The Marketing Velocity Live Event (Chicago, April 25-27) is just around the corner. To say I’m excited is an understatement.

This is our 10th year conducting this invitation-only event that challenges and educates our partners about how they think about marketing. While I think Cisco is leading the industry in bringing this value exchange to partners, I like to think we continually bring new thinking to our partners. There is a science and an art to marketing. It’s finding that right balance and engaging your customers with the right mix.

Like our industry, marketing continues to evolve. Looking back 10-years ago SEO and SEM was just gaining steam. Social Media wasn’t really considered a viable business tool, and Web 2.0 was still a conversation topic of what could be. Marketing Velocity has been engaged with it all.

Working with partners. Understanding pain points. All to create an enriching event series that has grown into an always-on program.

I’m sorry, what were you saying?

While I can’t share much about the event, just yet. Be assured, we are focusing on relevant content that will help bring you closer to your customers, and create tighter internal relationships within your company.

There is more opportunity than ever. Yet in the same breath it’s more challenging than ever to entice and capture your customers’ attention. As Cisco CMO, Karen Walker, often says, “Goldfish have a longer attention span than customers.” If you’re curious, goldfish have a 9-second attention span. That’s 12.5% more than what you get from your customers.

Reaching customers at the right time on their terms is crucial. Figuring out how you do that is the direction marketing is going.

Spoiler Alert. This is just a small taste of what we are bringing to the event.

Respect Your Elders

Audience profiles are also changing. There are wholly new ways audiences consume media.

Two words: Digital Natives. They are real and they will fundamentally change the way you market. I am not saying to abandon your traditional marketing methods, but you will need to change your approach.

Matthew Ingram, one of the Millennials on my team, shared some eye-opening insights in his blog on the changing customer landscape: “73% of millennials today are involved in their company’s product/service purchase decisions. As they get older, this percentage will only continue to increase – so all those ladder-climbing connections from my LinkedIn feed aren’t overachievers or anomalies, they’re just following the trend line.” This shift is huge and something you need prepare for.

Yes, you guessed it. Spoiler Alert #2. Another topic du jour during the event. Prepping our partners to intercept a different type of audience, and how to build that into planning.

What? You Didn’t Get a Ticket?

Don’t fret if you won’t be attending the event. While you won’t get to participate in the hilarity, we will be offering access via recordings. Additionally our hands-on workshops will be available through our On-the-Air webcast series.

Unfortunately, we have to limit attendees to a small audience. Please understand it’s our goal to educate and enable our entire Partner base through the Marketing Velocity program. I welcome your feedback. And I would like to hear what marketing topics or training that you would like to see. These are the insights that power the program, as we prepare to continue our journey together.

I urge you to stay informed of the event conversations. Follow the @PartnerVelocity handle, and get in the conversation using #mktgvelocity.