BtoB's Best Marketers: Blair Christie, Cisco Systems

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If 2011 was all about Cisco Systems honing its unified marketing message for the enterprise and service-provider sector, then 2012 was about finding the right agency to craft and deliver that message. In June Cisco hired Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, as its new agency of record; new creative is expected next year. “It was a really great time to have a transitional story,” said Blair Christie, chief marketing and communications officer, worldwide government affairs, at Cisco. Christie said Cisco liked how Goodby put digital marketing at the center of its strategy. (She declined to give details on the forthcoming campaign, noting only that its imagery and communication would continue to convey a “connection and expression in humanity.”) Cisco was an official supporter of the London 2012 Olym-pic and Paralympic Games, serving as the official network infrastructure provider. It created Cisco House in East London as a technology exhibition hall and worked with British schools, sponsoring science fairs and funding other education initiatives. “Thousands of people went through the Cisco House,” Christie said. Thousands more visited Cisco's Olympic website, where it used social media, video and interactive games to show off its support of the Olympics and education programs powered by such technology as its WebEx app. Christie also said the company is creating more content through the Cisco Visual Networking Index, its effort to track and forecast the growth of IP networks worldwide. “We're creating content around major marketing transitions and overall areas of our society changing,” Christie said. Cisco recently compared the data usage between the Republican and Democratic national conventions through a fun graphical chart. This content is “more broad than a Cisco press release. It has a life of its own,” Christie said, adding it “[also] enables us to have a richer engagement with our customers and influencers.”
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