Cisco revamps marketing arm to help channel partners

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Cisco revamps marketing arm to help channel partners

Cisco Systems is reconstructing its "underutilised" marketing arm to help channel partners reach more customers, engage with them in new ways and earn more revenue.

The new Cisco Marketing Velocity program will tie together all of the tech giant's marketing resources and programs, such as Cisco Joint Marketing Funds and Partner Marketing Central, in one place for its more than 60,000 partners across the globe. The program will help solution providers digitise their marketing practices, apply for and make use of marketing funds, and even co-market alongside Cisco, the company said Tuesday.

Cisco does more than 85 percent of its business through the channel, so helping partners evolve and boost their marketing efforts is "critical" in helping both Cisco and its partners succeed, said Boon Lai, vice president of global partner marketing for Cisco.

 "Companies that have a strong digital marketing presence see a 9.5 percent increase in revenue year over year," Lai said. "Our research shows that 40 percent of customers are willing to pay at least a 35 percent premium to purchase from a Cisco partner, so we know that B2B buyers recognise the value of brand, and we are investing [in marketing] here with our partners."

The first step in Cisco's marketing overhaul includes Cisco Marketing Velocity Learning, an always-on space where partners can go to learn about marketing and customer experience in real time. Marketing Velocity Learning now has 80 percent more learning content and on-demand training for partners, according to Lai. Cisco also has tripled attendance for its live learning events and has regionalised certain topics to demonstrate how specific markets are being impacted, he said.

Next, Cisco has overhauled its Partner Marketing Central platform, now known as Marketing Velocity Central. Solution providers can use the updated self-service portal to find free customisable campaigns, social media and website syndication, and an enhanced marketing content library. Partners also can use advanced campaign analysis capabilities, such as campaign tracking and customer contact engagement scoring, through the portal, according to Cisco. New to Marketing Velocity Central is the development of "cross-portfolio" marketing campaigns, Lai said. Marketing Velocity Central also will contain an agency marketplace that partners can use to connect with specifically chosen demand-generation agencies.

As part of the revamp, Cisco also introduced a new co-marketing service for select partners, Marketing Velocity Activate. The program combines data and joint planning between Cisco and the partner to engage customers digitally and drive new revenue, Cisco said.

Marketing Velocity Activate initially will be made available to a group of about 100 Cisco partners during the company's 2020 fiscal year, Lai said.

Now known as Funding for Marketing Velocity instead of Cisco Joint Marketing Funds, authorised partners can continue to take advantage of marketing funds to promote their companies and the Cisco products and services they sell, the company said. Cisco wants the updated program to offer a more personalised approach to procuring marketing dollars for partners, Lai said.  

"We are tailoring our marketing [efforts] to meet our partners where they are on their digital transformation journey," said Lai. "We designed this connected path of learning, funding and then executing and activating to help them elevate their marketing practices and, more importantly, further enable [our partners] to become trusted partners to an organisation."

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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