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Continued Education & Connection to Key Partners

Client

Cisco is the worldwide leader in IT that is shaping the future of the Internet and how people connect, communicate, and collaborate.

Location

Headquartered in San Jose, CA, USA

Services Provided

  • Content and user experience consultation
  • Content hub creation
  • Content hub strategy, management and ongoing curation
  • Reporting and measurement

Overview

How do you take a behemoth tech company and personalize it to partners in a global economy? Further, how do you connect with these partners around the world in an engaging way without always asking for a sale? Cisco not only wanted to connect; they wanted to make their partnerships more valuable by providing a free service to them, such as a “Youtility.”

Situation

Around 85% of Cisco’s partners engage in digital marketing. Cisco wanted to help their partners do digital marketing really well. With so much to know on this immense subject, from email to SEO to advertising, Cisco wanted to be seen as an expert resource.

The company wanted to create a partner hub in which to organize industry-specific articles, videos, webinar opportunities, and other relevant content. Accessible to all partners, this gives the Cisco team a dedicated location to share information and helpful resources without a password-protected site.

Having worked with Convince & Convert on a live workshop for their partners, Cisco reached out for help to create the hub, to manage the curation of information, and to post relevant articles on a weekly basis. They wanted this to culminate in the creation of content for a weekly email, which Cisco would then send to its partners—including the highlights and noteworthy items added to the partner hub since the last update. They just needed the right team to help them execute.

Challenges

Although Cisco was already in a great position to offer their partners superb content, they still faced implementation challenges:

  • Overcoming corporate security and complex website structure
  • Introducing new technology and tools that worked with the existing website platform
  • Finding ongoing ways to drive traffic to the hub
  • Ensuring curated content was applicable to various skill and knowledge levels within the global partner audience

Solution

Convince & Convert’s solution was to create a Marketing Velocity Hub that sits outside the Cisco firewall – a non-password-protected area that is accessible at all times to all partners. It’s a fresh approach—a new twist for Cisco—and considered an extension or a “pre-cursor” to their existing password-protected, “behind the firewall partner support” that is currently available across its global regions.

CISCO-Bryan-Sherlock-Quote

Cisco’s goal was to have its first content hub live within 15 days, and the first email ready for curation in 30 days. Convince & Convert started by creating a portal in Uberflip, their preferred partner for content hub management and creation. Convince & Convert managed all aspects of the setup, including basic branding, initial navigation, and “stream” creation through Uberflip.

Convince & Convert worked with the Cisco Marketing Velocity team to craft a launch plan to promote the content hub to partners. Convince & Convert co-led the launch strategy, with Cisco handling the execution and materials/communication creation as needed.

On an ongoing basis, Convince & Convert curates up to 10 articles each week, with the top 5-7 articles added to the Cisco Partner Hub through Uberflip. “Articles” include industry reports, webinar opportunities, infographics, videos and/or any other piece of content, which can be linked to and attributed either directly from Cisco or other legitimate resources.

Additionally, hub visitors are able to opt-in to a weekly email highlighting the new articles and opportunities from Cisco. The team provides Cisco with usage stats on a monthly basis, and a quarterly stickiness brief, which details usage reports and anecdotal feedback from partners to revise and enhance promotions and distribution.

Results

  • Achieved the strategic priority of a regular partner communication.
  • Sophisticated, new curation topics to an opt-in list that grows by 5% every month.
  • The Marketing Velocity Hub regularly attracts visitors from 58 countries and counting.
  • Based on content consumption, the team has learned which digital topics users are interested in, and Cisco has been able to create custom content to respond to that need.
  • Marketing Velocity Hub Impact: In the first six months, 253 marketing content items published, 146 different publishers featured, 3,518 unique visitors to the hub, a 50% non-U.S. audience, suiting global engagement priorities.
Client
Texas Exes – Alumni Association for The University of Texas
Location
Austin, Texas USA
Services Provided
Situation
Like many alumni organizations across the country, Texas Exes saw declining engagement, challenges with hitting giving goals, and in general, had a harder time getting the attention from their target audiences. It was a good time to re-connect and re-assess alumni sentiment and needs.
Challenges
Although the Texas Exes had a strong organization and following, they still faced significant challenges:
  • Generally speaking, the University of Texas at Austin has a very decentralized culture, which pervades every related organization and department.
  • Texas Exes wanted to make sure that teams used to operating independently didn’t just see this research as something for the marketing team to use in crafting giving pitches, but data that could inform and guide every area, from student outreach, to events, to fundraising and beyond.
Solution
Convince and Convert started by implementing an attitudinal survey that asked alumni how they felt about the association generally, events and benefits, as well as their feelings about their time at the University of Texas at Austin. Convince & Convert then performed a thorough analysis, developed personas, recommended strategies, and content ideas that would support the needs and desires of the alumni. One of the key findings was that the alumni’s main unmet desire was more professional interaction, including networking, mentoring and job opportunities. When COVID hit, it became clear that they had a significant opportunity not to just move events online but do so in a strategic and intentional way. Texas Exes had been in conversation with Graduway, a platform that provides a private social network with robust features, for more than a year. In six weeks, Convince & Convert helped the Texas Exes accelerate this concept, finalize their contract, and plan a launch strategy. In addition, Convince & Convert helped organize conversations beyond just Texas Exes alumni needs to include Career Services, Athletics, and a number of colleges within the university to ensure they all had some ownership in how their corner of the platform would come together.
Results
Convince & Convert crafted plans for each of their service areas to evolve to better match the needs uncovered in the survey. Texas Exes was proud to have the most successful higher ed launch Graduway has ever experienced and are using the insights gathered from this active and engaged group to develop and refine future plans for the organization and the university. Reached 8,000+ users in four months after virtual networking space rollout.

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