Measurement will be a top social priority for CMOs in 2011. Our webinar Wednesday featured insights from our survey of The CMO Club, in which 74% of CMOs surveyed predicted they would finally tie social efforts to hard ROI this year.

The webinar featured a panel of CMOs including Ted Hong of Fandango, Jim Macchitelli of Famous Dave’s, and Erin Nelson, our current CMO and former CMO of Dell. Pete Krainik, founder of The CMO Club, rounded out the lineup. The group presented major findings from Bazaarvoice’s annual report, CMOs on Social Marketing Plans for 2011, along with tips and examples based on their companies’ social successes.

Here are a few of the highlights from the Q&A session that wrapped the event. Forgive us – responses have been edited for clarity. For the full Q&A and the results of the survey, you can watch the full webinar free here.

How are you using mobile today, and how do you see it playing into the future for your company?

Ted Hong, CMO, Fandango: “For Fandango, mobile has been a huge, huge change for us. We started pretty early in mobile. We launched a WAP site back in 2005, and were on several of the carrier decks – if you went to [your phone] menu and hit “entertainment” or “movies,” you would connect over to us. Then in ‘07, we updated our WAP site to be iPhone optimized.

We didn’t really get on the app trend until March ’09, with iPhone and subsequently Palm, Blackberry, and Android. Launching the app was really the BIG change. Up until that time, through our 1-800 number and our WAP site, we were looking at a couple percent of our sales coming through mobile. It just really was not a big channel for us.

As soon as the app started to take off, within six months we had tripled the percentage we were selling through mobile. And now, we are routinely over double digits – even over 20% [of sales] during certain hours on Friday and Saturday night are coming through mobile.

Really, we think it’s fundamentally changed the value proposition of Fandango. Before you were tethered to your computer, either at home or at work, and you had to make the decision to purchase on Fandango much earlier. The average time [before theatre show time] for a purchase was close to four hours. With mobile, we’re seeing that it’s closer to an hour-and-a-half to two hours. It’s allowed us – and consumers – to take Fandango on the go, so you have movies at your fingertips.

We’re only going to see that continue to grow. I think mobile web and mobile applications are going to be one of the huge, game-changing things for a lot of folks in the next two to four years.

Which brands do you think are doing a great job at driving ROI with social marketing?

Erin Nelson, CMO, Bazaarvoice: One of the ones that I think is really great is [our client] L.L.Bean. L.L.Bean is over a hundred years old, and probably not a brand that you consider “ultra-progressive.” But they’ve actually moved faster toward the idea of social intelligence than most brands have. They first started by doing a great job engaging the voice of the customer, and understanding things like ratings and reviews.

They began learning that the insights that they were getting were so powerful, they actually changed the way that their company operated. They changed the reports that they looked at. They changed way products were developed. Their merchandisers now literally look at social as the number one way they understand whether their products are doing well or not. They look at things like whether or not their products are getting five-star reviews, which tends to be much more leading-edge for them than a return rate, which they’re not going to be able to measure until eight to ten weeks later.

That’s what I love about companies like L.L.Bean. Not only have they clearly shown that [social] drives to ROI – they can show when they’ve got customer engagement how the penetration on their website and the conversion increases, and how their conversion rate in catalogues increases – but they’ve really taken it to the next level. The voice of the consumer has changed the way they operate as a business.

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