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Cisco partners get digital marketing support

A Cisco marketing program is getting a new look as the vendor refreshes its partner marketing training and rolls out a new comarketing service focused on digital campaigns.

Cisco has revamped its Marketing Velocity program to support Cisco partners' digital marketing efforts, unite previously separated resources and increase focus on specific offerings, such as secure SD-WAN.

The move, according to the networking vendor, acknowledges channel partners' need for marketing guidance and recognizes the large share of B2B transactions that begin online. The revised Cisco marketing effort includes marketing education, funding, tools and a fledgling program that links Cisco partners' digital marketing initiatives to Cisco's campaigns.

"Marketing is one of the biggest areas partners need help with," said Boon Lai, vice president of global partner marketing at Cisco. "Partners are more focused on … transforming within their businesses, and they need to be doing the same when it comes to their marketing practice."

The revised Marketing Velocity program spans four components: Cisco Marketing Velocity Learning, Cisco Funding for Marketing Velocity, Cisco Marketing Velocity Central and Cisco Marketing Velocity Activate.

The learning element features 80% new content, including on-demand training, while the funding component provides Cisco partners with marketing dollars through the vendor's Joint Marketing Funds.

Julija Noskova, vice president of marketing at Cisco partner Softchoice, a Toronto-based IT solutions provider and managed services firm, cited targeted learning as a plus for the expanded Cisco marketing program. She said the learning component provides training "depending on where partners are in their marketing journey and maturity curve."

Other revamped components

Partner Marketing Central, a marketing portal, is now incorporated within Cisco Marketing Velocity Central. This component provides free customizable marketing campaigns, campaign analysis tools and a marketplace for browsing demand generation agencies.

The more we look at how our teams engage from a digital-to-digital perspective, the more we make that a better experience for our customers overall.
Chad BockertVice president of marketing, WWT

Cisco Marketing Velocity Activate, currently in limited release, aims to orchestrate digital marketing efforts between Cisco and its channel partners. Lai said the initiative focuses on "how we execute digital marketing with more digitally mature partners."

Twenty Cisco partners are expected to participate in Marketing Velocity Activate by the end of the vendor's fiscal first quarter, which runs through Oct. 26, 2019. The focus for the first quarter initiative is on secure software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), according to Chad Reese, director of partner digital marketing at Cisco.

A total of 100 Cisco partners are expected to participate in Marketing Velocity Activate during Cisco's 2020 fiscal year, which ends July 25, 2020.

Digital marketing pilot

World Wide Technology (WWT), a Cisco partner and technology solution provider based in St. Louis, is one of two Cisco partners that have been piloting Marketing Velocity Activate prior to the limited rollout. Chad Bockert, vice president of marketing at WWT, said the initiative has generated a $10 million sales pipeline.

The pilot, which focuses on SD-WAN, involves linking Cisco's and WWT's websites and content for consistent messaging and UX. WWT launched an SD-WAN managed service in March 2018.

"We are actually connecting the dots between our customers' journeys online" to create an "integrated experience," Bockert said. "The more we look at how our teams engage from a digital-to-digital perspective, the more we make that a better experience for our customers overall."

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A new Cisco marketing program focuses on digital campaigns. How important is it to integrate your digital marketing program with a vendor's digital efforts?