Cover Story: A Paradigm Shift
This thinking represents a marked departure from traditional demand-generated activity, as well as an opportunity to deploy resources in a more efficient way. “Rather than spending all of our time and energy out driving new customers to us, what we’re trying to do is be more responsive to customers when they’re leaning forward and coming to us,” says Metz.
Embracing the Wider Web
Part of this new-world thinking is the shift of Cisco’s focus on its Web site alone to the Web on a broader level. “We’re moving a little bit from just Cisco.com-centric stuff to the wider Web,” says Kushner. “Things happen on other people’s sites that are directly affecting Cisco, and we’re trying to take advantage of that as well.”
For example, Brian Ellefritz, manager of integrated marketing communications, emarketing, explains that identifying other sites on which a Cisco.com user spends time can help the company gain a deeper understanding of how to drive other users to Cisco. “Some of that will be simply watching … and understanding what the conversation is about Cisco in those places,” says Ellefritz. “And, in other places, we might find an opportunity to inject Cisco into the conversation or do something more traditional like a banner or serve up content and things of that nature.”
Data vs. Insight
The manner in which data is collected and managed in the new world sets it apart from the traditional approach. No longer merely data, now the information is perceived as insight, and it enables Cisco to understand behaviors and trends, consequently allowing for customer engagement on a deeper level. “Understanding and listening to your customers is an ‘old world’ phrase, and it means something different in the ‘new world,’” says Metz.
Deciphering this insight ultimately can foster more productive relationships with customers by providing the necessary tools to generate and convert leads. “I think most of the advances from a marketing perspective are not on more effectively driving leads,” says Metz. “We’re pretty good at that. But what do you do with the people when they come to your site? How much do you pay attention to them? How much do you understand about where they’re coming from, what their interests are, maybe even what they bought from you in the past [and] what their satisfaction level is?” he asks.