It goes without saying: The Web is very different from what it once was.

CNN and other "old media" stalwarts such as NBC, ABC, and the New York Times are no longer the top-ranked, most highly trafficked websites. Now, the darlings of Web 2.0 and beyond are Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

It's clear that Web habits are changing fast. In terms of clicks per minute, the world's attention is dominated not by traditional content-based sites but by a set of radically different, interactive, community-based tools and services.

We no longer use the Web just for browsing, we use it for doing: posting videos, creating content, sharing things, and connecting with people and organizations.

Welcome to "the Engaged Web," a new world where passive websites have been replaced by engaging Web applications and where visitors have become users. That new world has three important implications for marketers:

  1. You've got an exciting new universe of opportunities for engaging today's Web user.
  2. Your users expect richer, more-rewarding experiences; anything less is dull.
  3. If your Web applications don't meet users' expectations, users will find some that do.

The Engaged Web takes some of the best Web 2.0 applications of the past few years and recasts them, blending new user experiences with enterprise applications such as customer relationship management (CRM).

Those applications, when managed effectively via a content management system (CMS), can be combined and used in concert to engage key audiences. The result: surprising commercial returns, ranging from serious new revenues to delighted customers who become involved with your brand.

So, What About CRM?

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AJ Harring is president of EPiServer US (, a provider of platforms for web content management, online communities, and digital marketing.