Web 2.0 Expo – cool stuff seen on the floor of the show

Here are a few companies in alphabetical order I thought had shown some real promise at the Web 2.0 Expo

Ascentium – A model for the agency of the future

I spoke to the CMO, Romi Mahajan who explained Ascentium’s go-to-market strategy to me. They are the nexus of a digital marketing company mixed with a technology firm that does Microsoft CRM, Business Intelligence and Analytics to provide creative solutions for brand perception and instantiation.

No doubt very useful and very powerful when they come together (I read this as an agency mixed with a lead nurturing platform that can track ROI!). Not only do they build cool marketing campaigns but they can connect to your sales process. They in effect unify sales and marketing so that clients see that their campaign pay off – thereby eliminating the normal tension between sales and marketing.

Romi was also a speaker on Agency 2.0 on how should agencies of the future be organized. Clearly I would think Ascentium is a model for agencies of the future.

Brickfish – Measuring Social Engagement

Brickfish offers an innovative way for brands to connect with their target audience online. They offer a launching pad for highly viral marketing campaigns that allow you to reach consumers where they live on the social web. They get them to listen to your message and interact with your brand, and more than that, they produce the results.

What does this mean – as I understood it – they make various viral marketing campaigns or social applications that can then be shared with friends who can customize them to post it to their blog or website via an iFrame. The iFrame technology allows Brickfish to measure where, when, who and how many times your messages were viewed.

Some examples are Coach engaged consumers to design a new tote. Nike asked consumers to share their inspirational athletic achievements. Kodak got consumers to share their Kodak moments to celebrate their new low-ink printer. All of these examples needed consumers to make customize the message and make it their own then spread it virally. Best off Brickfish is an all in one platform to do this.

HiveLive – Platform for building unique communities

I spoke to the CEO John Kimbel and visited with HiveLive crew on the Expo floor and was very impressed. HiveLive has a very different take on Enterprise Communities. In short, what they do is act as a platform that aggregates all your types of media (both new media and social media) to create a very different type of experience than say a standard community. So that means they integrate things like blogs, podcasts, wikis, forums into a “Hive” (one could say mashup here). That can be customized to the experience you want to create for your users.

One of their customers is Serena Software. Their CMO, Rene Bonvanie is a forward-thinking marketer who’s been leading the community charge for quite some time now at places like SalesForce, SAP, BusinessObjects, and Oracle. Below is a video where he does a great job explaining Serena’s vision of a new model of community-powered marketing and how they’re using tools/technologies (like Facebook, HiveLive, and YouTube) to reinvent their business: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDsJE98NPbM

InsideView – Smart marketing and sales tool

I was lucky enough to have breakfast with the CEO Umberto Milletti. Who started InsideView in 2005 because he saw that “business information was becoming more distributed over the web” though articles, interviews, various databases and then eventually social networks.

He viewed this as an opportunity to aggregate these sources of information to provide a composite view of a person or a company through the use of some proprietary Natural Language Processing.

All comes together in a mashup within your own CRM – InsideView integrates with all of today’s most popular CRM systems namely Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, and recently announced Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, and Landslide.

InsideView also tells you who you are connected to in Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s a form of “Smarketing” as Umberto called it.

Over 200 companies use their application with hundreds of sales reps using the application. They sell per seat licenses but they also have a free version in the spirit of Web 2.0 with a limited version of the functionality. No doubt this is a company to watch in the coming years!

Wi5Connect – Welcome to Social Learning 2.0

I spoke to Matthew Bowman, VP of Sales and Marketing, from Wi5Connect who explained what they did as a “different approach to learning that marries two technologies – Social Networking and eLearning” into an easy to deliver SaaS solution.

Their new product LearnSocial is a revolutionary new way for businesses to train employees. Different than online learning, user manuals, or instructor lead training, LearnSocial is an online community that captures the power of social networks and fortifies with a state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) platform. Finally, an effective learning tool that allows you to better engage, track the engagement, correlate progress to training, and measure ROI.

Matt called it “a way to combine the brain trust hidden in all levels of your own organization with the magic of your own corporate social network!”

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