What marketing news items deserve your attention this week?

For starters we found more proof that email marketing is alive and kicking, there’s a new study that shows chain restaurants may have received a death blow from Yelp, and more marketers are finally coming around to the fact there’s something to this social media stuff.

Take a closer look at this week’s hot topics below.

1. Email Is Far from Dead
According to the Direct Marketing Association’s just-released Power of Direct economic impact study, commercial email is bringing in $40.56 for every dollar spent on it this year. The study also points out that non-email Internet marketing, which includes display, search, and social networking, is expected to surpass direct mail in sales for the first time next year.

Bottom Line: The combination of email plus social media marketing is proving to be a powerhouse. Are you using both tools as part of your small business marketing tool kit?

2. How Yelp Is Killing Chain Restaurants
A new working paper by Michael Luca of Harvard Business School studies the effects of Yelp.com on the restaurant industry. His findings show that a one-star increase in rating leads to an increase of revenue between 5 and 9 percent for smaller, independent establishments.

Bottom Line: Good news for small businesses, because a more personal experience can translate into a better review and increased profits.

3. Chief Marketer Annual Survey Find Marketers Believe in Power of Social
About 73% of respondents to this year’s survey say they now incorporate social messaging of some kind into their marketing campaigns. That’s up from the 64% of respondents who said the same thing last year. The ability to reach customers at multiple touchpoints, rather than simply through one channel, remains the most often cited benefit of social marketing, according to 85% of this year’s respondents (81% in 2010).

Bottom Line: It’s probably safe to say that social media marketing is now a mainstream marketing tool. If you’re still on the fence, then it may be good time to re-evaluate your stance.

4. Facebook Launches New Metric: “People Talking About”
Facebook has added a new metric called “People Talking About” to its Page Insights analytics tool. The score will be visible to site users under the number of “Likes” a Page has. The idea is that a high “People Talking About” score will mean a Page features compelling content, and thus, should be attractive to new visitors.

Bottom Line: Creating content that engages your fans and interacting with people on your Page should still be your top priorities on Facebook.

5. If Google’s Management Doesn’t Use Google+, Then Why Should You?
It was revealed this week that Google’s leaders aren’t even using the company’s much buzzed-about social network. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have only posted publicly on Google+ 22 times since the network launched in June, and many executives don’t even have accounts.

Bottom line: While Google+’s userbase may be small (43 million at last count), and it doesn’t include some significant leaders of the company, those who do use Google+ appear to be an active and fiercely loyal bunch. With the site getting ready to open up business pages, now may be the time to get to know Google+.

What news items caught your eye this week? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.