Marketing Challenge: Microsoft in Web 2.0?

I'm going to take a Web 2.0 (read: collaborative, social-network based) approach to a business/marketing challenge.

What should Microsoft do to credibly make a case as a legitimate participant in a Web 2.0 for business conference?

Note: Follow this topic on Facebook (Marketing 2.0 group and Seth Godin is a Genius Group) and on LinkedIn Answers


Let's be honest, Microsoft doesn't have a ton of cred as a "player" in the Web 2.0 space (see some responses to this question on LinkedIn).

Microsoft is a gold sponsor (and I am leading the charge w/T-3 weeks, as of yesterday) at the Web 2.0 for Business Conference in Reston, VA (agenda) on Nov. 1st.

For the sake of argument, let's agree on the defining characteristics of Web 2.0 (from Wikipedia) as a platform and what makes up Web 2.0 applications.

In many respects, Web 2.0 is about free software (you make money off of data) and "Open-ness" either through source code, API, etc. Clearly, some (uh, much) of this is at odds with the MS M.O.!

Assets to Leverage

I've got the following to deploy at the conference

  1. one of the best field technologists throughout Microsoft
    (not only does he know MS technology inside out, but he "gets" Web 2.0)
  2. local systems integrators with experience building highly collaborative solutions on top of SharePoint
  3. a worldwide installed base of over 200 million people who know how to use Microsoft Office and Windows (with varying degrees of skill 🙂 )
  4. hundreds of millions of users who use Windows Live, Hotmail, and MSN each month
  5. a lot of IT administrators whose careers are based on implementing and supporting Microsoft infrastructure
  6. gumption and a willingness (read: necessity) to break the mold (here's one tactic that worked well for Seth Godin)
  7. brand recognition 🙂 and 🙁
  8. a booth (yippee!) [It is just a 6 foot table.  We have banners and Internet connectivity.]


With a marquee list of presenters and attendees, all I want to do is gain permission from booth visitors to a follow-on conversation with Microsoft or one of our partners for how we can help them.

Web 2.0 is not only about technology, but it's about sharing and communicating ideas in a new way.

It's about social networking, collaboration, user-generated content and in this respect, Microsoft does have a lot to offer.

SharePoint is a first-rate collaborative environment. There are 4,768 blogs (that's 6%) at Microsoft and a simple policy re: posting (and there's an article from a few months back-[link please!]- describing how MS bloggers have helped change perceptions of the company), and of course Scoble's book on Blogging ROI, based on MS experience.


This is where I am looking for community input. (Not going isn't an option 🙂 !)

I think SharePoint has got to be at the center of the story for enterprise customers and government.

I also think we have to be transparent about the relative position of weakness (at least in perception) that we have (for now) in this space. (e.g. How about a wiki where attendees can update/modify a document called "What Should Microsoft's Web 2.0 strategy be?"


It's three weeks away. What would you do?

Comments (8)
  1. Connor Marsden says:

    I didn’t see any mention of Silverlight as a part of your Web 2.0 commentary.  This is such an important tool that Microsoft will expand to build interactive content on the web.  It is cross-platform and should quickly provide credibility to Microsoft as a platform provider in this space.  Just my 2 cents…

  2. Nelson Taggart says:

    I think the Sharepoint strategy is good but I think it’s still a very confusing platform.  While the technical merits are there and it’s customization components are incredible the brand recognition of Sharepoint is shaky at best.  It can do TOO much out of the box.  I would encourage you to entertain a few hosting provider in these conversations along with the Sharepoint ISV’s to really get this ball rolling.

  3. Connor Marsden says:

    Nelson makes a great point.  SharePoint sometimes reminds me of the cartoon series "The Smurfs".  In the cartoon series, they would use the word "Smurf" to describe everything and you could only tell what they meant when you took the word in context of what was being said.  

    When a customer is descibing their business problems, our common response is that SharePoint is the cure.  This causes an indentity crisis for business decision makers who are critical to get onboard to drive this process.  

    For longterm success, we need the business owners to deeply understand the SP components so they can deploy the solution in a structured fashion by blending process with technology.  

  4. Victor Flores says:


    The Web 2.0 demonstrations I have seen, they use Google Maps in their demonstration as well as search engine of Google. since Microsoft will be a sponsor of the event, you can ask them to use the Microsoft serch engine and MS MapPoint.

    Also, Web 2.0 easily interfaces with several web platforms including those from Microsoft. I will request that the presentation uses the tools provided by Microsoft.

    I have a copy of the PPT presentation of Web 2.0. Let me know if you need it.

    Good luck,

    Victor Flores


  5. Last week I introduced the Marketing Challenge: Microsoft in Web 2.0? for a conference on Nov. 1. Now

  6. Our game plan for the Web 2.0 for business is coming along . Perfect? No. Disaster? I don’t think so.

  7. There are two sides to the ROI equation for today’s conference. On the one hand, we generate positive,

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