Cisco Partner NWN Revs Up for Data-Driven Marketing

Sales and marketing is a journey, not a destination. Next up: data-driven marketing.

Lynn Haber

April 2, 2019

4 Min Read

It’s well-known in the channel-partner community that marketing hasn’t always been its strong suit. Even among partner businesses with a healthy attitude toward marketing, campaign-message targeting has been less than an exact science and ROI tracking is difficult.

But thanks to a preponderance of customer life-cycle data owned by Cisco, gold partner NWN Corp., an IT solutions and managed services provider, is ready to take its marketing efforts in a new direction, hopefully with improved results.

Attending her sixth Cisco Marketing Velocity event last week in New Orleans, Tina Dorsey, director of marketing at NWN, and a 16-year employee, understands that her mission is to be clear about the customers’ needs. She wants and to use real-time data to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. That, however, is a work in progress.


NWN’s Tina Dorsey

“The thing I’m most excited about today is data,” she told Channel Futures. “If I can go back and say to the sales team that I’ve targeted these 200 customers for ‘this’ solution, and that I saw the digital patterns about what a particular customer was doing, and when they were ready to buy – and that’s when I handed it off to you – well, that would be so much better than going after 25,000 prospective customers and not really being sure about who did what when.”

Dorsey is fortunate to work for a company with a marketing champion at the C-level who, a couple of years ago, merged the sales and marketing teams.

“Our sales leader was promoted at that time and he, along with our executive team, saw that sales and marketing were running in two separate directions,” she said. “They realized that it made more sense to tie the two organizations together.”

Transformation, however, doesn’t come easily or quickly. The key is for marketing to be able to show ROI and results about the success of its marketing campaigns to the sales team. Dorsey and her team of five marketers use a variety of tools today to become more data-driven. For example, they use Marketo – marketing automation software – Hootsuite and Google Analytics.

NWN, however, hasn’t run a data-driven campaign yet. For that, the company will work with Cisco to find out how this can help NWN specifically. Dorsey will contact her Cisco partner marketing manager to learn more about analytics tools that Cisco has in Partner Marketing Central, where Dorsey’s team goes to for various marketing assets, such as content and campaigns.

When Dorsey refers to the power of data and Cisco analytics tools, she’s referring to what Boon Lai, vice president of global partner marketing at Cisco talked about in his keynote at Marketing Velocity. He outlined three key trends having an impact on a partner’s business today and the impact they will have in the future: Digital is becoming a human extension; intelligence is the new currency; and the customer will be predictable in real time.

Lai noted that 61 percent of companies with an innovation strategy are using AI, data and intelligence to uncover new opportunities. He also told attendees that Cisco owns data across the customer life cycle, driving awareness, purchase and usage, and will share this unique intelligence with partners to help win and retain customers.

“I’d like to get started right away, say the next 30-60 days, because I have several campaigns that I’d like to get out and would like to try a data-driven campaign,” said Dorsey. “Based on Cisco’s data and our Cisco customer data, I want to find out where the white-space accounts are that are ripe for a specific solution.”

The ability to show ROI and the success of marketing campaigns with the sales team is what Dorsey believes will …

… strengthen the bond between sales and marketing.

ROI, she said, is one of several challenges for marketing today.

“Finding complete ROI is difficult. In our industry the sales cycle can be six months, nine months, sometimes a year. A lot of the time, it’s many [customer] touches, not just circling back to one thing, which is the age-old sales and marketing conversation: ‘Where did that customer come from?’”

So, for example, did a customer see an advertisement that prompted them to attend an event where they met a salesperson? And maybe the initial discussion was about one offer, but in the end, they purchased something else? This is not a linear effort.

Another challenge for marketing is keeping up with customer transformation.

“It’s about being able to be agile, especially with the way consumers want to consume and buy,” Dorsey said.

One key message she took away from Cisco Marketing Velocity is about the customer experience — to gain customer loyalty and trust. The other goes back to the data.

“Being able to target the customer and prospects at the right time with the right information and the right message,” Dorsey said.

That’s in contrast to blanketing a message and hoping that someone will read it.

“Now, with digital analytics, we have the ability to be more targeted.”

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like