Marketing Musings

Marilyn Mersereau, SVP of Corporate Marketing at Cisco Talks About Marketing With Bob Liodice

Posted: Sep 22, 2010 12:00am ET

Here is an interview I had with Marilyn Mersereau, SVP of Corporate Marketing at Cisco, who will be speaking at the upcoming 2010 ANA Annual Conference – The Masters of Marketing:

Q: The theme of this year's conference is growth. What is one thing to which you can attribute your brand's growth?

A: Cisco has been extremely fortunate to post strong results, quarter after quarter, year after year. With the continued growth of the business, the brand has had to expand and grow to become relevant in new markets and with new customer groups. Close alignment of the brand strategy to the business has created tremendous opportunity for the brand to grow.

Q: Marketing has evolved immeasurably in the last 100 years, since the ANA was formed.  What has been the best evolution for your brand?

A: The most marked evolution for Cisco was moving to a societal change positioning - beyond traditional networking and technology category benefit position. In 2006, we had the opportunity to rebrand Cisco as a company that truly changes the way we work, live, play and learn using the network as a platform, by introducing the concept of the human network. The human network helped to convey Cisco's role beyond the network closet as the company that really brings people together using technology to achieve and accomplish amazing, wonderful things.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the ANA Annual Masters of Marketing Conference?

A: It's always so great to hear from my peers and gain some insight into their perspectives. Today Cisco plays in the B2B and consumer market. As the two worlds come closer to each other every day, other companies are also playing in both markets - it's not an easy task to take on, but I think that together we can help each other be successful.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have for your fellow marketers of today?

A: The best advice that I can share with other marketers is that we need to get really good at a new, collaborative way to work that includes input from you're our customers and employees, as your brand ambassadors, to be successful. Today's customers and employees demand authenticity and transparency - it becomes obvious when a company is not open and genuine. Companies need to engage with customers on a individual relationship basis as part of the greater, global human network.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have for the marketers of tomorrow?

A: I think it's really important to remember that the newest is not always the best and that everything in balance is key - traditional media is still an important part of the media mix. Marketing today and in the future is about the relationships and conversations that you can establish with your customers to build brand loyalty. Using traditional with social and interactive media will help to develop a meaningful relationship and ongoing conversation. Not everything is meant to be a viral success.

Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld On Growth, Marketing, and the Annual Conference

Posted: Sep 13, 2010 12:00am ET


I am delighted to have had the opportunity to interview a few of the talented, distinguished speakers we are having at the 2010 ANA Annual Conference – The Masters of Marketing. These men and women have much to share with the marketing community, and I invite you to read the conversations that took place and to get a sneak preview of what's to come at this year's Annual Conference – The Masters of Marketing.  First, here is an interview with Cindy Gallop, Founder and CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld:

Q: The theme of this year's conference is growth. What is one thing to which you can attribute your brand's growth?

A: IfWeRanTheWorld is very new (just 6 months old in beta) but is growing steadily, and has received a highly positive response to date. It's a radically simple web-meets-world platform designed to turn good intentions into action, one microaction at a time. As such, it leverages the fact that the old top-down model of making things happen through hierarchies, institutions and organizations is broken, and there is a new bottom-up model emerging, of collaborative people power and collective action. Post global financial meltdown and recession, there is a feeling of 'only we can get ourselves out of the mess we're in', and a strong desire from people to take matters into their own hands. I believe it is this dynamic, and how easy IfWeRanTheWorld makes it for anyone to turn individual intention into collective action, that is driving our current growth.

Q: Marketing has evolved immeasurably in the last 100 years, since the ANA was formed.  What has been the best evolution for your brand?

A: The best evolution for IfWeRanTheWorld has been the now pretty much universal understanding that in order to earn the right to do business in the world today, brands must be corporately socially responsible, and the much less common but increasing understanding that the best way to do this is to integrate social responsibility into the way you market your brand, to find a way to make money and do good simultaneously. IfWeRanTheWorld brings brands and consumers together to activate combined human and corporate good intentions, through strategic Action Programs that deliver social benefit together with product sales, and result in Action Branding - brands marketed and defined by their actions. Today consumers want to see communication through demonstration - brands walking the talk - and IfWeRanTheWorld delivers that.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the ANA Annual Masters of Marketing Conference?

A: Solidarity. Everyone, without exception, has had a really tough time business-wise, and has had to do their damnedest to find innovative and hard-nosed ways to drive growth. So I think that this year more than ever, there will be a tremendous feeling of 'We're all in this together', and a combined determination that all of us find ways to grow and succeed. I believe that the future of business is all about collaboration, in ways that we don't often see currently, and I think this particular Conference will really help that.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have for your fellow marketers of today?

A: The new marketing reality is complete transparency. Everything a brand does today is in the public domain, courtesy of the internet. For anyone who finds that a terrifying prospect, the answer's very simple (and it's the same answer for brands and people). If you know exactly who you are, what you stand for, what you're all about, and you always behave and communicate in a way that is true to you: then you have nothing to worry about, because you are never found doing anything to be embarrassed or ashamed of.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have for the marketers of tomorrow?

A: My favorite quote of all time is computer scientist Alan Kay: 'In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.' I would say to the marketers of tomorrow, decide what YOU think the future of marketing is, and then invent it. Look at everything happening around you, decide what you believe in as the future of marketing, and redesign and restructure everything about the way you do your job - your team, your processes - to enable you to make that future happen. You can't do new world order marketing from an old world order place.

ANA's Activities in Washington, DC

Posted: Aug 2, 2010 12:00am ET

The advertising community achieved a great victory in Washington DC, by ensuring that the FTC Reauthorization Act was not part of the financial reform bill. Today I want to go into detail about why this was so important to the advertising/marketing communities.

The Emerging Media World

Posted: Jul 14, 2010 12:00am ET

One hundred years ago all we had to talk about was print media and the ROI on print media, now we have new tools in the digital and social media world. Today I will go into detail about digital and social media including how we use these tools to build brands.

Sponsorship and Event Marketing

Posted: Jun 29, 2010 12:00am ET

Sponsorship and event marketing is a great way to engage consumers that have a significant viral impact. Today I will be going into more detail about why companies are spending more time on sponsorship and event marketing.

Measurement Across the Board

Posted: May 28, 2010 12:00am ET

A few years ago marketers were pushed more aggressively to provide measurements to better understand the relative outcome of marketing investments. Today I will be talking about measurement across the marketing industry as a whole.

Food Advertising & Marketing to Children

Posted: May 14, 2010 12:00am ET

Food advertising to children has been subject to a lot of conversations over the past few years. A few years ago the marketing community created the food and beverage initiative. However, recently the government has released a few disturbing new communications regarding marketing to children. Today I will be talking about food advertising to children.

Privacy and Self Regulation

Posted: May 13, 2010 12:00am ET

Recently a draft of legislation was created to address privacy situations both in the online and offline communities. Most legislation can do quite a bit of damage to business in Internet advertising. Today I will be talking about privacy and self regulation.

Socially Responsible via Ad Council

Posted: May 3, 2010 12:00am ET

Marketers must be socially responsible. We have to keep the benefits and wellbeing of society at the forefront as we pursue our advertising and marketing objectives. Today I will be talking about social responsibility and the Ad Council.

The Marketing Supply Chain & Ad-ID

Posted: Apr 20, 2010 12:00am ET

Today I will be talking about the need to make the marketing supply chain more productive and more cost efficient. The use and deployment of Ad-ID provides the basis for substantial benefits for the entire ecosystem.

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About This Blog

In this video blog, ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice offers his non-sugar-coated perspective on the key challenges affecting the marketing and advertising industries.