By Bryan Kramer | Commentary

Marketing as a Service with CMO of Cisco, @KarMWalker

Karen Walker bravely moved to Silicon Valley in the late 1980s to explore and discover what her role could be in an exciting and changing high-tech scene. Having graduated with a chemistry degree, she was taking a leap into a new world, and she quickly taught herself all of the unfamiliar technological information.

Through it all, she kept saying ‘yes’ to opportunities that came her way. She evaluated them using three markers: Would it stretch her? Would she learn something? Would she have some fun?

Many opportunities later, Karen is now SVP of Marketing and CMO at Cisco. She believes her backgrounds in both art and science have informed and contributed to her success as a marketer. Marketing necessitates discipline and a factual element in addition to some creative juice to balance you out.

Karen shares her knowledge on the changing landscape of marketing as affected by our shortening attention spans, improved technological resources, and the increased desire for a more human element. She speaks about the power of employee advocacy, using young talent to innovate, and charting a more personal customer journey.

In This Episode

  • The difference between a sponsor and a mentor
  • Why marketing is now the white-hot profession
  • How your marketing team should be like a concierge service
  • Why customer support can be one of your best resources as a marketer
  • Why employee advocacy programs improve company culture and the bottom line
  • Integrating a human-to-human philosophy into a big company
  • Why building a diverse team is essential to success
  • What reverse mentorships can do for your company
  • The changing landscape of content marketing

Quotes From Karen in This Episode

[Tweet ““Our marketing role has changed, we are now accountable for revenue growth.” —@KarMWalker””]

“I often say marketing is the last function to be industrialized but it was the first to be digitalized. There’s so much marketing technology that’s now available that we can actually professionalize our function.” —@KarMWalker

“It’s really taking what you know about the customer, what they’re willing to share with you on a human level. It’s taking all of that data and saying, ‘Bryan,’ so it’s not Mr so-and-so or job title. It’s that human connection. And don’t do it in a creepy way but, ‘We notice this is kind of what you’re interested in: can we help you with X?’ And so you are proving so much value; you’re helping them look smarter or make better decisions.” —@KarMWalker

[Tweet ““I challenge my team, we want marketing to be so good, it’s like a service” @KarMWalker””]

“We’ve got to think about content in a completely different way. Maybe it’s the malaise of the high tech industry but we are very factual. We are every descriptive in our content and it’s really boring. It’s a sea of sameness. So we have to figure out how we engage our employees, our customers, and our partners at any one moment in time. And that it’s personalized for them. It’s not in this like gobbledy-gook. It’s human.” —@KarMWalker

“It goes back to that human connection and trust and respect. Don’t multi- task; “I’m talking to you, but really I’m doing this.” We’re really thinking through culturally, ‘How do we want to show up with each other and engage with each other? Not just as employees, not just as managers: but as people.” —@KarMWalker


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