Cisco Partner Velocity: 5 VAR Marketing Trends Worth Watching
Roughly 200 solutions providers are set to attend Cisco Partner Velocity, Dec. 7-9 in Barcelona, Spain. Instead of pitching Cisco products to attendees, the conference agenda is packed with marketing, social media and video sessions to help VARs and managed services providers to build closer relationships with their customers. So what exactly can partners expect to see and hear at the event? Here are five potential themes worth noting.
First, a little background: This is the fourth-annual Cisco Partner Velocity conference. The entire event focuses on marketing best practices for VARs, MSPs and solutions providers. Luanne Tierney, VP of worldwide partner marketing at Cisco, drives the event. The VAR Guy had hoped to attend but apparently our resident blogger is focused on a major business launch sometime around Dec. 7. (Stat tuned.)
Now that you’ve got the background here’s a look at five key themes from Cisco Partner Velocity:
1. Mobile Marketing: Many solutions providers already sell mobile devices and mobile applications. Ironically, most VARs still lack mobile marketing expertise. “It’s not just enough to sell mobile devices,” says Tierney. “You’ve got to market through those mobile devices.” Alex Dunsdon, a mobile marketing guru, is set to lead a session on that very topic.
2. Social Media Meets Customer Nurturing: Sure, you know the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn basics. But how can you integrate your social media strategy with your CRM (customer relationship management) and customer nurturing strategy? Also, how can you engage potential customers over social media networks? Cisco’s SocialMiner solution aims to address those needs. David Nour, a managing partner from The Nour Group, will cover relationship creation and relationship capitalization.
3. How to Market Your Cloud Offerings: How are solutions providers branding, marketing and promoting their cloud computing efforts? VARs and solutions providers from non-competing regions are set to discuss that very topic.
4. Leveraging Video for Marketing: Hardly surprising, Cisco continues to bang the drum for video communications. Not by coincidence the Cisco Channels Blog has a video guru on staff. Her name: Alex Krasne. She’s set to discuss the power of video and live Internet streaming during the conference. To get a feel for her work check out the Cisco Channels Blog.
5. Lead Nurturing: So you’ve got a list of sales leads. But how do you nurture those leads over time, and transform the leads into loyal customers? Brian Carroll, executive director of Applied Research at MECLABS, will drive a session on that topic.
Less Is More
Take a closer look at the conference agenda and you’ll notice zero sessions about Cisco products and Cisco technologies. That approach — true business education — earned high praise from Cisco Partner Velocity attendees in 2007, 2008 and 2009. (Disclosure: The VAR Guy had a hand in developing some of the content for the 2007 conference.)
The VAR Guy will be listening closely to see if the latest Cisco Partner Velocity event once again delivers the goods.