Social Marketing Fella

The Rebirth and Transformation of Cisco’s Marketing Strategy


As written for and published on Technorati

“Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left.”Seth Godin

content-marketing-2Seth’s claim can be substantiated by a Google search on “content marketing” (aka inbound marketing) that will yield you nearly one billion hits. Content marketing is the practice of online marketing that deliberately uses a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), various social media channels, and blogging to publish content that people will seek-out, find and engage with. But content marketing isn’t just a small business, or even B2C strategy. In fact, some surprising enterprise companies and industry leaders have adopted the strategy of online content production, blogging and social media distribution into their brand building.

Cisco-150-socialmarketingfellaSpeaking at the recent Content Marketing Strategies ConferenceHeather Meza, head of Digital Media Solutions for Cisco Services Marketing, shared her company’s shift to a content marketing approach. According to Meza, the rebirth of Cisco’s marketing started about two years ago, that relies on change management and innovation principles to ignite change, inspire content creation, and reach enterprise goals. Cisco’s transformation all began when Meza went on maternity leave and began reading about content marketing and strategies. The new-school brand positioning approach resonated. Upon her return, Meza drove content marketing initiatives new passion and commitment to help Cisco provide better content to customers.

Content Marketing Strategies

Today, Cisco’s content strategies included taking control, having more influence, and replacing the old, outdated ways of marketing to customers with an emphasis on providing value. Cisco’s content marketing team uses the following nine steps to drive change and innovation through their content strategies.

1.    Be passionate and take risks

A.   Get educated, become an expert

B.   Lead by example and influence to drive change

C.   Change your mindset around conflict and escalations

2.    Get your first followers

A.   Define why you are doing it and why folks should care

B.   Turn your leadership into true believers

C.   Inspire and motivate folks in the weeds to take action

3.    Plan as a team

A.   Define success, formalize effort, establish accountability

B.   Get participation at multiple levels across the organization

C.   Establish what you ARE and are NOT going to do

4.    Start with one small thing

A.   Hyper-focus, commit and give it your all

B.   Trust your experts but validate through research and data

C.   Engage and arm your leadership to support you

5.    Make your story tell-able

A.   Put your Content Marketing skills to task, practice what you preach!

B.   Get out there and evangelize by telling the story yourself

C.   Enable others to tell your story; create shareable versions

6.    Pause and reflect

A.   Celebrate! This is REALLY hard

B.   Identify what is working and what is NOT working

C.   Revisit what you are doing and why; anything changed?

7.    Drive the change

A.   Assess progress, establish benchmark, measure success

B.   Define who and what is needed to move forward

C.   Get commitment to prioritize resources to support the effort in phases and doses

8.    Make it happen

A.   It’s a go! STOP doing what you know is wrong NOW

B.   Define what is needed by whom to embrace the change

C.   Strategize and plan together, but enable teams to define processes and execute within their functions

9.    Nurture the change

A.   Surround yourself and engage with others; keep learning

B.   Evangelize, measure and optimize

C.   Be your own best friend


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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at:


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