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

September 22, 2010

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.

comments (1)

Daniel Honigman

January 12, 2011 8:54am ET

Great point towards the end. As a social media marketer, I find I learn a lot by talking to experts in the other areas of my business -- people who know about TV, circular, loyalty. It helps me develop a better understanding of the business and its overall needs.

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