Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Marketer-Friendly Mashup Tool

Mashups are a great way to attract attention and create engagement among customers and non-customers alike. The Frito-Lay contest for SuperBowl08 is an example of providing some tools and allowing users to make their own videos. This spring Heinz ran a college challenge contest in which they provided content that student teams could “mash up” in their own way to make ketchup ads.

Mash up sites have been around for awhile. There is AdCandy, which has gone through multiple iterations. Presently JetBlue and and Monster Energy Drink are running slogan contests, so they appear to be working on the mashup capabilities.

Many sites offer mashup tools. For marketers, most of these these are ugly places where they speak languages like JAVA, AJAX, Flash, ATOM, and lots of others that marketers just don’t speak. Until now, creating your own enterprise mashup--for either internal productivity or external marketing--has required some assistance, either a developer to do custom programming or an API like one of the many offered by Yahoo!’s Flickr site. Google Maps is very popular with local businesses because they can incorporate the mapping information into their listings and sites with ease.

The new web service announced by Microsoft last week at the Web 2.0 Summit last week in San Francisco may finally have made mashups a DIY activity for marketers. One of the product developers gives an interesting demo in this video.

Click here to view video.

Microsoft has further information on their Popfly site and – if you plan to call in a developer, background information on the Sliverlight site.

Now the challenge is to figure out how to use mashups effectively for marketing purposes. Contests are fine, but there must be more. Any ideas?

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