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An Afternoon of Marketing Inspiration

Last week I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Ad Age CMO Strategy Summit in San Francisco.  It was great to spend the afternoon with hundreds of fellow marketers who were taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss how brands are innovatively delivering new, fresh ideas to their customers.

There were truly inspiring presentations by amazing brands such as Target, GoPro and Coca-Cola discussing how the marketing landscape is changing due to all the data we are can access and collect. Here are some of my reflections on the powerful marketing programs being deployed by some of my fellow CMO’s:

CMO Blair Christie

B2ME (Business to Me) Marketing is in, B2B or B2C Marketing is Out:

With the explosion of data, new target audiences, new media vehicles and new selling channels, understanding the individual behind who you are marketing to is extremely important. As Kraft Foods’ CMO Deanie Elsner pointed out in her presentation, there is a new era of “agile marketing” or marketing in a digital age, where we are moving from broad buying media to buying individuals – agnostic of medium – driven by fragmented media consumption on multiple devices. With all the rich, customer data available, brands need to provide the right message in the right medium at the right moment to stay relevant with customers to drive purchase decisions.

The Innovation Pipeline is Key to Growth and Differentiation with Brands

Target’s “Made to Matter” campaign is doing this well by cultivating a partnership of shared values. Target CMO Jeff Jones spoke on a panel with Neil Grimmer of Plum Organics and Eric Ryan of Method on how Target works with various leading organic, sustainable and natural brands like Plum Organics and Method, giving them a platform to launch their products and make them more accessible to the general public. In return, Target has been able to secure a pipeline of unique innovation to offer its customers. As a mom of three children and a frequent Target shopper, I personally love this campaign!

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Got Video? 5 Tips to Help You Create Compelling Video

In February 2012 179 million U.S. Internet users watched nearly 38 billion online videos, according to industry research.  Predictably, YouTube statistics are colored with consumer viewing behavior. But B2B online video viewing grew 27% from 2010 to 2011 and eMarketer estimates that B2B spending on online video will rise as much as 55% this year. Which makes it the fastest growing ad format in 2012. In fact, your B2B audience expects you to engage them via video. Companies that don’t utilize video as part of their marketing efforts are likely to use lead generation opportunities to competitors that do.

Having online video in your mix is a priority for marketing in the coming year. Here five tips to help  you create compelling videos to drive your business:

 Content is all around you – You already posses a wealth of content that can be reused, recycled and repurposed into online video. It’s tucked into the deep recesses and dank corners of your business. White papers, promotional materials, training videos, presentations developed for product briefings, keynote presentations given by your executive teams at conferences, panel discussions, interviews – the list is endless if you really look. Identify it, categorize it, and leverage it to engage your customers and prospect.

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5 Ideas for Leveraging LinkedIn for Business

I was recently asked by a Cisco partner which social platform was better for B2B marketing – Facebook or LinkedIn?  My response went something like this – We’re all using Facebook to connect and share with our family and friends and with 800 million users, Facebook is hard to ignore, but do we really want our professional networks and personal lives to intermingle to this extent? There is always the option to create a separate Facebook page solely for business purposes. However, these types of pages are more likely to be successful for B2C companies where the target audience is already a regular Facebook user and  the product or service they’re selling is a lifestyle fit.

On the other hand, LinkedIn is a social platform designed specifically for the business professional.  It’s used by over 160 million people worldwidewho did nearly 4.2 billion professionally-oriented searches within the platform in 2011 and are set to surpass more than 5.3 billion this year. If I only had $10 to spend on social marketing and I had to choose between LinkedIn and Facebook, I would choose LinkedIn. The audience is more targeted, more qualified for the B2B technology market we focus on and the platform offers many ways to engage with this audience.

Here are five thoughts on how to maximize LinkedIn for business:

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IT Decision Makers are People Too

Sometimes as B2B technology marketers, we experience a little tunnel vision when it comes to our target audience. There’s a tendency to think that there is a hard line dividing business buyers from consumers; that the marketing methods we must use to reach our intended audience are so unique that they are unrelated to consumer marketing techniques and that practices from consumer-oriented marketing can’t possibly be applied to B2B buyers. As it turns out, IT decision makers have a lot in common with personal technology buyers when it comes to online behavior, media consumption and brand reception.    

Consider these similarities noted from a recent TechTarget report and their implications for marketing:

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CRM, Metrics and the B2B Marketer

Marketing is transforming. We’re aligning closer to sales, owning more of the revenue pipeline and being held more accountable. To be a successful marketer we need understand our customers’ and potential customers’ needs and behaviors so that we can respond effectively with appropriate messages about our products and services. CRM systems allow us to do this. The data housed inside a CRM system can help close sales faster, retain customers, find new customers, and offer superior customer service – all things that ultimately increase revenue. So why is it that  less than 50% of executives are fully satisfied with the business benefits of CRM? How can we ensure that at least for marketing that we are maximizing the investment in our CRM tools and leveraging them to drive the right kind of engagement with customers and prospects?

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