Cisco: Data the Game Changer in Marketing

Cisco Marketing Velocity aligns with the digital transformation.

Lynn Haber

March 28, 2019

4 Min Read
Cisco Marketing Velocity New Orleans March 27, 2019

(Attendees pack the room at Cisco Marketing Velocity 2019 in New Orleans, March 27.)

CISCO PARTNER VELOCITY — At the first Cisco Marketing Velocity event since Cisco Partner Summit 2018, when the vendor put its transformational stake in the ground, attendees heard about harnessing the power of data and insights, world-class marketing in a digital world, and sales alignment and marketing business value — three important strategies that every B2B marketer needs to focus on or risk becoming obsolete.

They also heard a familiar theme – perform and transform – which Oliver Tuszik, senior vice president, global partner organization at Cisco, talked about at Partner Summit. Perform and transform refers to partners managing the daily business while building new opportunities.


Cisco’s Michael Hopfinger

“The good news is that Velocity has been doing this for about 10 years now. It’s the basic philosophy that underpins the whole program,” Michael Hopfinger, director, Americas, segments, architectures and partner marketing at Cisco, shared Wednesday with the 200 attendees at Americas Marketing Velocity 2019 in New Orleans. “It’s about helping our partners and ourselves continue to perform, but then truly take that next step from a marketing perspective to keep us in front of the pack.”

With Cisco pegging its customer opportunity at more than $4 billion in 2019, partners should want to get on board.

Increasingly, business executives are paying attention to marketing — and that’s good news. But with increased visibility comes increased accountability and the pressure to perform. At the same time, many partner businesses are transforming by moving to a recurring revenue model. What does all this mean for marketers?

“You can’t just attract and bring in new business; now it’s about post-sale and truly creating an experience that develops longer-term, more profitable customers,” said Hopfinger.

Throw into the mix that marketing itself is in the midst of a tech revolution with the proliferation of data being a true game changer.

The goal at Marketing Velocity is to share information that was practical for partner marketing organizations to implement today while also inspiring attendees think about their marketing transformation journey.

The morning keynote speakers included Jim Regan, co-founder and chief marketing officer at MRP, a predictive intelligence company, and Marcus Sheridan, author and speaker on business, sales, marketing, communication and leadership.

In his keynote – Predictive Analytics + Intent Data = Actionable Insights – Regan talked about how machine learning (ML) can help make predictions on prospects’ buying patterns and how marketers can turn these insights into a scalable account-based marketing (ABM) campaign.

“It’s all about the customer. We’re trying to engage the customer with just the right message, at just the right time,” said Regan. “It’s about having insight about the customer early — and not dependent on CRM.”

Customer engagement signals are everywhere – websites and landing pages, email and direct mailers, what they’re researching, and so on – demonstrating that the buyer’s journey is multichannel.

Regan’s message: “End-to-end, always-on, multichannel engagement with the customer, or account-based marketing, powered by analytics is now doable for organizations of all sizes,” he said.

In his keynote – “How Today’s Buyer Has Changed and What Your Business Must Do About It” – the fast-talking Sheridan, talked about trust, digital and the future of sales and marketing.

There’s no question that customer buying purchases are made online; in fact, industry gurus say that 70 percent of decisions are made before …

… shaking anyone’s hand. Most leadership teams, however, don’t understand this trend.

The focus of Sheridan’s talk was how to become the most trusted company in your space. He learned this strategy to save his own pool company during the economic downturn in 2008.

“In my simple pool-guy mind was, ‘Marcus, if you obsess over your customers’ questions, fears, worries, issues and concerns, and you’re willing to address them on the front end, during that 70 percent, you just might win the day. You might save your business.'”

So his company adopted a mindset of addressing the questions that customers ask of the sales team on the front end — the digital side of the conversation where the customer exists and is researching his company.

It required evolving the sales side to accommodate the ways customers buy.

“Customers won’t put their arms around content marketing, but they will around, “they’ll ask, we’ll answer,” said Sheridan.

Honesty and transparent content are the greatest sales and trust-building tools in the world.

“We taught sales how to integrate content into the sales process,” he said.

Cisco Marketing Velocity attendees got a very simple but strategic lesson from the pool guy into how to use digital to bring sales and marketing together to generate sales in the age of the digital consumer.

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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!

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