Updated March 28 at 4:28pm

PBN Summit: social, mobile and big data are trending


PROVIDENCE - More than 250 members of the Rhode Island business community weathered the cold rain on Wednesday morning to attend the Providence Business News Social Media and Marketing Summit at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Providence-Warwick.

The two-panel event sought to provide insights and advice on how companies can use social media, mobile solutions and data analytics in an integrated marketing plan to increase leads and generate business.

The first panel featured Ryan Bonifacino, Alex and Ani’s vice president of digital strategy; TribalVision Founder and CEO Christopher Ciunci; Constant Contact Director of Regional Development for New England Corissa St. Laurent; and Brian Lamoureux, partner at the law firm of Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC.

Throughout the hour-and-a-half-long conversation, the panelists discussed both the benefits and potential dangers of networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter. The speakers touched on the “creepiness” of Facebook’s data-mining policies, while explaining how they could still be useful.

“The power of social media is that you can reach your customers’ friends … by real engagement,” said St. Laurent, adding that the power of social stems from the fact that the engagement is chosen by the user. “You can’t go gather a group of followers on Twitter, they have to make that decision.”

Ciunci explained the secrets his company uses to help its clients, and Bonifacino outlined Alex and Ani’s complex social media strategy from its small business roots to its current multi-million dollar success. The discussion turned legal with Lamoureux, who described a new bill in the R.I. House of Representatives that would limit the access schools and employers have to their employees’ social media sites.

Lamoureux and Ciunci stayed on for panel two and were joined by Joel Evans, vice president of strategic integration at Mobiquity, and Matt Sly, the vice president of products at Swipely.

The summit’s second panel centered on big data and ways that businesses can use it to learn more about their customers, as well as how mobile connections are changing how companies are marketing.

Panelists discussed strategies and shared examples of how businesses can leverage data that they may already have to craft custom marketing campaigns. The panel also touched on the importance of security, and how integrating mobile solutions can create better experiences for customers and retailers in the retail and B2B sectors. Audience members left with the five tips to help them market smarter in 2013.

Anyone who couldn’t attend today’s summit is invited to review the play-by-play action the #PBNSocialSummit Twitter hashtag. Both panels were moderated by PBN Editor Mark S. Murphy.

Pannone Lopes Devereaux and West and TribalVision were the event’s presenting sponsors. Co-sponsors included Constant Contact and AM790.


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