February 1, 2011, 1:51 PM

Returns from social media become more important for marketing execs

A Bazaarvoice survey finds that 93% of marketers will plan social media campaigns in 2011.

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Chief marketing officers are looking more closely at returns from social marketing initiatives, suggests a new survey from consumer ratings and reviews vendor Bazaarvoice. The findings are based on responses from 175 chief marketing officers who work for business-to-business and consumer product companies.

81% of respondents say they intend to track how social media impacts revenue in 2011, up from 72% last year, according to the Bazaarvoice Social Marketing Survey. 93% of senior marketers say they will use some form of user-generated content to inform their product and service decisions in 2011, up from 90% in 2010.

But marketers are somewhat uncertain on how they’ll actually measure the impact—only 40% of respondents say they have successfully measured social media’s return on investment for at least some social media channels, such as company or brand blogs. 48% of respondents who have tracked social media returns says they can measure the impact of company or brand blogs and 56% can measure the returns from company or branded communities. 59% say they are able to tie returns to product ratings and reviews.

The survey says the focus on returns and the use of social media content in decision-making shows that senior marketers better understand the potential of social media to uncover insights that can be put to use. “CMOs have moved beyond fear and skepticism to embrace social media as the source for strategic intelligence that can transform their products, brands and business,” says Erin Mulligan Nelson, chief marketing officer of Bazaarvoice. “Social is much more than a campaign; it is now a launch pad for innovation.”

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