Who knew the link between money, marketing and measurement would create such a buzz? I arrived to an over-packed room to attend my first South by Southwest panel, “Marketing Budgets Have Gone Social – Is It Working?”

Kathy Baughman, principal at ComBlu and panel moderator, kicked off the session with a Tweet-worthy quote, “If you don’t have social scar tissue, you’re not trying hard enough.” And let’s face it – she’s right, especially when it comes to nebulous and hard-to-measure ROI.

This tough topic was addressed by a panel that included our own SVP and Chief Communication Officer Julie Hamp, along with Kris Narayanan from Samsung and David Witt, formerly of General Mills, who recently moved to Hershey’s. Everyone emphasized both the difficulty – and the extreme need – to measure and prove what marketing can do in social circles. Funding and measurement are inextricably linked.

When it comes to measurement, those of us in Marketing, Communications and social media circles have always had our backs against the wall, with leadership asking for numbers to justify our work, if not our existence. But it’s a worth asking, especially when you’re a performance-driven company like PepsiCo.

Julie pointed to a few PepsiCo case studies about increasing engagement, including Pepsi Refresh, which has generated more than 87 million votes. And there’s examples linked directly to sales, such as the partnership with Lipton Brisk iced tea, Hess convenience stores and Foursquare, which provided consumers a buy one, get one free deal, resulting in 140 percent increase in Brisk sales in the test market.

It’s that type of collaboration, said Julie, which ultimately gets the results we’re seeking. She encouraged both agencies and corporations to act like a total media company by intersecting paid, earned, owned and evolved media.

So, sometimes, it’s not just earning our social media scars. Rather, it’s about thinking how we connect, innovate and lead to get great, measurable results.