Now here is some more “earned media” for Cisco. As usual, full disclosure rules require me (Peter O’Neill here) to note that Cisco invited me to its latest Partner Velocity conference in Cannes last week. As they told, the agenda was truly in my sweet zone of research: the challenges of B2B marketing including channel marketing. This annual worldwide conference was held in Las Vegas last year but the last one I had attended was the previous European event two years ago in Barcelona. As I wrote then, I continue to be truly excited by what I saw and heard at the event.

Cisco is the ONLY tech vendor that holds an event of this strength exclusively for marketers – the marketers who work for its business partners. I’ve been on vendor/partner marketing advisory councils but this one was a marketing training event and which IT vendor besides Cisco thinks it is good enough at its own marketing to be able to hold such an event for others?  I had some really great conversations with marketers across the globe – I collected business cards from South Africa, Nigeria, Dubai, Lithuania, plus across Europe and North America. It is interesting to hear that marketing has similar issues (getting enough executive support, proving its value, lack of resources) all over the world.

Two things I noted especially at this year’s event:

1.       Cisco talked about “Revenue Marketing”. As I wrote in a previous blog: marketing a brand is one thing but much of the work that B2B marketers do is about generating contacts and leads that should result in generating revenue at a later date. Cisco quoted a survey that said 54% of B2B marketers are doing this work. At our conference in Scottsdale last month, we focused on those marketers and called it “Revenue Acceleration”. Watch out for some important changes with our own research language and terminology to strengthen this point of view for ourselves and, we hope, you.

2.       Cisco also invited and included its alliance partners at this event – marketers from companies like VMware, Intel, Citrix, for example.  Each of these contacts told me that it was very important to be marketing consistently within an “ecosystem”, not across a channel.  So true.

One piece of feedback I did offer to Cisco was that the agenda and speaker line-up, both on the main stage and in the breakout workshops, was a little too US-centric; especially on the first day.  One speaker who made a big thing of coming from South Dakota and being a cowboy kept shouting out at the audience to laugh when he wasn’t getting any laughs – I suspect many attendees just didn’t understand his accent or euphemisms.  An international audience should be treated to an international agenda. But that is me just being panicky. The Cisco Marketing Velocity event was truly powerful.  Congratulations, Karen Walker and welcome aboard Sherri Liebo.

Need more details? Drop me a line.  As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

 Always keeping you informed! Peter