Marketing and brands are relationships between consumers and products, and relationship building is a two-way conversation. It is not the one-to-many broadcast commercial that defines a customer's relationship with a brand. Rather, it's the more informal -- often personal -- interactions with a product or company that result in long-term brand engagement. Technology, specifically the social web, has transformed marketers' ability to run lower cost, targeted marketing campaigns with measurable return on investment. The result is a new category of marketing: social marketing.
Social marketing is conversational. It's focused on facilitating interactions that are more directly connected to the process of relationship building with customers. And social marketing is, in all cases, propelled by social publishing technologies that turn spectators into member and contributors, and transform websites into community platforms for engagement with customers and future prospects.
Enterprise software vendor JackBe offers an example of this new strategy in action. JackBe sells enterprise mashup software to developers that enables them to use web services to connect internal and external data to create new, loosely coupled (or "mashed up") applications. Because this is a new approach in software development, part of JackBe's marketing agenda is to educate developers about mashups -- what they are, how to build them, and what applications are a good fit for this approach.