Speaking with more and more partners while traveling recently, I am thrilled so many of you have marketing for the future top-of-mind. Seems like no matter what country I visit, or which partner I consult, we all agree on the power that marketing holds in our new digital age.

Last month I recapped my experience opening the Cisco Live! Marketing Velocity session in Melbourne, Australia. I talked about three major trends elevating our role as marketers, and how we can use them to market more effectively. I suggested how we can become “future-proof” by harnessing technologies that are tailor-made for our profession, like chatbots and Artificial Intelligence.

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with a few hundred of your colleagues at our Marketing Velocity Americas event in New Orleans. This keynote extended what I spoke about in Australia, including what Cisco is doing to help you become future-proof. One aspect I love about working with our partners is their honest and insightful feedback. I heard many great ideas, as well as confirmation that we are on the right track in identifying trends and giving you ways to take advantage of them.

So what are the trends I believe we marketers must heed, and command, to grow our business? They are threefold: Digital is becoming a human extension, intelligence is the new currency, and the customer will be predictable – in real time.

Here’s a high-level look at each:

Digital is becoming a human extension

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. In the B2B space, we must get more serious about using technology to up-level our digital interactions.

Intelligence is the new currency

Seems for years all we heard about was “Big Data.” But what really matters is the intelligence we distill from that data. In fact, most companies with an innovation strategy are already using Artificial Intelligence to uncover insights buried in data. And we must join them.

The customer will be predictable – in real time

Intercepting a customer at the right points in time seemed like sci-fi not long ago. But we can do it. The digital age is creating new buying patterns everywhere – especially for B2B. Marketers are in the best position to decipher those patterns and predict customers’ moments of need. But first we must accept our elevated business role and take advantage of the new resources at our disposal.

In fact, you’ll find many of those resources right here on our partner marketing site.

If you’d like a deeper dive into these trends – and what you can do about them –  please take 19 minutes to watch the replay of my keynote in New Orleans. For those of you attending our upcoming Marketing Velocity in Europe, I’m excited to exchange ideas with you in person. Please come ready to engage and discuss.

And speaking of chatbots as future companions, I am thrilled to announce “Meg,” our marketing bot in Webex Teams and newest team member in Cisco Global Partner Marketing.

Meg (short for Marketing Enablement Guru) will keep you current with the latest marketing news and tell you what we’re piloting here at Cisco.

To engage with Meg, just go to the search function in Webex Teams and search for meg@webex.bot. Click on Meg to enter a one-on-one space with her. Then type “subscribe” and you’ll receive about 2-3 updates per week. Meg is a great way to stay up-to-date, so I urge you to sign up with her.

And as always, please let me know what you think in the comments below.


Boon Lai

Vice President

Global Partner Marketing