“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” –Jack Welch, former CEO, General Electric

The rapid march toward digital transformation requires companies to shift their strategy to not only keep pace with digital change and shifting consumer demands, but also stay one step ahead. In his presentation at Transition SF, Cisco’s VP of Digital Marketing, Joseph Puthussery, outlines how Cisco is reinventing itself–changing everything about how the marketing team approaches “bringing the customer into the brand.”

Joseph points to five key strategies and developments that Cisco leveraged in order to fundamentally change the way they go to market: customer experience, omnichannel marketing, analytics, technology, and finally, talent.

1. Customer experience: At a legacy brand like Cisco, customer experience drives brand success and longevity. However, the definition of customer experience is rapidly evolving, and it starts with customer expectations. The customer expects a thoughtfully architected journey of interactions with your brand. So, Cisco’s engagement with the customer had to shift from focusing primarily on the post-sales stage to being inclusive of the pre-sales stage.

2. Omnichannel marketing: Today, there are more channels than ever to communicate and engage with your audience. In order to effectively connect with customers across multiple touch points, Cisco invested in a system to consolidate content production across channels in one accessible, efficient, visible place.

This enabled the marketing team to think more about their audience as they planned and produced content–instead of creating content and then trying to find a relevant place for it. Cisco’s new omnichannel process began by identifying the relevant audience, and from there defining what content that audience needed. Percolate served as the central node, connecting all the elements of  Cisco’s marketing team and tech stack in an easily accessible and collaborative space.

“We’re going to stop being a service bureau and painting pages. We are going to start thinking about, 100% of the time, where are we engaging? What is the engagement level? On which digital channel?” –Joseph Puthussery, VP of Digital Marketing, Cisco


3. Analytics: In Joseph’s words, “analytics and data are the oxygen for digital.” By leveraging Percolate’s campaign planning, content creation, and analytics functionalities, Cisco could track engagement on their content, determine what was useful, and then “cut the weight.” In doing this, Cisco was able to lay out a new process for how they look at content, manage that content internally, and how [they] look at content performance, and plan for strategy.”  This has helped them to become a more agile and adaptive company–and ultimately transform digitally.

“Every single interaction in the world leaves a footprint that leaves valuable information about intent, purchasing habits, the way people shop and consider.” –Joseph Puthussery, VP of Digital Marketing, Cisco

4. Technology: The right technology is key to any digital transformation. But as Cisco learned, it’s not just about buying the right tools, it’s also about honing a tech stack that unites your team and workflows. The technology that Cisco invested in, including Percolate,  threaded together an extremely fragmented and inefficient environment into one system that allowed “250 million records per day [to be] available to every marketer in the organization.”

For example, before Cisco began their digital transformation, the top 0.12% of their website was getting 92% of all engagement, which meant that the marketing team was producing content for 3.95 million pages that weren’t having much effect on the business. In Joseph’s words, it was time to “cut the weight and get in shape.” By centralizing their workflows and connecting their tech stack around Percolate, the marketing team was able to not only create content more efficiently, but also more effectively–increasing traffic and engagement across their site.

We now have over 30 million visits a month to the site, we are a revenue engine as part of that of around 7 billion. We’ve invested in the technology, we’re starting to change the way people think about omnichannel, and of course we are making those big investments in customer experience that enable us to get to the future.” –Joseph Puthussery, VP of Digital Marketing, Cisco

5. Talent: Finally, Cisco had to reshape how they recruit, train, and manage their talent to begin thinking like more a consumer company. They needed new skillsets–more expertise around content production, analytics and digital marketing to drive their new strategy and rethink how they approach engagement.


These five strategies have had an enormous impact on Cisco’s current and future successes. Percolate’s campaign planning, content creation, publishing, and analytics functionalities have enabled Cisco to tease the useful and impactful content out of the millions of pieces going unengaged–ultimately allowing Cisco to save time, money, and resources. Keeping pace with the ever-transforming digital world is a challenge for almost all global brands, but a thoughtfully architected tech stack coupled with the right strategy and talent are key to transforming today and for the future.