Cisco To Partners: Use Social Media -- You Can Bet Your Competitors Are


Tom Van Guyt, senior marketing manager at BT Benelux, the Belgium-based arm of global solution provider BT, said BT already has started investing heavily in social media, namely through its own blog that also integrates content from LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook.

"We started an evangelist program in the Benelux [branch] within BT two years ago called 'Let's Talk,' " Van Guyt said. "It's our own blog, and has become the blog for the whole of [BT] Europe."

BT's next step, Van Guyt said, is leveraging its blog as an inbound marketing tool, from which it can find and qualify leads. "Let's Talk," Van Guyt continued, is part of BT's overall strategy to shift its marketing dollars from traditional above-the-line marketing campaigns to building out BT's online presence, making sure its brand is optimized for Google searches.

"Above-the-line marketing is completely dead," Van Guyt said. "We realized that already. All the money that was spent above the line is now focused on reputation management."

In addition to social media, the need for solution providers to break down the barriers between their marketing and sales organizations is a major theme being highlighted at Velocity. More specifically, Cisco's Walker stressed the importance of partners' making marketing more accountable for pipeline planning, meeting revenue goals and other items that have been traditionally and narrowly associated with sales organizations.

"Marketing needs to be an accountable partner with sales. It also has to be accountable for revenue numbers," Walker said. "[Marketing is] your agent for growth."

This year's Cisco Marketing Velocity event is the seventh in Cisco's history, drawing in more than 200 Cisco partners from 44 countries.

PUBLISHED APRIL 17, 2013