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Marketing Technology Products

Patrick Lannigan, March 2008

The marketing of technology is a subject that virtually everyone (in high tech) believes they have some expertise in. Too often, however, that expertise is based on the high spenders like Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, and Cisco. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, but it doesn't help those of us with dramatically smaller budgets and smaller market segments.

To gain expertise from the tech heavyweights  it is my belief that you have to turn back the hands of time to the day when they were much younger. Back to the time when they had budgets that were comparable to you and me.

Cisco, for me, provides a great example.

Sharing an Office with Cisco

When a growing technology company expands its sales force into multiple territories they typically place their sales reps in shared office spaces. That was the case for me in 1990. Working for Progress Software, I shared a receptionist, boardrooms, photocopier, coffee machine, etc., with a dozen or so other companies. Thankfully, one of those companies was Cisco. What a pleasure it was.

When the Cisco rep was in town I would wonder into his office to get samples of his latest brochures. These weren't the typical four colour fluffy brochures that many other tech companies published. These brochures were black and white word-heavy (and diagram-heavy) brochures that were a delight for me to read. Why? They educated me. They taught me something I didn't know about a particular communications protocol or routing of protocols. I looked forward to every new brochure Cisco published. Over the years I read those brochures, the experience had helped build significant Cisco brand equity. And I ask myself, is it any wonder that when demand for the internet went ballistic that Cisco's growth also went ballistic?

Those early black and white Cisco brochures won me over, as a technical person. Yet Cisco didn't have to do it that way. They could have pulled one of those marketing "no brainers" and gone for the four colour fluff. Someone at Cisco had the courage to do it differently. Those brochures helped Cisco win the hearts and minds of technical professionals everywhere. And those technical professionals are the ones that the senior execs turned to for complex purchasing decisions like internet routers.

Working as vp of marketing for a banking software company I find that the Cisco brochure experience taught me many lessons that I still employ to this day.


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This page was created and/or refreshed on May 18, 2009 @ 12:23:15
by Patrick Lannigan (or one of his cronies) in Markham, Ontario, Canada
The page subject is: marketing

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