Cover Story: A Paradigm Shift
At Cisco, a dramatic shift is underway within the organization as it ventures into a new world of Web strategy, challenging its traditional tactics and integrating fresh principles to embrace an approach largely based on Web 2.0.
What implications does this have for online lead generation? And what affect does this new perspective have on Cisco’s ability to drive conversion? Although the San Jose, Calif.-based supplier of networking hardware, software and service offerings is not entirely abandoning the “old world,” its traditional approach is being redefined within the parameters of the “new world,” and some innovative solutions and tactics are emerging as a result.
Before exploring what Cisco currently is doing to gather, track, process and convert leads, it is useful to understand the principles on which this new strategy is founded.
At the heart of this approach is a shift from what Theresa Kushner, director of marketing, customer intelligence, calls a disruptive model—in which the organization primarily focuses on initiating contact with customers—to an engagement model in which Cisco focuses on being there for customers and prospects whenever needed. “We’re moving from a monologue, where we just send e-mails to people and they respond when they can, to a wave, where we are actually creating a dialogue with that customer,” she explains.
Providing customers and prospects with the resources and content necessary for them to self-propel through the buying cycle is a key aspect of this approach. “I think in the old world, the idea of a campaign was temporal in nature,” explains Michael Metz, senior director of integrated marketing communications,Web marketing and strategy. “In the new metaphor, the campaign is always on. And we recognize now that people are moving in and out of the buying cycle for any of our given products daily. And it’s not an opportunity to kind of hit them at one point in time and hope for the best. The idea here is that people will self-serve themselves into the buying experience as they need to, and so your readiness for the buying experience needs to always be there,” he details.