How We Benchmarked Digital Marketing for Cisco Partners with Marketing Maturity Maps [Case Study]

How We Benchmarked Digital Marketing

We know that B2B marketers love benchmarks.

Every one of our clients wants to know how they rate against their competitors, and beyond that, how they stack up against the best brands in the world. They want to know if their email, website, lead gen, social media and content marketing initiatives are delivering the same (or better) results as their competitors, and beyond that, what it would cost for them to get similar results.

We love this question. We love this work. We love working with clients who are keen to not only understand this question but, more importantly, what do they need to do to reach the next levels of success?

That is where the Convince & Convert consulting team shines and can offer the best ROI. We deliver the exact strategies and operational playbooks to get our clients to the next level of maturity and success in the digital marketing realm.

Benchmarking B2B Marketing Maturity for Cisco Velocity Partners

In fact, we recently completed this work for one of our longest client relationships, Cisco. We work with the Marketing Velocity team in support of their Global Partner Marketing efforts.

Over the years, we have created hundreds of pieces of content to support the success of their partner base, including marketing webinars, blog posts, 1:1 partner consulting and more. Cisco knew that we understood the variations in the language, regions, resources, marketing types and more.

We started the project by sharing with the Cisco team the standard rubric we created for B2B marketing teams. Derived from our two decades of B2B marketing expertise, as well as our daily interaction and consulting with current B2B clients, we fine-tune and update our requirements often. Yet, the core tactics required for maturity remain steady.

What is a B2B marketing maturity map?

The B2b marketing maturity rubric serves as a self-assessment for diagnosing marketing maturity across 10 categories (in our case). It is meant to be an objective ranking of your organization against a perfect-scoring competitor. It highlights category deficiencies and provides a snapshot of tactics to deploy in order to receive full points and increased maturity.

In other words, if you did every tactic in each category on the rubric, you would be considered the best of the best for digital marketing maturity. Is the rubric perfect? No, not at all. But the beauty of it is you can customize it for your business.

As you think about how your digital marketing team should score on this rubric, consider the following:

1. Be honest. An inflated score won’t get you anywhere except in the same place you are now. Your score isn’t public, so be honest with where your organization is on the maturity scale and give the points deserved for this moment in time.

2. Commit to growth. After you assess your score, look back on your business goals and department goals. Commit to two areas on the maturity rubric that could impact those goals if focused on for the next six months. Make those your key areas for growth.

3. Schedule a re-assessment. Typically, we do this yearly for clients, with regular check-ups throughout the year. For the self-assessment, schedule an honest re-assessment every six months. This will keep you on track with your growth plan and allow you to see if you are making progress. Likewise, if you have reached growth in your focus areas, this is a great opportunity to add another area to focus on for the next six months.

How We Measured Marketing Maturity Across Thousands of Global Partners 🌎

In our work with Cisco, they have thousands of partners in nearly every country, all with varying degrees of marketing expertise, resources, infrastructure, and budget. Creating an equitable system for measuring partner maturity was a key performance metric for the team. With the mission to measure the maturity of partners in order to support them accordingly with programs and future budgets, Cisco asked Convince & Convert to create the customized maturity tool.

After sharing the rubric base, we customized the project through the following steps:

1. Our team met with the leads of the three global regions, allowing each to share the complexity of their partner set as well as express the cultural and local nuances of the partner markets.

2. We conducted multiple additional interviews with the next level of global partner representatives who speak with and work with partners on a daily or weekly basis. These meetings underscored language considerations and translation differences from one marketing term to another.

3. Using those interviews, the C&C team drafted a custom version of the marketing assessment tool specifically for the Cisco Global Partner Marketing base. Reworking questions and answers through the variety of use cases became paramount for ensuring the final tool was universally applicable, understandable, and fair.

4. Once the survey tool was approved and vetted by all stakeholders, we launched the survey to a test group of Cisco partners. The test group was about 35 partners of all sizes, represented by all three regions. This test group allows validation of the tool overall in terms of scoring mechanism, question interpretation, and instrument fairness.

Lessons Learned: Despite our best efforts, there were 3 questions out of the set that were, in fact, not equitable and did not assess skills in a universally acceptable way. This was key to updating these challenge areas and also validating that the overall survey reached our intended goals.

5. The final marketing maturity assessment was launched to the partner base by Cisco, and data was collected. It’s important to note that the partner base was kept anonymous from Convince & Convert. Our team was able to see scores, but partner names and other details were redacted.

Analyzing Results 📊

Following the data capture, we were able to analyze the results for Cisco across three major areas:

1. Overall score by region and by partner size, as well as distribution of marketing maturity across each digital marketing category in the assessment.

2. Analysis of scores with other maturity inputs and support from Cisco.

3. And finally, a written recommendation from Convince & Convert as to where the partner scores fall in terms of best-of-breed B2B marketing and strategies for Cisco to further educate and support partners in each area of digital marketing.

How Cisco Is Using the Marketing Maturity Results

Cisco plans to share the results individually with each partner. Additionally, they will regularly repeat the assessment for current and new partners, ultimately looking to create a growth plan for helping each partner reach the next level of marketing success. Using this assessment also informs the Cisco editorial team and partner education team on the programs and content needs to create in the future so that every partner continues to rise.

Ready to know how your digital marketing team stacks up?

Convince & Convert can create and analyze a custom marketing maturity assessment, or you can download our B2B Marketing Maturity rubric and scoring sheet to get started right now!

While You're here

Benchmark Your B2B Digital Marketing with Our Marketing Maturity Checklist — we'll send it via email now!

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How does your B2B digital marketing stack up?

Effective B2B digital marketing requires a layered approach. Use this tool to benchmark how robust your organization’s efforts are and see the areas in which you need to improve. Get your B2B Marketing Maturity Checklist sent to you via email now.