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Cisco London 2012 Sponsorship – More Than Choirboy Hair

There was a period in our house when Roger Black could do no wrong.  The young, tall, handsome runner with the choirboy hairstyle from Portsmouth had won medals at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and in my wife and her friend’s eyes had an effect akin to that which Achilles must have had on all the Greek women while they waited to hear of his success at Troy. So it was with some curiosity that I met Roger for the first time in his capacity as one of our London 2012 Olympic Ambassadors. Would he still have the athlete’s demeanour, a taught spring ready to tear out of the starting blocks or pounce on an  unsuspecting Trojan? Would the choirboy hair deny his 45 years?

I joined the Cisco UK & Ireland team fairly late into our London 2012 journey in August 2011 following four years in Cisco’s Services business in California and Europe.  I had been lucky enough in my earlier career while working for a consumer brand to sponsor the British Bobsleigh team across a period of two winter Olympics, culminating in a medal at Nagano. I knew the excitement that comes from involvement in world-class sport and while I had not been involved in the early decisions around Cisco’s sponsorship, I was very much looking forward to being involved in probably the only Olympics and Paralympics that will take place during my lifetime in Britain.

For Cisco, London 2012 is all about leveraging network technology to create a better Britain, a brilliant future as we see it. London 2012 is the starting gun for us, not the finishing tape as so many other sponsors see it. The legacy is what it’s all about, not just 5 weeks of incredible sporting challenge. So when we look at our 2012 marketing strategy, we always keep the end goal in mind. It is a tall order; we want to focus on the future beyond 2012 and at the same time benefit from the excitement and opportunity before and during the Games.

So how have we approached our marketing strategy for London 2012?

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Technology Buyers are Increasingly Social

According to SiriusDecisions, 70% of the buying process is now completed before the prospect is ready to speak with a sales representative. This means that marketing is moving further into the buying process as the prospective buyer uses new – and decidedly online – sources of information instead of a relationship with a sales professional to guide their purchasing decisions.

As B2B marketers we know it’s important to leverage social media as part of our marketing efforts and most of us are. However, it’s more important to pay attention to how our target buyers’ online behavior is changing overtime. How do IT professionals leverage social networks? What sources of content influence their purchase decisions?  Do IT professionals have a preference for certain formats of content over others? 

Answers to these questions can be found in the 2011 Social Media Index. Read More »

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Cisco NOW Van Program Ending

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and this is very true of the Cisco NOW Van Program. Cisco has decided to discontinue the US NOW Van program as of July 29th 2011 in accordance with Cisco business priorities for our next fiscal year.

Over the last 7 years, the Cisco NOW Van has crisscrossed North America, visiting every state in the United States and making the occasional foray into Canada. All in the name of wowing customers and prospects at Cisco and partner events with exceptional demonstrations of Cisco products. While we recognize the overwhelming support for the NOW Van from our partners, it’s time for the NOW Van to go the way of  music videos on MTV, the typewriter, and the ability for humans to write in cursive format.  

Not to worry though. The void created by the decommissioning of the NOW Van Program will be filled by new demonstration capabilities. We are currently exploring innovative techniques that will allow partners to showcase the latest Cisco products at non-Cisco locations throughout the country. In the interim, there are several options for both live and virtual demos available through Cisco and our Distribution Partners.  (Link requires CCO Login. You may want to log into Partner Marketing Central before clicking the link to ensure easy access)

Saying goodbye to the NOW Van is like saying goodbye to an old friend. But it is time… Adieu Now Van! The roads of North America just won’t be the same without you.

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Employer Branding at its Best

Mary Beth Reidy, The Conference BoardGuest Post by Mary Beth Reidy from The Conference Board

Developing a brand-based culture that spreads ownership and accountability for the brand beyond the executive team is the holy grail for most organizations.  The goal is to leverage talent, tools and social media to differentiate from competitors, increase employee engagement and customer satisfaction, and achieve measurable business results. 

We’re gearing up to hear such industry leaders as Starbucks, Cisco, JetBlue, UnitedHealth Group and many others discuss how they help their employees understand their role in upholding and delivering on the business strategy, brand promise and a great customer experience.  On June 16-17 in New York, The Conference Board Extending Your Brand to Employees Conference will explore best practices for eliciting employee behaviors that will strengthen your brand.  If you’d like to join us, just mention code “DC 1” and you’ll receive a $300 discount.  Details are here.

Here are a few nuggets from the 2009 Extending Your Brand to Employees Conference:

An employee value proposition (EVP) builds on a brand promise to define common values. An EVP ensures a consistent experience of the employment brand through recruitment, engagement, and retention activities. 

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Marketing Collateral & The IT Buyer

As a technology marketer, do you ever wonder how (or if) the marketing collateral you work hard to create is used by IT buyers in their purchasing decisions? What influence does this material actually have?

According to a report by Eccolo Media (Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Survey Report,, the quality, format, length and topic of marketing collateral substantially affects the purchase decision. The delivery channel through which assets are made available is also a factor.  

Here are four points that I thought particularly interesting from this report:

1)  A wide range of collateral types are used by decision-makers and influencers during a technology purchase, but not all are created equal in terms of influencing power.

Data sheets  were the most frequently utilized type of collateral by IT buyers (83%), followed closely by white papers (76%), case studies and success stories (67%), videos (59%), and podcasts (40%).

Interesting side  note – The use of video and podcasts/audio content continues to grow significantly with an increase of 8% for each of these vehicles over the prior year results.

What are the types of collateral that influence a purchasing decision the most? Read More »

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