Not so long ago, Cisco marketers were occasionally known to despair at the number of legacy systems that were housing old or disparate customer data points. So many systems with so many different data formats seemed too overwhelming a task to make it into something meaningful.

Today, our Marketing organization is 1,400 people strong with a deep, established practice in Revenue Marketing, which thrives on meaningful data. As we evolved our functions to optimize the customer experience, we felt increased pressure for a consistent, well-defined metric to look at every step of a customer’s engagement to establish preference for Cisco and build tangible brand loyalty.

We needed a key performance indicator (KPI) to quantify “engagement” that could be measured consistently across all marketing activities. Known as “Engagement Points” we now measure the engagement between Cisco and our Customers and Partners — digital and physical domains.  We call this the democratization of data.

This formula to measure engagement suddenly gave our legacy data fresh value. It’s a methodology and common language for all types of customer engagement. It also provides a daily metric that allows teams to share results easily and quickly with executives and other marketers.

Developing and testing the KPI was only part of the challenge – one of the more difficult aspects of this culture change was aligning all parts of the Marketing organization. Tools like DOMO made it easier than ever to share insights. With support from senior executives, including Cisco’s CMO, tracking and optimizing for this KPI quickly rose to the top of all Marketing functional priorities.  It has allowed our organization to:

  • Have a full-funnel view from customer engagement to leads, bookings and revenue.
  • Baseline and set goals for customer engagement across all marketing activities
  • Provide a daily view into performance across all channels (Paid/Earned/Owned and Physical)
  • Unleash a wave of creativity in the use of data by making the underlying data easily available and usable for teams to slice and dice the data in ways best suited to their functional areas

The results have been dramatic. Every single marketing activity can now be planned, goaled, tracked and optimized in a common context with a clear understanding of its relative impact toward organizational and corporate goals.  We’ve witnessed material increases year-over-year to customer engagement, marketing sourced sales qualified pipeline and marketing sourced bookings. We’ve also identified and removed 25% of pages from cisco.com due to low performing and outdated content.

Product Marketing Teams are able to consistently measure the impact of the content pieces they’ve created. Field Marketing teams can see which channels content should be activated through and are better able to consistently compare results across channels. Global/Central Marketing Teams can make better strategic decisions based on a more consistently applied measures across different teams and marketing programs.  Simply put, we are more connected than ever.

Not so long ago we used to think we had too much data to practically use. Now we’re thankful for those legacy systems and warehouses because they’ve enabled us to unlock an untold story about value to customers, partners and the Cisco business.

You can learn more on our data democratization initiative in this video from the 2018 ANA Genius Award Cisco won for our work on data and analytics.




Joseph Puthussery

Vice President, Marketing

Digital Marketing