If you don't know MarketingCharts, you can check it out at MarketingCharts.com. It's not too hard to guess what type of site it is - basically, it's a lot of marketing-related charts and graphs. But if that kind of thing interests you (like it does me), you should definitely check it out. I am subscribed to the daily newsletter, so I receive four or five charts in my inbox every day.

Last week, one of the reports I received in my daily MarketingCharts email, conducted by Knowledge Networks, claimed "Social Media Generates Hype; Fails to Deliver Marketing Punch." Well, for as big an advocate of social media marketing as I am, I don't have to tell you that this article put me on the defensive. The basic premise of the study seems to be that most people surveyed do not go to social sites to make purchasing decisions, or at least claim that they do not. I would argue, however, that social media has much more to do with branding; something that affects consumers' purchasing decisons in much more subtle and not necessarily conscious ways.

But in lieu of crafting a complete rebuttal to this study, I thought I would point out a MarketingChart in today's email that proved the value of social media marketing quite nicely. It's titled "80% of Recession Shoppers Want Companies with 'Human Face,'" and it was put together by Euro RSCG Worldwide. How does a company give itself a human face, you ask? This is not an easily answered question, but I do know that a powerful social media campaign can go a long way towards making the consumer feel more connected with your company on a personalized level. The article goes on to state that "some 78% of respondents think the internet is a very important part of the shopping experience, even when purchases are not made online."

Andrew Benett, co-CEO of Euro RSCG New York and global chief strategy officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide, is quoted in the article as saying "Consumers find value in feeling smart about purchase decisions and investing in brands they trust. The key [for marketers] is to break through consumer anxiety and reassure customers that they are making intelligent purchase decisions for themselves, their families and the community at large." To my ears, this all sounds like a perfect opportunity for social media marketing.

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