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Cisco Partner Marketing Update: Priorities, Campaigns, Social Media, and More

November 21, 2011
at 10:29 pm PST

Last week, we held a TweetChat with Cisco’s new Global Partner Marketing VP Amanda Jobbins.

During the hour-long Twitter session, we covered a lot of ground--Amanda’s Partner Marketing priorities, new campaigns for partners, what she heard on her listening tour with partners, and ways that Cisco is helping partners use social media.

We also learned some interesting factoids about Amanda and how she’s adjusting to life in the United States after living in the U.K.

If you missed the chat, we’ve got a recap of what was discussed, including Amanda’s answers to some great audience questions. This is the first of many discussions Amanda plans to have with partners and wants to continue the dialog to ensure that marketing programs reflect what partners need. You can send along questions and comments to her directly @amandajobbins.

We started the chat off with a few interview questions for Amanda to warm up, then answered audience questions:

Q1: What are your key priorities for Cisco Partner Marketing?

@amandajobbins: I have 5 goals: brand/value, online/social communities, marketing enablement, demand marketing, & ecosystem.

Two additional driving principles: communications & partner insight.

Q2: Cloud is the word on everyone’s lips…how are you helping partners market cloud?

@amandajobbins: Cisco is planning to have a cloud campaign as one of our major new initiatives.

Q3: What about other kinds of campaigns?

@amandajobbins: Potential campaigns will focus on the data deluge & proliferation of devices.

Q4: How will you support partners on campaigns?

@amandajobbins: Cisco will offer partners co-marketing funds to ensure they align marketing w/ Cisco’s campaigns.

Q5: Can you name a marketing campaign (technology or otherwise) that was uber successful? What made it a success?

@amandajobbins: Blendtech’s Will It Blend is 1 example I love. It’s funny, raises visibility & shows off product.

Q6: You’ve been on a listening tour, what are partners telling you that they need in terms of marketing help?

@amandajobbins: From basic how to do social media, outbound/inbound, how to market cloud, ways to create campaigns…lots!

& we created a new ebook 4 partners w/ to help get started w/social.

Also partners want help to truly differentiate in the market & this involves tackling new business models as well.

Will be creating programs and revamping existing ones based on feedback, so stay tuned.

Q7: @theVarGuy said that Cisco is revamping its communities & social media…what does that mean?

@amandajobbins: Want to make it easier 2 work w/Cisco so we’re looking exactly how partners want to communicate w/ us (& what isn’t working).

Q8: What’s your favorite social media tool?

@amandajobbins: Twitter because I can send out a quick tweet and get feedback instantly or listen to what partners are saying.

Partners, which social media tools do you use most?

Now, onto the audience questions…

This question came in from a partner through this blog:

Great to see Cisco improving outbound marketing tools 4 channel partners. Those in SME space have been starved 4 outbound campaigns that fit their need. How will you address this need?

@amandajobbins: Actually Cisco have developed some great campaigns for SMEs around their need to Secure, Connect and Communicate.

Any new programs or offerings you’re launching for partners?

@amandajobbins: We r relaunching Cisco Partner Communities in January. Look 4 simplified experience & better ways to network w/fellow partners.

There are lots of good marketing books out there. what’s your favorite?

@amandajobbins: Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point I love. Love those mavens!

Also of course G. Moore adapting diffusion of innovation curve to his crossing the chasm. Plus anything by Kotler

What offerings can partners expect under Partner Led?

@amandajobbins: Partner-led is our new approach to let partners take the lead. We will enable you with campaigns.

Are you planning to help your partners with social media? training or content or content syndication?

@amandajobbins: Yes we will. We already have social media enablement as part of our offerings to partners.

…campaigns aligned to our major marketing initiatives & provide marketing help to execute them.

With B2B sales cycles lengthening, the engagement with customers via social media is key for our partners.

What’s one thing B2B companies can do to leverage LinkedIn better to create relationships?

@amandajobbins: On LinkedIn make posting a priority by putting in your schedule. Reach out to contacts regularly.

There are sub groups in LinkedIn by target audience e.g. CMO groups. If your CMO/CEO/CIO participates they create connections.

What can partners expect from Partner Velocity now?

@amandajobbins: [Had] 3 virtual Velocity engagements (which you can view here) & a lot more planned for next year.

Virtual Partner Velocity sessions [so far]: innovation w/ @Nilofer, LinkedIn for B2B w/@HeatherMargolis, & presentation secrets w/@NancyDuarte.

You’ve been quite busy in your new role. Have you had a chance to explore your new surroundings?

@amandajobbins: Thanks for asking! I have seen a minor league baseball game in San Jose & plan to go skiing!

What is PRM and how will it simplify things at Cisco?

@amandajobbins: PRM is partner relationship mgmt. It’s how we collaborate together on sales opportunities & building relationships.

What was the most surprising thing you heard during your listening tour?

@amandajobbins: surprising thing partners said was help me raise marketing relevance with my leadership & align to sales.

Re: listening tour -- partners want help on how to do social media, outbound/inbound, cloud mktg, ways to create campaigns…lots!

From listening tour, also one big ask from partners is to simplify communications.

We will be creating programs and revamping existing ones based on feedback from you our partners, so stay tuned.

How will Cisco highlight partner specializations?

@amandajobbins: we plan to help call out our specialized partners in our marketing campaigns.

Do you have advice for marketing to a global audience?

@amandajobbins: On mktg to a global audience -- there are universal themes. Connection, Family, Health….

So you can have campaigns or ‘stories’ that appeal globally but you must be sensitive to local dynamics.

How do services fit into your priorities?

@amandajobbins: Services for our partners are critical. We want to help partners expand their services offerings for differentiation.

Any tips on how to get customers to participate in case studies and news releases? Always a struggle to be able to name them.

@amandajobbins: On customer references it’s always tough. Can tie to some small reward e.g. discount or other exposure benefits.

Also key to really educate your sales team. They want references for referral selling so they need to engage w/ you.

Thanks to all of the partners who participated, whether you tweeted in a question or simply joined and read through the tweets. This is the first of many engagements and Amanda takes your feedback to help shape programs and offerings. If you don’t have a Twitter account, don’t worry, you can post your comment or question right here on the blog.

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