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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Cisco’s Vice President of Americas Marketing and Communications, Michelle Chiantera, leads a team of marketers who are in lockstep with sales to capture market share and accelerate growth in the Americas. Michelle and her team strive to deliver amazing customer experience through marketing innovation and cutting-edge technology.
Michelle has been a leader at Cisco for over 18 years. She spent many years as a leader in partner marketing, where she was laser-focused on helping partners grow and evolving marketing into a core business engine.
Interviewed by Swastika Singh
/ / How has the PRM function evolved in your company over the past few years?
Partners represent 85% of Cisco’s business, which makes our partner ecosystem critical to our overall success. As Cisco evolves its business model, we need to enable our partners to do the same. With marketing playing a major role in driving growth, we have invested in enabling our partners to be modern marketers. This is where our Marketing Velocity platform comes into play. Marketing Velocity is designed to accelerate partners’ marketing practices by providing them the marketing training and education they need to stay up-to-date and have the right skills to match where they are on their journeys.
/ / How do you recruit your partners? What parameters do you consider while choosing a partner?
From a marketing perspective, we meet our partners where they are in their marketing journey. Some partners will be recruited into our Marketing Velocity program to build the skills needed to be a modern marketer. Other partners, who are more sophisticated in their marketing practice, could be recruited into one of our brand campaigns to showcase their partnership and success. For example, a few years ago, we showcased Dimension Data’s and our joint work in saving the Rhinos in Africa through our joint-technology solution. This was a very successful marketing campaign and highlighted how Cisco + Partners technology has the ability to make a great impact in the world.
/ / What are the challenges that you face while managing your partners?
The difficulty Cisco has in managing partners is that all partners are different. It’s challenging to have one program to meet all of their needs. This is where personalization comes into play. We know that partners have different business models and are in various stages of their transformations, so our goal is to provide the most relevant support for each partner. For marketing, we also understand that every partner has a different level of marketing maturity. This is why we have invested in our programs, platforms and tools – to try to be digital-first and personalized in the content and services we deliver.
/ / Is partner onboarding a critical function in partner management? Should companies create different onboarding programs for different partners?
Absolutely. Every partner is at a different stage of their journey, and their needs will vary greatly based on this. Getting to know the partner through onboarding is critical, and will dictate how you support them through your PRM. For marketing, we also onboard in different ways based on the partner’s current marketing practice and needs. This is where our platforms, like Marketing Velocity and Partner Marketing Central, have been hugely successful. They are very customized and offer a wide variety of content to fit different needs and help marketers along their journeys.
/ / What are the different partner performance metrics you track?
The end goal is for our partners to evolve their marketing practices to be more modern. We index our partners based on four quadrants. On one end of the spectrum would be those having limited to no marketing expertise, and on the other end, those highly skilled in marketing. We track the performance of the partners as they move through their journey.
/ / What are the different content assets that you create for your partners? What role do they play in enabling your partners?
This all depends on the type of partner they are, and how they fall into our support model. Some partners have Partner Marketing Managers, while others have Business Development Managers. Based on their coverage, they may receive help building joint-marketing plans, GTM plans, etc. Also, all of our registered Cisco Partners have access to a tool called SalesConnect, through which they can access a wide variety of enablement and sales tools. From the marketing standpoint, we offer Cisco Partner Marketing Central. Partner Marketing Central is our activation solution, which gives partners the tools they need to connect with the right audience at the right time, with the right content through targeted services and campaigns.
/ / What are the different types of training that you conduct for your partners?
Depending on the role the partner plays, we have a range of partner programs and enablement opportunities available for all Cisco Partners. We recognize that training and enablement is critical for our partners to succeed and stay relevant in the market. One of Cisco’s unique offerings to partner marketers is the Marketing Velocity program, which is our education platform. Its purpose is to keep our partners’ marketing practices current. Partners can leverage many types of training and stay current on all the marketing trends and tools.
/ / Do you create co-branded marketing content for your partners? What are the other partner activities that you undertake?
Another unique offering we have for partner marketers is Cisco Partner Marketing Central. This is our activation platform, which gives partners what they need to execute their marketing practices. As far as content is concerned, there are many preloaded assets available for campaigns, launches, etc. that partners can personalize and execute.
/ / Do you think companies are investing enough in PRM?
While we can’t speak for other companies, from a Cisco perspective, we know the value that partner relationship management holds. We will continue to invest in the right resources so that our partners can be successful.
/ / What are the tools you use in PRM?
As it relates to marketing, Partner Marketing Central is one of the main tools we use to stay connected to our partners and help them activate with their marketing practices. The tool can be used to customize campaigns and content or to stay up-to-date on marketing funds, demand-generation services or analytics. We have designed this tool to help us meet partners where they are and provide them with what they need to be successful in their various stages of evolution.
/ / How is the evolution of technologies like LMS (Learning Management System) and lead distribution through marketing automation changing the PRM function?
Our goal is to digitize and automate our processes to reduce the administrative burden in areas such as lead management, as well as to make learning available in real time.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive PRM in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
Getting partners the right content at the right time through the right channel, based on their journey, is what this comes down to. Helping our partners grow profitably and differentiate themselves in the market is top of mind.
PRM systems should provide an intuitive way of engaging
Mike Fino, COO & Jacqueline D. Woods, CMO, IBM Partner Ecosystem
Taking your partner along: PRM in organizations
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) has been considered a natural extension to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.
Partners need rich, marketable content to sell better
Aimee Catalano, Head of Global Partner Marketing, Google Cloud
Managing and growing a diverse set of partners and alliances is critical to brand success
Jay McBain, Principal Analyst for Global Channels, Forrester
Automation helps serve more partners with fewer resources
Allison Gapter, Vice President of Global Partner Marketing, Demand Generation, SAP