I love getting your feedback – so does our entire Cisco Global Partner Marketing team. Recently I attended our third and final Marketing Velocity event of the year, in Amsterdam. Earlier this year we held regional events in Melbourne, Australia and New Orleans.

Looking back, I’m glad we acted on your feedback and moved from one global conference to three events, each tailored for partners in that region. It’s been wonderful to see partners networking and exchanging ideas face to face. And, as I recounted in my last blog about our Cisco Live! U.S. experience, it’s always enlightening to get your first-hand views on what we’re doing right, and where we can improve.

Moreover, I appreciate your warm reception of our “future-proof marketer” ideas, whether at a Marketing Velocity event or in a note here.

Below is a recap, along with related comments from recent partner interviews conducted at Cisco Live in San Diego. We hope these ideas can help you both perform well today and transform for tomorrow.

Recap: The future-proof marketer

“If you perform while you transform, if you work with Cisco and the co-innovation to move ahead of the curve, you’ll get your customer over the bridge. There are going to be big winners, and almost a Darwinian inflection point in the technology. And if you don’t get over the bridge, you’re heading to the fossil park. So you will make it happen.”

– John van der Vyver, Dimension Data

1. Digital is becoming a human extension

“The biggest market opportunity for Citrix and Cisco is to go after customers who are looking to truly digitally transform how they get work done and operate as a business.”

– Steve Blacklock, Citrix

Traditional human interactions are becoming digital. Our devices are now an extension of our lives, and we’re adopting new technology more rapidly than ever. In fact, by next year most businesses will have some sort of chatbot automation. So even if we don’t realize it, digital is capturing more of the experiential space in our lives, both personal andprofessional. And in the B2B marketing space, we must get more serious about using technology to up-level our digital interactions – and help our customers do the same.

2. Intelligence is the new currency

“We are going to add artificial intelligence capabilities inside our applications. It is all about becoming predictive…”

– Massimiliano Picchi, Imagicle

Seems for years all we heard about was “Big Data.” But data alone is not enough. What really matters is the intelligence we distill from that data. In fact, most companies with an innovation strategy are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to uncover insights buried in data. And we can join them, because you and Cisco are set up for success with AI. Why? Because the B2B trove of data is superior to what consumer brands typically own. We possess data across the business lifecycle – from research to purchase to usage – for each of our customers. Just think about the rich intelligence AI can help extract from that huge swath of business data – automatically!

3. The customer will be predictable – in real time

“We’re really trying to understand and anticipate what our customer’s needs are going to be, working with our product teams, and with the field, to build on those plans and have them ready in time to meet their needs.”  

– Bernie Hannon, Citrix

 Not long ago, intercepting a customer at the right points in time seemed like sci-fi. Not anymore.  The digital age is creating new buying patterns everywhere – especially for B2B. We marketers are in the best position to decipher those patterns, predict customers’ moments of need, and assist them on their favorite channels.

To do this today and well into the future, we must have three assets working for us:

  1. An exemplary platform that delivers the best possible digital experience.
  2. Deep personalization that continually serves the individual customer while enriching our insights about that person.
  3. A brand that is trusted not just for outstanding solutions but for the values it represents.

But success demands that your entire organization work as one to create a unified customer experience. As the curators of customer intelligence, you are in unique position to forge this unity across departments and shape that consistent experience.

What can you do next?

Please watch my keynote and other presentations delivered at the Marketing Velocity EMEAR event.

And to help you play an elevated business role, please take advantage of our enhanced resources:

  • Use the refreshed Marketing Velocity site on Cisco.com. It is packed with fresh learning, thought leadership and regionalized content.
  • Subscribe to Meg, our marketing chatbot powered by WebEx Teams. Meg can send you marketing news and updates, and even answer questions. I warn you, though, she can be a little cheeky.

There’s more to come, which I will share with you in my next blogs. In the meantime, do continue to enlighten us by commenting below.



Boon Lai

Vice President

Global Partner Marketing