Cisco’s Journey to Digital Transformation

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros
Cisco Joseph Puthussery
Cisco’s Joseph Puthussery

Cisco is in the middle of a digital transformation, and that means morphing into a customer centric organization.

“It’s no longer digital marketing, it’s marketing in a digital world,” says Joseph Puthussery, vice president, digital marketing at Cisco. “The world has transformed, and every marketer has to think about how expectations have changed.”

IDC IT buyer research shows that in 2013, B2B buyers blamed themselves if they had a problem with the process required to buy technology. Today, buyers blame the vendors.

“The best customer experience anywhere sets the bar for customer experience everywhere,” says Puthussery, speaking at the ANA’s Masters of B2B Marketing conference in Chicago on Wednesday.

The business world is a sea of change, he says, noting that marketers need to look no further than the taxi or hotel industry to see what the business world has done to disrupt business models.


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Next week, the company will host 30,000 people at Cisco Live. But, as Puthussery notes, he has 30,000 people visiting Cisco.com everyday. “We might have 30,000 people in the room [in Orlando], but we might have more than 100,000 online at any given time watching the keynotes, and we need to make that experience come together.”

Digital levels the playing field in how marketers can engage customers and prospects, and data can be the differentiating factor in connecting with your audience, he says.

Puthussery outlined five pillars of digital transformation for Cisco:

Customer Experience: It isn’t just about the website, he says. Social, advertising and digital all have to work together with live events and every possible touchpoint. The brand needs to connect with consumers in every possible channel. “We need to combine data and keep the journey going in an omnichannel experience,” he says. “A poor impression can lead to six months before a customer reengages.”

Content Marketing: Today, content writers have to consider search when crafting their work. Content has to be written in easily digestible components; rather than concentrating on 30-page white papers, writers should be focused on content that will create a social conversation and create engagement. “You need to identify personas and create the content that will take the customer on the desired journey,” he says.

Analytics and Insight: One of Cisco’s biggest investments is being able to connect every single touchpoint back to data to understand the overall customer experience. “We have 30 billion records of data,” he says. “There’s no point to data unless you can do something with it.”

Performance Marketing: Cisco is looking to aggregate engagement, via an engagement score that takes different touchpoints into account to score each customer interaction, to study harder metrics. “We’re good at looking at the bottom of the funnel—it’s easy to look at pipeline and bookings, but the real question is what do you do at the top of the funnel,” Puthussery notes.

Automation: “Brands must invest in the technology they need,” he says, noting Cisco has built a strong technology foundation with systems in place to manage video, search and every other part of its strategy, with machine learning being a big focus going forward. “We’ll augment as we go.”

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