devices as well. But take a close look at the icons, this is running MS Windows! Anyway, they're promoting a "Made for iPod" label. Road to success? Isn't Apple now the "iPod creator" company rather than the Mac one anyway?

iPod has become an icon for reinventing a fading company around a breaking through innovative product centered on a web 2.0 trend: sharing music on-line. Remain to be seen how Apple iTunes will respond to Universal SpiralFrog investment to turn music into an ad sponsored business. And what about this strange silence from Google about music except this very late announcement into the game: Google Music Search. Now that Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, is sitting on Apple's board of Directors, I'm sure I'll have something to blog about in a very short while about iTunes response to free music. Stay tuned and listen to SOMA FM music, as I do, in the meantime.

One final note. Customization is big when talking about web 2.0 business models, isn't it? Check out this special customized Mini limo -- yes a limo -- that was presented in front of the show -- see my pictures on flickr -- so cool. And what do you think about this gaming seat from Playseats as well?

Creativity is back. Hope and ambition are flourishing just as during the rise of the Internet bubble -- except VCs are still skeptical. Web 2.0 is a reality fellow marketers, Marketing 2.0 is on its way.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sponsored Links allows Free Software

I was attending yesterday a comprehensive conference in Paris about e-commerce, looking for a solid update on e-marketing techniques. All major players in the on-line industry were represented - Yahoo, eBay, Google, and Microsoft - and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) shared with us the latest development of on-line consumers behavior. To let you discover how passionate these individuals were, I'm sharing with you one of the snapshots I took during the keynote. No obvious passion right?

I was expecting some breaking announcement about Web 2.0 related new techniques, even some marketing 2.0 concepts to flourish. Not only was I disappointed but furthermore, Yahoo's France General Manager just told us how he thought Web 2.0 was just a fad, no new news here he said. He referred to a Tim Berners-Lee statement to explain that he would call it Internet t.c, t.c. meaning "tout court", which would translate as something like "Internet period" as Tim defined the Internet as a way for individuals to communicate. Wow! I don't know how much corporate folks at Yahoo would appreciate it.

During the breakout sessions about sponsored links, I even heard professional marketers, especially from the major TV network in France, take some distance with blogging, coining it to a private non influential activity. I had to ask if he was afraid of blogs regarding his advertising business. You don't want to hear his corporate answer, believe me.

Fellow marketers, this is really the time for a marketing 2.0 manifesto to avoid for these wandering executives to ignore the paradigm shift we clearly are going through. As it always does during such eras -- read Innovator's Dilemma if you didn't already -- incumbents are trying to deny or ignore reality. This usually is announcing their business model fade if not their company's. As a result, brilliant and dynamic small companies are becoming the new category gorillas.

All these individuals might have missed this very interesting venture at spiceworks, providing an IT Management Software for ... FREE! What is their business model? They let you install and use their solution for free, recouping on sponsored links clicks-- especially Google's --. Yes: advertising is now funding software. They have attracted more than 5,000 companies since launch on July 31st. Read this for more. And this is not isolated, as Universal recently announced music was going to be free as advertising was funding it as well. Universal is backing SpiralFrog, a start-up we already mentioned before here.

Bite Marketing 2.0 before it bites you!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Marketing 2.0 manifesto early draft?

I was thinking of starting a Marketing 2.0 manifesto many times, with your help and feedback of course, but I guess this will take some time. As I was reading Guy Kawasaki's blog I found out a pretty good start, at least for small businesses, inspired by Ilana DeBare of the San Francisco Chronicle with this article: “Amateur reviews changing approach of small businesses.”

The pain we all feel is about making a decision where to have diner out, what plumber to call or which dentist should be allowed in our mouth. Here comes online review sites -- find out some here -- in a very Web 2.0 spirit, where consumers empower consumers. This in turn may signal the ending of the yellow pages. DeBare article ends with interesting pragmatic tactics that small businesses can use to take advantage of this new way of advertising and attracting more traffic to their business. Could be a good start for our Marketing 2.0 manifesto? Here are the ones I noticed:

-- Find out what people are saying about you on-line

-- Use reviews to improve your operations. (Don't get Dell'd)

-- Respond to unhappy customers. (idem)

-- Respond to happy customers, even adding a small gift to positive reviewers.

-- Encourage your customers to post reviews by mentioning these reviews to your regular customers.

-- The jury's out on incentives. Offer a rebate to reviewers, whether positive or negative, for their next purchase.

-- Use positive reviews in your marketing, just like Zagat's write-up found on restaurants front window.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Advertising 2.0 bridging the digital divide?

As you're reading this blog, you're probably a "Heavy Internet User" (HIU) i.e. someone who has accessed the Web at least 11 times in the previous seven days as close to 100 million people in the US, or about one-third of the country's population. Don't start calling your mom telling her you're part of a new elite: first of all because you're just a little ahead of the herd and then because it just means you're not taking care of your beloved ones enough ;-). But Marketing 2.0 is also a little ahead of the herd ... for now, but certainly not ignoring our beloved ones: customers.

McCann just released an interesting study entitled The new "digital divide" -- as technology has become one source of the “generation gap”-- trying to understand how the new generation of digital consumers are transforming Mass communication, impacting communication and more specifically advertising.

Let's get out of the way the blogging attitude: 62% of HIUs are blogging, going up to 71% for the 16-34 years old HIUs. "No longer can we simply broadcast our messages to a mass audience and hope that our standard metrics of reach and frequency will guarantee success," said David Cohen, the author of the report.

Why does it matter? Well, one third of the total US population is not a niche really. Then because 84% of HIUs have using Internet to research a future purchase and buying on-line as their most common activities. Go get them fellow marketers, but don't use the wrong marketing mix.

Check out the table above, provided by eMarketers, the technologies they use most are not the ones we market to easily: instant messaging, price comparison web sites and social networking sites (MySpace, Friendster, ...). I encourage you to read the report to find out how HIUs react to various ways of advertising on blogs, but as you would expect 39% are just bothered when a company are seeding blogs to sell their products/services. Wikipedia, MySpace and Craigslist do rank well in the top 10 Internet Services they use currently. And finally, 49% "watch" TV, 47% listen to iPods or CDs and 41% to the radio while surfing the net.

To leave you on an even happier note, "word of mouth" is to them the most valuable and trustworthy channel when purchasing a product. So move it, switch to Marketing 2.0 now before it bites you.

You know where some McCann execs are headed now? Well Robin Kent is starting SpiralFrog, a free ad-supported music-download service in conjunction with Universal Music Group. Yes gang, music is finally going for the free syndrome as well. But SpiralFrog is not alone, Napster is going for it as well, allowing consumers to listen to up to five tracks for free while they view advertising.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Being a hero at Dell?

Just back from a very relaxing week, I wanted to give you a quick heads-up on this interesting "Dark Days at Dell" Business Week article. It reinforces our analysis that something geared reverse to customer satisfaction was happening, infringing many Marketing 2.0 basic rules. Refer to Marketing 2.0 mistakes: Dell and AOL in turmoil and Don't you ever get Dell'd! chapter 2 if you missed the previous posts about it.

One major statement from Dell's CEO Kevin Rollins gave me the clue I was looking for: "Being a hero at Dell means saving money." did he say to Business Week back in 2003. If that is all it takes to be a hero and if this is the critical mission coming from your CEO, you bet customer satisfaction can only go South. Despite spending $115M to improve customer service, you can read further details in the article, nothing to me will really change at Dell before a probable new CEO states: "Being a hero at Dell means overwhelming customers expectations."

After all, one of the main ingredient in Michael Dell's original recipe for success was about highly considering customers and their desire for PCs, providing valuable guidance and relevant customized offers vs competition always considering PC buyers as dummies with over priced and over featured packages.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Take care of Marketing 2.0 for a week

Fellow marketers, I'll be away from computers and the Internet for a week and I will be taking no marketing books with me - yes I can leave without it ;-)

So I'm leaving this blog for you to take care of Marketing 2.0 while I'm enjoying some sun in the real world. I'm sure this week will look a lot like the previous ones, populated with delightful news that you can echo here. Feel free to post your comments, I'll react upon my return.

Have fun.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Marketing 2.0 mistakes: Dell and AOL in turmoil

I could not resist to highlight the Dell exploding batteries sequel. As probably most of you could not miss, Dell has decided to recall 4.1 Millions of its products, at Sony's expense though. As we discussed here previously, the consequences of such a flaw could be devastating. Imagine a poor Dell customer working on a plane...

Such things are of course scary, but what did scare me as a marketer, was the way Dell initially ignored it from a Marketing 2.0 perspective. They finally posted something very "corporate" about it on July 13, see here. While they were launching a corporate blog Direct2Dell, to supposedly let directly their customers discuss their product experience, Dell demonstrated how not genuine consumer generated content can ruin a reputation and in the end generate more negative buzz than if nothing had been attempted. You'll see, if you follow the Direct2Dell link, that now this flaming battery episode is all over their corporate blog (we are mid August!).

This could not happen at a worse time for Dell, which reputation and stock is under pressure as highlights eWeek. As Dell Q2 results just have been released, reported by AP as "Dell Posts Disappointing 2Q Amid Probe", let's see how this computer giant can overcome this difficult time. To be continued...

Another poor hero of our Marketing 2.0 series is AOL - read here. I'm not chasing bad news, believe me, but AOL just happen to make another giant step in making sure their customers will walk away: their research division revealed a list of about 658,000 users and the Web searches they made. USA Today is asking today :"Could the end be near for America Online?", and this is only the start of a new negative buzz.

Well fellow marketers, let's hope there's a way out of ignoring Marketing 2.0 or Marketing 2.0 beginners mistakes. After all, this is part of our job as well. And don't take me wrong, I wish Dell and AOL to recover quickly.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Web 2.0 brands: half U.S. Top 10 fastest growing web brands

Back in Paris, I'm writing this new post from the just released Windows Live Writer, beta version, released on Sunday by Microsoft. Though I'm blogging on blogger, I'm able to retrieve posts and create draft and hopefully publish - I'll discover this in a minute when I'll hit the Publish button ;-)

I wanted to share with you that Nielsen//NetRatings just issued this very interesting press release on 08/10, stating that "user-generated content sites (platforms for photo sharing, video sharing and blogging) drives half of U.S. Top 10 fastest growing brands". The basis for Nielsen to rank them is based on the unique audience growth Year-over-Year. The lucky winners are ImageShack,, Flickr, MySpace, and Wikipedia.

Of course it means a lot in terms of eye balls but also in terms of stickiness - read the press release for details about average spent time per person.

The consequences for us marketers is first and foremost an additional evidence that Marketing 2.0 is on its way big time. But it also has a huge impact on our decision about our budget spend. forecasts that US Online Social Network Ad Spending will surge from $280M in 2006 to $1,860M in 2010. When we know that online advertising represents an average of 26% of our total marketing spend, it also implies massive changes in our marketing mix in the future.

Finally, we should realize that none of these Web 2.0 brands existed a few months ago and they now challenge solid incumbents. Remain to be seen how they will monetize these extremely rapid growing audiences. But didn't we have similar questions about a rising star: Google?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Marketing 2.0: giving up control to gain control ?

Fellow Marketers, I'm taking a break in South of France in a very nice region close to Toulouse. If you've never been here, I encourage you to plan for a trip here: great landscape, great people, and great food. Plan for it, trust me! As a matter of fact, I won't be blogging that much this week.

Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you some news on the advertising front: McKinsey Study Predicts Continuing Decline in TV Selling Power. In a nutshell, we have to face the continuing declining of buying power of this traditional way of advertising combined with the rising influence of empowered consumers expressing their relationship with your brand, live. At the same time, this report highlights that our real ad spending on prime-time broadcast TV has increased over the last decade by about 40% even as viewers have dropped almost 50%.

The natural reaction to this would be for us to shift budget to on-line marketing techniques, right? In fact given the budget size to shift, we would not have enough on-line ad space to buy. This is an additional sign that Marketing 2.0 is underway. CMO's should rather look for ways to engage with customers in a transparent dialogue with their brand and co-market with them. Same old, same old for those of you who are familiar with Marketing 2.0 by now. Take a look at what Customer Interaction Management (CIM) and Customer Information Hub (CIH) can do for your salesforce, it's a good lead for your spending shift.

Take a look at this article as well about How the Open Source Revolution Impacts Your Brands if you have some time. The conclusion about controlling the marketing message is litterally the question we're debating about here: "The No. 1 lesson of the Internet," says Jeff Jarvis, "whether you're Howard Dean or a media company or a marketer, is that you have to give up control to gain control." The "How" is at the core of what Marketing 2.0 is about and should define.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

AOL: free might be the answer to avoid getting Dell'd

Another big brand is jumping in the Free is good for our marketing syndrome. Time Warner (TWX) just announced yesterday that AOL will offer its e-mail and web services for free. The goal is to move heavily to a pure advertising revenue and stop the subscribers churn: they've been loosing 30% of their 26.7 million U.S. customers from Sept 2002, now down to 18.6 million. AOL expects to save more than $1B in marketing costs by the end of 2007 in doing so, placing their bet on the recent surge of advertising revenue - 40% up in one year to $449M. AOL is also risking its dial-up subscribers business, representing 80% of their income, which was $2B in the last quarter alone.

What are they doing to retain these customers?
Given the impressive churn rate AOL is suffering, I asked myself if AOL was not getting Dell'd as well. Not to mention of course that dial-up Internet access is not geared to expand in the future but they offer high-speed access.
Well, you know me by now, me writing this post is a strong indication that the answer is probably close to a YES. Here is an interesting experience of Vinny trying to cancel his AOL dial-up account. Do yourself a favor and have a good smile on your face, listen to Vinny's recorded phone conversation with the AOL representative when trying to cancel. It is just amazing. The Consumerist then posted the apparently real AOL retention manual, a strong indication that what Vinnie recorded is not at all isolated. And of course bloggers started to buzz about it.

What is AOL answer to this negative buzz: FREE. We will give you more for free so you don't go away or even better, you'll subscribe to AOL as your boradband ISP.
Once the Internet king and now stumbling, AOL is to me a very good candidate to get Dell'd. I'd be curious to read about your Get Dell'd brand candidate list and stories about it. Feel free to post it here.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Traditional marketing is at risk, US Q1 spend plummets

Fellow marketers this is serious news. We need to react strongly and bring back CEOs and their staff confidence in marketing - especially in marketing 2.0- up again. According to Blackfriars recent announcement, US Companies did spend 54% less in Q1 than budgeted. Their Q1 index was the lowest in two years and the spending categories reflect traditional marketing mindset. What strikes me again is that on-line marketing spend totals 26% of all marketing spend, and uses mainly Internet advertising (nearly 58%). PR suffers (5% actuals vs 9% budgeted) when advertising gets the bells and whistles (34% actuals vs 22% budgeted). When all marketing 2.0 professionals are highlighting why embarking customers as co-marketers a.k.a. focus on customer centric marketing, is a must, when CEOs are complaining about marketing ROI, why in the world would we reinforce traditional advertising? Do we want to get Dell'd?
We also should be aware by now that isolated advertising does not lead to more sales. Advertising needs synchronous PR and on-line relevance/positive resonance to get a chance for our message to be well accepted, especially nowadays where an average individual is exposed to several thousands messages a day. We know best tactics for quality demand creation are Free trial demos, Webcast/Webinars, White papers and blogs. We know Integrated Marketing is the only effective way to execute - if you still wonder, I guess the shortest way to success left for you would be faith. We know a concise marketing dashboard with ROI driven metrics is the only possible way to articulate marketing value to our CEOs.
Knowing all of this we should never ever see such numbers and CEOs complaints again. Let's make sure we put our money where our mouth is: focus our marketing spend on appropriate tactics. And let's use our communication skills to demonstrate to our CEOs that marketing in its latest development a.k.a. marketing 2.0 is the way to accelerate companies growth.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Is your brand relevant on line? Is Branding 2.0 born yet?

So what if you thought you did a wonderful job as a professional marketer at building your brand - Interbrand numbers published in Business Week would show, right ? And what if you suddenly discover this is not so true on-line, especially with the advent of Web 2.0? I can see this look in your eyes telling me "this frenchy is just trying to drive more traffic to his blog".
Well, it might be worth asking this question to your favorite marketing gurus if you're starting to have faith in Marketing 2.0. Meanwhile, here is a very interesting initiative that addresses it for mega brands. Future Labs, referred by the MIT Advertising Lab, did an extensive research to compare online brand relevance for the 100 brands listed in the 2005 Business Week/Interbrand report.
Some of the leading indicators for this new index are : the number times a brand is mentioned in Google, the number of Technorati blogposts about the brand, the relative reach of the brand's website as per Alexa ranking and more - read details in the research document. While Future Labs is open about receiving contributions from marketers around the world to help them track other Web 2.0 centric leading indicators, this is already demonstrative enough to include it in our Marketing 2.0 arsenal.
I encourage you to take a look at the entire list, but let's just reflect here how the 5 leading Future Labs rated Brands are ranking in the Interbrand index:

Google (GOOG)
eBay (EBAY) Apple (AAPL) Amazon (AMZN) Disney (DIS)
Future Labs 1
BW/Interbrand 38
By the way I could not resist to mention Dell ranking #15 vs #21 respectively.
Have a look at the one year compared stock performance for these 5 brands as well and compare it to this one about the 5 Interbrand index leading brands (Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE, and Intel). Even if you didn't take a look because you're already tracking these companies stock, the answer is obvious: Future labs leading brands are performing better.
My recommendation: have on line relevance as part of your corporate branding team measurement. If you didn't have your next team meeting agenda nailed down yet, add this one topic. But do not just brainstorm about it, Marketing 2.0 is already here, take action.