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Long but terrific New York Times article on where social media fits into marketing and advertising today. Can it sell? The writer ponders its ability to move merchandise and its value to society in Can Social Media Sell Soap?

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How important is ease of customer service to you? To your business? Check out these statistics on customer service and social media at Sprout Insights.

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Are you mindful of relationships with customers? (And creative in nurturing them?) If you thought the Sprout Insights story above was interesting, try this: Here’s L.L. Bean: The importance of relationships in CRM and social in CSR from Brian Solis’ blog. Is a great story, a worthy read and has a terrific short video.

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Wish Facebook was more attractive? Check out this designer’s beautiful vision for a redesigned Facebook from The Next Web.

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Did you ever stand in line for hours to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean? Me, too! The folks at Disney are about to unleash a whole new way for customers to use their parks this spring. In the New York Times’ At Disney Parks, a Bracelet Meant to Build Loyalty (and Sales), take a look at how evolving technology can vastly improve the customer’s experience.

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If you missed this amongst the native ad mumbo jumbo main story, you may find these 5 Marketing Predictions for 2013 by Mashable to be quite interesting.

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Do you use your contact database on a regular basis to reach out to clients? How often do you clean up the records? If you can’t remember, you may want to Resolve to Have a Better Contact Database in 2013.

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Art fan? This creative artist crafts sculptures from old encyclopedias. Take a look at Design Taxi.

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If you’re an entrepreneur, hopefully you’re already doing what you love. But there’s always the possibility it isn’t what you love anymore. Or it’s not what you thought it would be. A great way to start the year: Seth Godin’s Doing what you love (but maybe you can’t get paid for it).

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In Four Types of Visual Content That Cut Through the Noise, Marketing Profs provides a short list of great tools to reach out to your prospects online. Which one(s) of these are best for your business?