Possibly by now you have heard the buzz around mashup technologies, and how they are providing end-users with new and enhanced ways of viewing information from various systems. Or, as one of our U.K. users asked, you might wonder, "Are they related to bangers and mash?"
The best way to describe mashup technologies is with a couple of examples. The first is housingmaps.com, in which Google Maps is "mashed together" with apartment rental information from craigslist to show the location of available apartments in a given city. You may even be creating mashups yourself if you are using an RSS feed reader, which in turn allows you to “mash” content from more than one site. Not surprisingly, we are seeing more and more mashups available in the consumer Web, where Google, Yahoo, and other leading consumer-based sites want to provide an enhanced end-user experience.
Where this gets interesting for the BtoB marketer is the growing use in the business Web spawned by on-demand leader Salesforce.com. Business enterprises are taking note. According to a 2007 InformationWeek Web 2.0 survey, 43 percent of enterprises surveyed are finding mashups "very useful," and the general consensus among analysts and industry pundits is that the adoption of mashup technologies is accelerating, and will continue to do so.
From a marketing perspective, the power of mashups comes from the ability to put relevant content from your marketing efforts in the hands of your sales team. Marketers can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the sales process by providing salespeople with easy access to campaign response information, Web-site activity, email marketing results and overall ranking (commonly called lead score) of the specific lead assigned to the salesperson. And the power is that the information is real-time, bringing together CRM data with marketing results in a simple, easily consumed fashion.
So, if you start hearing a myriad of new Web 2.0 and mashup terminology, i.e., SOA, AJAX, WSAPI, XML, Widgets, Pipes, etc., all you really need to remember is ROI. Mashups provide value to your sales team and visibility into all your hard work in nurturing those leads for sales.