This content is part of the Essential Guide: IT channel sales and marketing strategy for the digital era

Cisco Marketing Velocity: Advice for enchanting customers

Channel partners were urged to put the customer first and to enchant their prospective clients at this year's Cisco Marketing Velocity event.

SAN DIEGO -- Cisco Partner Summit 2016, which runs Feb. 29 to March 3 here, kicked off with the ninth annual Cisco Marketing Velocity event geared toward helping partners learn about the latest digital marketing tactics for successful engagements with customers.

Addressing about 300 partners, Michelle Chiantera, senior director for global partner marketing at Cisco, who replaced Sherri Liebo about six months ago, emphasized the need for commitment and putting the customer first to provide the best experience possible.

"We have to strengthen our commitment to our customers and do something very simple out of gate: We have to stay centered and put the customer in the center; they are our North Star, as we move through industry transformation," she said at Cisco Marketing Velocity.

According to Cisco, the three core drivers to do this are: connect, engage and amaze.

More specifically, connect and get personal, and do that through access to real-time data in order to make decisions about how to connect to the customer; engage by putting action into the connection; and amaze customers by letting them see who you are as a partner throughout the lifecycle relationship to keep them coming back.

Partners can expect to see Cisco help them in this marketing journey via the delivery of knowledge and education, as well as new initiative launches to help partners through this journey, according to Chiantera.

Cisco Marketing Velocity: Kawasaki keynote

It was the general session keynote speaker, Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist of Canva, trustee of Wikimedia and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador, who talked about Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, as the key to persuading and influencing people to change their minds.

Kawasaki laid out the top 10 pillars of enchantment, with a social media slant.

I've tried to enchant people with great things, and I've tried to enchant people with crap. It's a lot harder with crap.
Guy Kawasakichief evangelist of Canva

Achieve likeability. This starts with a smile, but not any old smile. Aim for the Duchenne smile, otherwise known as a crow's feet smile. Simply, a great smile is all in the eyes. Learning how to accept others for who they are and defaulting to yes -- or figuring out how to help others -- are the other key qualities to enchanting someone. No one is enchanted by someone they don't like.

Trustworthiness. You might like someone, but not trust them. Getting the customer to trust you is crucial to enchantment. Kawasaki stressed the importance of finding something to agree on, even for people with whom you don't agree.

Achieve excellence. Rounding out the three most important pillars of enchantment is achieving excellence. "I've tried to enchant people with great things, and I've tried to enchant people with crap. It's a lot harder with crap," he said. The qualities of great stuff:  It's deep, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant.

The social marketing connection

So, how do these three pillars of enchantment relate to social marketing?

Using the online dating world as an analogy for enchantment, Kawasaki talked about marketing today being a Tinder world. "In this Tinder world, people are going to decide, 'Should I be influenced? Should I be persuaded? Should I be enchanted by this person?' And it's going to be that fast," he said. "Enchanting, not enchanting, interesting, not interesting," Kawasaki said.

Tips for an enchanting launch. Tell a story: Tell why you created a product or service and stay far away from using too many adjectives, the downfall of many tech speakers. Other tips for an enchanting launch: Use social media to help plant many seeds, and use salient points about what people care about.

Overcome resistance to your enchantment. One way to do this is to provide social proof, as Apple did with the white earbud for the iPod. "The more white earbuds you saw, the more people you saw with iPods. The more iPod adoption you saw, the more you were convinced the iPod must be good. Resisting Apple was futile, so, eventually, you bought an iPod," Kawasaki said.

Another way to overcome resistance to enchantment: Use an animated data set as a technique to change minds. Also, make sure you enchant all influencers.

How to make enchantment endure. Build a vibrant ecosystem, where everybody is pulling for you. If they succeed, you succeed. And if you succeed, they succeed.

Invoke reciprocation. This is why you default to yes. "When you default to yes, you rack up reciprocation points," Kawasaki said. He offered two power tips: When someone thanks you for doing something for them, reciprocate with, "I know you'll do the same for me." Then, the optimal thing is to tell them what they can do to reciprocate. This is the best thing to do to further the relationship, he said.

Great enchanters are great presenters. The key here is to customize your introduction, know your audience and sell your dream in a presentation.

Use technology. Remove the speed bumps. If you use social media, you must provide value, such as information, insights and assistance.

Enchant up, or enchant your boss. When the boss asks you to do something, drop everything and help -- just do it. Prototype fast and deliver bad news early.

Enchant down, or enchant people who work for you. The key here is to provide a MAP -- mastery, autonomy, purpose -- taken from a book by Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Other ways to enchant the people who work for you: Empower action and suck it up, or do the dirty job.

A focus on digital 

Teresa Snyder, vice president of marketing at OneNeck IT Solutions, a TDS Company and Gold-level Cisco partner, attended Cisco Marketing Velocity to get a preview of what Cisco is going to be doing from a marketing standpoint in the upcoming year, and particularly the changes that the vendor is making to Partner Marketing Central.

She said the focus on digital is key for her company.

"Digital plays a role in every campaign that we have go to market, whether it's socializing it, or we could be doing some online advertising targeting with it, even blogging -- everything we now do touches digital," Snyder said.

OneNeck has several marketing employees attending Velocity and gathering information from the five session options: The Digital Evolution: Trends to Drive Your 2016 Marketing; Enchant to Engage; Grow Your Business without Spending a Dime; Measuring Social Marketing Success; and, Mad Men Data: How Marketing and Sales Can Benefit from Big Data Platforms.

"We want to get into predictive analytics and harness the data that we're getting from our website and our marketing automation tool to put it into more meaningful campaigns," Snyder said.

Next Steps

Find out how Cisco is driving a tighter connection between sales and marketing

Read about the Cisco Spark channel opportunity

Learn about revisions to the CCIE certification program

Dig Deeper on Sales and marketing strategies