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Cisco Partner Velocity Workshops Hit the Road

Cisco Velocity Workshops

…. And we’re headed south with Atlanta being our first stop this week.  These workshops are an extension of sorts to the annual Partner Velocity event with which some of you are already familiar, but with a little bit of a twist. We’ve partnered with MarketingSherpa to provide a deeper dive on marketing strategies and tactics that will help our partners enhance their marketing efforts around Cisco Architectures. It’s all about your marketing in action.

Topics range from analytics and metrics, list development strategies, social media, lead nurturing, virtual events, search engine marketing and more.  Interested in hearing more? I’ll be tweeting from the event. Follow me on Twitter  at www.twitter.com/rwhitecabbell and look for hash tag  #CiscoVW.

 

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Top 5 Best Practice Recommendations from Cisco PR

 Podium & MicrophoneYesterday, my colleague, Julie Sarpy, and one of her partners, had a great conversation about PR with our resident channel-focused PR guru, Gareth Pettigrew. Julie shared her extraordinarily detailed notes from this meeting with me and I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you. There is some very useful information included here -- from a Top 5 best practice recommendations to some very practical advice on what you can reasonable do with limited resources. 

Top 5 PR Best Practices from Cisco

1. Executive sponsorship:  PR is great way to increase your companies visibility.  You will need executive sponsorship in order to do it.  Executives need to be committed to PR from the get go.  Work with the senior executive team to see if it’s something you want to explore.  It’s not best executed as part of the tactical marketing mix.  It’s like pushing a rock up the hill. You need to go to top of the hill and let the rock roll down.  Marketing managers can’t drive PR.  People listen to senior execs.  First, develop the idea of what you want to achieve on a PR front and then go to exec before starting to execute it. Doesn’t necessarily have to be the CEO, but someone at the top who reports into the CEO.

2. Trusted advisor:  You will need to find a resource who can be a trusted advisor..someone with specific skill set in PR and make it a long term commitment.  Someone who really understands your business to help you identify a strategy on the PR front and can execute it for you.  Be cautious of engaging with large PR agencies.  If you’re a small fish in a large pond, you won’t get the attention you deserve.  Look for small consultants (one man shops in your local area that you feel comfortable with) or former journalists due to tremendous turnover in the publishing/media landscape in the past few years and these people have tremendous skills and can be had at a cheaper price than a large agency. 

3. Don’t boil the ocean: You need to be very focused with what you’re going to achieve. Tell a complete story of how the core technologies, e.g. unified communciations and data center, work together.  Don’t try to do too many tactics..focus on doing a one or two things really well & gain momentum in time.

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Attracting the IT Buyer with Online Marketing

According to a recent TechTarget survey, 99% of the IT professionals polled rely on the web and search engines as their primary source for information gathering during their purchase cycle for technology products.  Add to this the fact that the average technology lead consumes 20 to 50 pieces of content within a 60 day period – and that those pieces of content are not necessarily vendor-specific, the question becomes how can we, as marketers, make sure that our online marketing is attracting our targeted prospects?

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Guest Post – Creating a Customer-centric Marketing Plan

The following is a guest post from Laura Patterson. Laura is President and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing and author of three books, Gone Fishin’, Measure What Matters and Metrics in Action, and dozens of marketing and branding related articles. Laura has also been a popular speaker at Cisco Partner Velocity events and presented last week on customer-centric marketing plans, as part of our Virtual Velocity webinar series.

The purpose of a marketing plan is simple -- to create a navigation and communication tool that serves as a roadmap for finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers. Because marketing is about creating customers, a marketing plan must be customer centric. It must focus on how to maximize the value to, for, and of customers. 

Consequently, the marketing plan must be developed with the customer in mind.  This means you need some information, information about your customers, your market and competition.  So while it may seem that a ready, fire, aim approach is faster, if your resources are limited, you may run of out ammunition before you reach your target. 

So before you take action, take some time to step back and answer these questions:

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B2B Social Media – How Do Your Efforts Stack Up?

Stack of Pancakes

Earlier this week, I did a post that looked at how businesses are using social media to find business-related info and how you might be able to reach customers and prospects via these mechanisms. I thought it might be interesting to flip this on its side and look at what social media related initiatives companies have in place, top activities, how much time and resources they are committing to these efforts, and how they measure success.

Take a look at the statistics below from Business.com’s 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study and see how you stack up.

- Over 1900 participants in the study indicated that they work for a company involved in social media initiatives. 92% are directly involved in planning or managing these initiatives.

- On average, these individuals spend 18% of their time in any given week working on these initiatives. 

- 71% of the companies surveyed have less than two years of experience with social media.

- The average company in the study is currently involved in 7 different social media efforts.

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