As we begin 2009, not only is it difficult for companies to attract new business, it's tough to keep your existing customers. Budgets are sliced and orders from the top down are 'do more with less' - which is actually the theme of Web 2.0 Expo this year. Even if your customers are happy, budget restrictions may prevent them from repeat business.Regardless of your vertical, getting to know your customers - especially in a down economy - is vital for success. If done correctly, there is opportunity to grow market share and strengthen your brand and its positioning.Utilizing enterprise 2.0 tools to capture customers' data and feedback enables an organization to take a transactional relationship and give it more dimension. Overtone Inc has take this concept of listening and developed a brand-monitoring solution called the Open Mic Integrated Listening System which delivers contextualized insights based upon what your customers are saying. Open Mic works in 4 steps: collection, categorizing, analyzing and acting.The feedback is in real time, allowing brand managers to gauge consumer sentiment, both positive and negative, the moment its live. This in turn allows companies to act accordingly and respond just as fast, ultimately expediting and strengthening the reaction between company and customer.The contextualized insights can decipher what the feedback is actually saying. By way of example, if an Adidas customer wrote 'My new shoes are sick' and a unhappy McDonald's customer wrote 'That burger made me sick' - the listening system is able to distinguish that the first comment is positive and the second comment is negative.In perusing the list of benefits that Open Mic delivers, one really stands out. The cost saving value proposition. Their solution is scalable and the engine processes text comments in seconds, eliminating the need for a person to sift through verbatim texts.Building a brand has become a two-way conversation; today the enterprise 2.0 tools exist to ensure feedback is taken in the right direction. Are you listening?