Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

The Force is strong with this one – celebrating the power of Cisco Partners

June 9, 2017

As any Star Wars aficionado knows, 25th May 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the first screening of what was to become a global phenomenon; one which created cinematic history and generated an international franchise.

And on the same day, as the sun shone over Middlesex at the start of a glorious early summer morning, Cisco’s partner marketing forum marked a day-long celebration of the vital contribution our partners make to our shared success.

While the forum covered a lot of important ground, including the evolution of marketing and its growing importance for any business, the primary objective was to provide an informal, relaxed setting for sharing ideas and networking. With this in mind, we adopted a Star Wars theme that included a cake complete with dark and light sections, and a content workshop where participants created Star Wars marketing assets.

Become a digital believer

In her address on digital believers, Karen Walker, Cisco’s Chief Marketing Officer reminded the audience that marketing may have been the last function to be industrialised, but it was also the first to be digitised. Karen also quoted the most profound star man of them all, David Bowie, whose 1999 forecast that the internet would have a profound impact on the world and lead to unimaginable changes seems uncannily accurate 18 years on. Echoing his career-long commitment to transformation and regeneration, Karen reflected that many marketing professionals feel that their world has changed more in the past two years than in the previous 50; a frightening yet simultaneously exhilarating thought.

Dreaming of data

Meanwhile, Jeremy Bevan, Cisco’s Vice President of EMEAR Marketing argued that every marketing professional should not only be data-focused but love data. Echoing Karen’s premise that that customer experience has become a crucial differentiator, with emotional connection to a brand becoming more important than product and price point, Jeremy summarised how careful and clever use of big data can help any organisation create that ultimate customer experience.

These themes were picked up during Lucas Betes’ session on Omnichannel. His example of Toyota showing 100,000 versions of one advertisement on Facebook, each reflecting the tastes and opinions of individual viewers, exemplified the concept of the ‘automation of personalisation’, demonstrating the power of digital and its ability to create the perfect human experience.

Concurring with this view, Victoria Reglar shared Comstor’s experience of using the digital marketing tools Cisco has made available to partners via Partner Marketing Cental, and the advantages they have resulted in – along with a few challenges. Cisco’s Regional Sales Manager Hema Marshall meanwhile reflected on how clever marketing and product placement has consolidated and contributed to Star Wars’ enduring appeal. Loved as much by small children as those who remember its launch ‘a long time ago’, it typifies how emotional connection with a product is key to its success.

May the force be with them

The day ended with the winners of our content creation session being presented with their very own Yodas. Small in size yet wise and powerful, with a strong connection to the Force and a champion Jedi trainer, if that wasn’t enough, Yoda also unlocked the path to immortality. Cisco may not be able to offer anything quite so enlightening, but we like to think we’re pretty good at looking after our customers and working successfully with our partners, and that this was reflected by the success of the day.

As the forum came to a close, we bade farewell to our partners and the Yodas set off to traverse the galaxy – or at least the UKI region – to reach their new homes.

May the force be with them.

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