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At NCDM: Social marketing to drive business objectives

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Orlando, Fla.—Marketing's new emphasis on social media and analytics is transforming organizations' strategies, according to a panel of marketers at the Direct Marketing Association's NCDM conference and expo here today. Companies are racing to align social campaigns with business objectives and measuring them rigorously, panelists said. “When you're in the beginnings of using a new marketing element, you always have to start with getting a clear connection with the business,” said Sherry Liebo, VP-segment marketing and marketing communications at Cisco Systems. “I always encourage marketers to consider what business cares about.” Liebo said Cisco uses social media to monitor chatter from both customers and channel partners about suggestions, trends and problems. “Then we return that insight to the business. And when you respond to let customers know you're listening, it can go viral and make a big impact on the business.” For Cisco, a key social metric is share of voice, “as well as the tonality of that share of voice,” Liebo said. Another social metric for Cisco, Liebo said, is content consumption, both video and text. “As you monitor this, you can evolve your content to know what's effective much faster. Then you amplify the good stuff and take the rest of it down. That's been accelerating our business performance.” For Shiv Singh, global head-digital, at PepsiCo Americas Beverages, social media in support of business means measuring brand health. “When we know how our brand is doing, we know how that will translate directly into sales,” Singh said. PepsiCo—a company with a significant b-to-b reseller network in addition to its retail outreach—also uses social media analysis to track competitors, sometimes unearthing rivals' actions before they're announced, Singh said. Employee skill sets are also having an increasingly powerful impact on marketing, Liebo said. “Marketing analytics is a center of excellence for new hires,” she said. “Also, marketing professionals need to hone their writing skills. We want our marketers to be bloggers.”
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