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By Dr. Gil Dekel.

In his excellent talk at Southampton University[1], Jeremy Beavan (Vice President of Technology Marketing at Cisco) shared strategic tips for digital marketing officers[2]. Here is my summary of 6 of his main points for successful marketers:

Marketers need to develop a vision and purpose, and bring brand to life in the context of where the world is right now and where it is going to be next.

Cisco[3] is a successful networking equipment company, but to come up with the idea of connecting people, via networks, one first needs to have a vision. Vision is crucial to marketers’ success, since it changes people’s lives.

Marketers need to use insight that is available through the ‘internet of everything’. The ‘internet of everything’ connects products to the internet, and provides insights into people’s habits. It has economic value of 19 trillion dollars.  It can connect such things as a pacer, an iphone, and a sensor (where you can remotely control your home)[4].

We don’t just connect devices and things; we also connecting people, data and processes. We’re connecting them in new ways, gaining insights into their lifestyles. This generates power insight. For example, when you go to a shop, anonymous data is collected from your iphone. It is possible to know where people spend most of their time while they are inside the store. We can know where the queues are, and at what times. We can compare what people say in social networking. This is done anonymously.

Marketers need to use this insight to generate ideas and create new opportunities to improve people’s lives. If the train is about to be late, for example, maybe your alarm clock can know this in advance and wake you up a bit later? Or, maybe we can put sensors in bins to notify which bin is full and needs emptying. Billboard advertisements could be interactive. They could respond to how fast your car passes by, and adjust the advertisement accordingly…

Marketing officers need to use insight as well as active collaborations with stakeholders, to generate results.

In the past, field marketers were employed as sales support – they would help to sell. Today, they need to understand the output – they need to sell and also understand the customers. In the future, the marketing function will be to make impact; to drive revenue through active initiatives that generate sells.

When a situation is tough in a company, the first department to face budget cuts is usually the marketing. Therefore, marketers need to be efficient, and show the net increase that they generate. They need to drive results.

Marketer can do so by generating leads. They should contact customers that express interest, and then speak to the sales people. Tell the sales people that if you generate leads, then in return they would complete the sale. The sales people would then see the impact and benefit of working with the marketing people.

In truth, there is a person behind any company, behind any phone call, and behind any internet search. Marketers need to make more contact on an individual level with these people.

Most customers start a journey to purchase something by themselves. In a self-initiated stage, customers would do a research, and speak to others who bought the product already. This is done before the marketer makes any contact. So when you make a contact with these people, it means they already decided that they want to buy.  As marketers, we need to engage clients in these self-initiated stages.

People remember stories; they don’t remember data. Any marketing project is emotional in essence. It engages emotionally with clients by telling them a good story. Marketers should develop stories out of data; make communication visual and interactive.

Marketers should talk to the business people in their organisation not with a ‘marketing language’ but with a ‘sales language’, using numbers. Talk to sales people and to the leadership, with the language of selling.

Try to have a variety of roles at the beginning of your career. Running teams gives you experience and insight.


[1] Jeremy presented at Southampton University on 29 April 2014. He is alumni of Southampton University.

[2] About marketing officers’ role:
‘Marketing’ refers to such aspects as brands, campaigns, segmentation, engagement, customer data, and digital data. ‘‎Intelligence’ refers to IT capacities such as automation, security and big data. Combined together, Marketing Intelligence refers to insight about the total customer experience.‎

[3] Cisco was formed in 1984. By 2013, it had a 50 billion dollar business. Germany is the largest Cisco client for products for business relating to the ‘internet of everything’.

[4] This trend increases the need for networks, which is good for Cisco’s business.

22 May 2016. © Gil Dekel.
Photo of abstract roof by © Samuel Zeller/Unsplash. Used with permission from author.

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6 Strategies for Digital Marketing Officers by Dr. Gil Dekel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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