Cisco Partner Marketing Boss Girds For Channel Marketing Blitz


Cisco's new head of global partner marketing says she'll not only continue the momentum Cisco has with its unique partner-dedicated marketing programs but will also revamp and expand them with an eye toward actionable, brass-tacks resources for Cisco channel partners.

That will mean new programs, as well as greater emphasis on popular Cisco programs like its annual Partner Velocity event.

"The vision I'm setting out for global partner marketing is that we are the world's preferred partner marketing experience," said Amanda Jobbins, vice president of global partner marketing, in an interview with CRN Thursday. "Partners have shared with me that they want Cisco as simple as possible to work with. They love what we've done already for marketing enablement, and they want more of it."

Jobbins was named to the role in July, and she reports to Blair Christie, Cisco's chief marketing and communications officer. She succeeded Luanne Tierney, who left Cisco for Juniper in January, but her role is also expanded from what Tierney's was -- more aligned to Cisco's corporate marketing resources and with a broader charter, Jobbins described.

Cisco's ongoing corporate restructuring has some partners worried that Cisco's highly regarded partner marketing programs would fall by the wayside. Jobbins has spent her first months meeting with partners to assure them that's not the case, and plans to continue to spend as much time as possible with the channel, including North America-based partners who don't yet know her.

A native of London, Jobbins is now based in San Jose, but spent her recent years at Cisco as vice president of European marketing under Chris Dedicoat, now Cisco's president, European Markets.

"I absolutely loved that role, and I did a lot of speaking engagements," she told CRN. "But the key thing is that I am a career marketer."

Jobbins role will cover partner marketing in Cisco's Customer Led, or large enterprise and service provider, accounts, and also the two segments within what Cisco has defined as Partner Led: Partner Led Named, which has a midmarket focus, and Partner Led Velocity, geared toward Cisco small business products, managed services and cloud services sold to SMB.

Marketing resources, said Jobbins, are a big part of the $75 million Cisco's pledged toward the Partner Led initiative, and she's working closely with Andrew Sage, vice president, Worldwide Partner Led.

Among Jobbins' priorities will be to look at different ways to package up Cisco's various products, services and solution sets into consumable bundles for partners to market. She will also look to align partner marketing campaigns with global Cisco brand awareness campaigns, so that, say, if Cisco is launching a global campaign around CIO "care-abouts" like the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, partners will be able to customize their campaigns to hit at the same time.

Cisco is in fact planning potential quarterly campaigns around cloud computing and what Jobbins called the proliferation of devices and "the data deluge."

"What I'll be doing is looking at how I can positively incent them to run those campaigns," she said. "It'll be a lot more wood behind the arrow."

Another key branding element, said Jobbins, is that Cisco's partner marketing team will look to highlight Cisco technology specializations partners have -- such as in unified communications, unified computing or wireless LAN -- as part of marketing.

"We will bring more awareness to the end user about the benefits of working with specialized Cisco partners," she explained.

Elsewhere, Jobbins said she's conducting audits of Cisco's communities and social media presence, and reaching out to solution providers to determine how they prefer to engage with Cisco in those mediums, and how often. A marketing-specific community for Cisco is also in the works, she said.

Jobbins also confirmed the relaunch of Cisco's Partner Velocity Conference, an annual Cisco channels event focused on best practices for partner marketing and involving outside marketing expert speakers. The next Partner Velocity will take place February 28 to March 2 in Las Vegas, though there will also be virtual events tied to Velocity happening every month, according to Jobbins.

"It's a flagship event for us and it's fantastic, so I want to grow it and expand it even more," she said.

Next: More Plans For Cisco Partner Marketing