I had the pleasure of spending this week enjoying Cisco’s 10th Marketing Velocity conference in Chicago, IL. Cisco Marketing Velocity brings partners from all over the world together to hear from Cisco executives and industry experts to help get inspired, energize marketing practices, and learn what’s coming next. The world of marketing has changed drastically since Marketing Velocity debuted, as was evident when Michelle Chiantera noted the topic “Will Social Selling Impact the B2B Market?” from the first agenda 10 years ago.
Throughout the week, we heard keynotes from multiple Cisco executives as well as industry thought leaders, and innovators. Partners also had the opportunity to attend different workshops and sessions with marketing experts from Cisco and other **
The new partner enablement sessions incorporated into the conference agenda seemed to be a big hit based on the feedback and side conversations partners shared over the 3 days.
- Partner Ecosystem Meetings - 30-Minute Partner-to-Partner Meetings, intended to help partners capitalize on the digital transformation and forge new partner-to-partner connections and marketing relationships.
- 1:1 Executive Meetings – 30 minute sessions allowing partners to sit down 1:1 with Cisco executives to discuss marketing strategies and forge stronger business relationships.
- Tech 30 Sessions - 30-minute sessions, hosted by Cisco experts, developed for partners to learn about primary focus areas and business priorities, and hear how partners and Cisco can work together to deliver amazing results to customers.
The workshops each day offered to partners included:
- Mapping a Clear Path to Actionable Insights with Tim Wilson, Sr. Partner - Analytics Demstified. This workshop explored how marketers and analysts often trip each other up by communicating at cross purposes, digging into data prematurely, and failing to distinguish between performance measurement and hypothesis validation
- Getting to the Heart fo Your Business Story withRobert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor - Content Marketing Institute. In this workshop partners explored what business stories are and then worked through an actual methodology for how to better storytelling in your marketing.
- Today's Marketing Landscape and Prerarign for Tomorrow Through Social Selling with Jenn Reed, VP Channel Marketing - Channel Maven Consulting. Jenn walked partners through how to draw prospects toward your online properties and use social selling to drive demand.
- Seven Ways to Increase Conversions with Effective Digital Content with Pam Didner, Content Marketing Expert, Author, Speaker, and Adjunct Professor. In this workshop, partners explored how to use digital content effectively to grow their business.
- Seamless Omnichannel Marketing withAnders Sorman-Nilsson, Global Futurist and Innovation Strategist. Partners learned how to map an omnichannel marketing strategy, create captive content, and design transparent customer journeys.
- Driving Engagement and Revenues with Digital Marketing with The Astalos Group. Partners explored how to create a content strategy, what you really need to know about SEO, SEM, Google AdWords, and Google Analytics, best practices, what to avoid, and how to analyze campaigns and optimize your efforts.
The keynote speakers were each innovative, engaging, and inspiring.
- Serial Entrepreneur and Acclaimed Author, Peter Hinssen who discussed “old normal vs. new normal”. As Peter highlighted how far technology has come in just the past 10 years, he also noted “the world is going to change more in the next 10 years than in the past 20-30 years”. He challenged the room full of marketers to embrace the changes to come, and to focus on how to remain relevant for the next generation of customers.
- Martin Lindstrom - Change Agent, Brand Futurist, and Best-Selling Author shared the importance of the human-to-human connection. He outlined the importance for companies to move past what customers say and strive to understand what they feel, stating “If you’re really smart, you don’t just talk to your customer – you talk to your customers’ customer”.
- David Shing (Shingy), a self-proclaimed “Digital Prophet” - AOL, spent an hour inspiring attendees to realize that we as people are emotionally driven, and even in the age of technology it is the basic human need of connectivity that drives us. He noted that “technology changes behavior, not needs”, and that “understanding human needs, is half the job of meeting them”.
The week also included general sessions featuring Cisco executives. Chris Dedicoat, EVP, Worldwide Sales and Field Operations – Cisco focused on the rapid pace of digitization, Cisco’s innovative technologies, and digital transformation in action. Wendy Bahr, Sr. VP, Global Partner Organization – Cisco shared with partners the changing needs of customers and the importance of digital impact and digital business agility. Karen Walker, Chief Marketing Officer – Cisco, highlighted Cisco’s strategies, priorities, and new tools for partners. She discussed the success of the May 2016 “Never Been a Better Time” campaign, and was joined by Chad Reese, Director of Partner Marketing Technology – Cisco, who shared new marketing tools and insights Cisco has released in 2017.
I left came home from Chicago equipped with new marketing ideas, and feeling inspired to put what I learned throughout the week into practice. I’m excited to continue to grow our marketing practice, and I’m already looking forward to Marketing Velocity 2018, in Barcelona!