1) He’s not your typical marketeer
I didn’t start in Marketing. I’ve been in software development, support services, project and programme management, selling and consulting. When I joined Cisco, I was running EMEA marketing for 5-6 years, and just recently I have stepped into global role. Marketing is extremely tightly linked in with the sales transformation that CISCO is going through. The way that people are buying our products has shifted dramatically, from hardware to software, from on premise to in the cloud… it’s about getting really focused on who are our customers and how are we serving them, from our largest key accounts right through to our smallest customer, serving them in the way that works for them. We’re getting much more segment specific in that regard, thinking about the different classes of customer and what they need from us and how we should work with them.
2) His knows there’s a problem with the vendor community…and he’s out to fix it
I think my personal gripe, on behalf of customers, is when we start leading them down a track, having started a conversation whether that be through marketing or sales. If we start engaging with them…and then at some point we leave them high and dry… caught in between then functions or teams that serve them…then we have failed. The most dangerous thing that can happen is when you’re passing the customer from one department to another. For example, if they’re promised a call back and then it doesn’t happen. That, for me, is the worst possible thing you can do – as it breaks trust. And that is something we’ve been working really hard on over many years, and accelerating especially in the last year. Really fast and quick follow up. We are closely paying attention to the data and insights we are collecting from our customers, really watching which channels are driving success and which ones need to work better. Not an easy task, and certainly the classic challenge for all marketeers – since customers never follow a nice neat linear path to purchase…they’ll engage in ways that work for them, at times that suit them, interacting in social channels, they’ll talk to peers, they’ll attend events and compare online…It’s about looking across all of this and understanding the patterns of behaviour that can help us predict the next best way for us to serve them.
3) He always takes two bites of the apple
I think there is a general conversation in the industry that says the CIO is being somehow diminished, or replaced as the main budget holder, and to some extent, it’s true. We talk about the “two bites of the apple” which is really needed, and what it means is… yes we do need to be having the CIO level conversations… but we also need to be having more of the real line of business conversations as well. Its not one OR the other, and you really can’t do one without the other. Rightly, there are still IT infrastructure leaders in charge of the budget but there are also people in the line of business and they are making purchasing decisions… not necessarily without the CIO, or the CSO, but certainly they very influential, and very demanding.
4) He’s looking for that magic number
We’re using a methodology to track engagement and leads, the number of return visits to our site, the indicators that show real interest, and we are seeing an uptake in the number of opportunities directly linked to those metrics. Many times that direct link – how we took them from here to there – is not obvious. So we do some quite advanced analytical work. We track this and assess via things like trending analysis and cross behavioural correlation. I believe this has increasingly become how a lot of (marketing) has to be, to be more and more analytical in nature and data informed on its decisions. The general principles is that the more engaged a customer is, illustrated through combined metrics, the more likely they are to buy. There’s that magic number, that tipping point when those engagement scores turns into a contract. What’s that magic number? I’d love to know! Maybe it’s 47 or something, like the meaning of life!
5) The best marketeer this marketeer knows is his customers
The best person to sell to a customer, is another customer. No seller or marketeer can do better than a customer who is an advocate for you and your solutions. The one thing about security marketing is you’ll have a lot of people supporting you and advocating what you do… but equally… I mean, no-one is going to be happy to talk publicly about a breach they’ve experienced and sharing the details of that. It’s not in their interest to do so. I guess cybersecurity marketing is a little bit unique in that way. Nevertheless, the best person to sell to a customer is always a customer. Customers to whom we talked about our solutions, or who’ve bought our solutions, and believe that we are the best company to work with – that’s far better than any marketing message you can deliver.
Jeremy Bevan is VP Global Segments and Industry Marketing at Cisco: https://www.cisco.com