A couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas, I felt like a member of a film crew watching my movie win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Verizon, the Cisco partner I’ve worked with for years, was named 2018 Global Service Provider of the Year. They then won a second honor: Enterprise Partner of the Year for their growth in Enterprise Routing. These awards came in addition to Verizon being named 2018 Marketing Innovation Partner of the Year at Cisco’s Marketing Velocity event in Barcelona.
The Cisco and Verizon partnership serves as a best practices template for our service provider as a channel (SPaaCH) strategy globally.
Marketing Support for a Leading-Edge Strategy
Cisco’s partnership with Verizon, the largest telecom provider in the United States, has become incredibly successful and strategic for both companies over many years. Our Verizon business is growing at a rate of 25% and it’s a solid relationship, aligned from sales to marketing to the executive level.
In November, Verizon announced its strategy “to optimize growth opportunities in the 5G era.” The 5G push to further wireless enterprise services dovetails with the company’s intelligent edge network focus, which was already well underway in 2018. It’s all about reducing cost to market, time to market, and network operations through automation and enhancing reliability with cloud features.
To further this strategy, Cisco partnered with Verizon on an array of Cisco-supported managed cloud service offerings for SD-WAN, security, AppDynamics, and collaboration.
Jointly Branded Campaigns
Over the years, Cisco has partnered closely with the direct sales team to gain a broad and deep understanding of Verizon’s business strategy. The company is evolving beyond its carrier business to one that is focused on the strength of the 5G network. To do so at a time of declining wireless revenues, CapEx budget reductions, and churn from the wireline business, Verizon as an enterprise needs to automate and virtualize more of its infrastructure to increase agility.
We’ve worked to position Cisco as a strategic partner that Verizon can turn to in this transition, not just a hardware vendor. Cisco marketing efforts are designed to build this new perception. The 360-degree marketing plan for 2019 will include support for our go to market efforts and support the Cisco Direct Team with automation, segment routing, and 5G marketing initiatives.
In 2018, Cisco appeared with Verizon in jointly branded digital campaigns promoting our strategic managed services offerings, including SD-WAN, Routing, Wireless, and IoT, Webex Meetings and Webex Teams, and Unified Customer Experience. The digital campaigns generated $70 million in sales qualified leads. They intelligently integrated analytics with engaging content to nurture prospects through the buyer’s journey.
The digital campaign for SD-WAN alone generated 125,000 social impressions and 200,000 direct mail drops. It resulted in 18 wins, bookings of $3.8 million, and an active funnel of $96.3 million.
Cisco Days, Webinars, and More
Kicking off Cisco’s FY19, teams executed five Cisco Days for Verizon Wireless and Verizon Enterprise operations, maintenance, and engineering personnel between August and November. The events focused on optical, automation, 5G, and mobility, and generated $70 million in sales qualified leads. Eight more Cisco Days are planned for 2019.
Also planned in 2019 are eight webinars a month targeted to key Verizon stakeholders. The webinars will be presented by the Cisco Knowledge Network team to increase awareness of the Cisco Bridge to Possible campaign. Topics will include 5G, Automation, and Network Infrastructure. Cisco’s Social Ambassador program, which provides thought leadership and industry news to Verizon stakeholders through social media, will train 80 internal Cisco sales staff to promote 5G, automation, and network infrastructure initiatives as well.
After a solid year in the books (with three prestigious awards to boot!), I look forward to the year ahead, to the relationships built with Verizon, and to taking home more Academy Awards.