CHICAGO: Cisco, the technology company, is transforming its digital strategy to reflect the dramatic shifts that are reshaping business-to-business (B2B) marketing.

Joseph Puthussery, Cisco’s vice president/digital marketing, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Masters of Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing conference.

“We used to – and we still do, to be honest – have a product culture that’s all about launches and events,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Cisco is pursuing a marketing transformation.)

But that is changing – a trend driven by the ratcheting up of expectations on the part of B2B customers, profound disruption in how companies connect to and use the internet, and Cisco’s investment in sophisticated data collection and measurement.

“It’s no longer about digital marketing. We’re actually marketing in a digital world – a world that’s transformed because of digital technologies,” said Puthussery.

A case in point: customers’ attitudes about technology, software and consumption are radically different from just a few years ago. The proof? The process of buying networking equipment from Cisco became a heavier lift.

In 2013, 67% of buyers blamed themselves and their own internal processes for the complexity and disruption involved in the purchase of new B2B technology, according to an annual IT buyer experience study by research firm IDC.

But in 2017, 61% placed the blame for this outcome squarely on information technology vendors. “Their expectations have changed,” Puthussery said.

One contributor to this development comes from the consumer space, as Cisco’s customers now expect the same ease and transparency as when tapping a phone to grab an Uber ride or check into a flight in their B2B transactions.

“The very best customer experience anywhere sets the bar for customer experience everywhere,” he said. “How your customers engage with you as a business has changed.”

Cisco’s journey – a transformation, not merely a transition, Puthussery emphasised – involves a fundamental change in every function within the marketing organisation.

Among the core pillars of its current strategy are focusing on the customer experience, content, analytics and insights, performance marketing, and automation and technology.

“My job as a leader of digital marketing is not to run the marketing department that’s taking care of our digital properties, but, in fact, to transform every marketer to think about how expectations have changed in the digital world,” Puthussery said.

Sourced from WARC