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BMA-NY: New social rules mean 'expressions' trump impressions

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New York—Social media, a blip on the marketing radar screen only a year ago, has quickly become a mainstream channel, with customer “expressions' overtaking impressions as a key marketing metric, according to featured panelists at the Business Marketing Association of New York City's 2011 BtoB Outlook Breakfast today.

“Social insights for marketers previously have been largely tactical and reactive; but now we're seeing a move from monitoring of social sites to analytics,” said Paul Dunay, global managing director-services and social marketing at enterprise telecommunications company Avaya Inc.

Dunay initially installed social media monitoring at Avaya primarily as a customer-service tool. He's now also using social analytics to inform his other media-buying choices.

“It's about looking at where people get information about my company and going there as well,” he said. “In deciding on ad placements, this becomes almost like three degrees of separation.”

The new centrality of social was underscored by panelist Mike Perlis, president-CEO of Forbes Media, noting that the company is leveraging the content produced by Forbes journalists with that produced by contributors and marketers.

“At Forbes, we call it "the content continuum,' ” he said. “Today, everyone is a publisher on a multitude of devices. It's all circular, it all connects for expressions and impressions that are valuable in the social media landscape.”

Larry Kimmel, CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, said the association will cut down on its e-mail campaigns, in a nod to the more personal approach of social.

“Many b-to-b marketers have violated their relationship with customers,” Kimmel said. “We're now on the phone with 300 to 400 members about DMA offerings, instead of sending them e-mails.”

The BMA panel was moderated by Bob Felsenthal, publisher of BtoB and BtoBonline.com. He unveiled new BtoB research revealing a strong uptick in marketing budget growth as well as digital marketing.

According to BtoB's 2011 Marketing Outlook, an online poll last month of 426 b-to-b marketers, 52% will increase their marketing budgets this year, with an average increase of 13%. Also, 31% of marketers will spend at least half their budgets online this year.

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