Cisco Marketing Velocity Day 2: Data and Storytelling are Essential in H2H Marketing Previous item Cisco Cyber Security... Next item Cisco Velocity: Now I’m a...

Reflecting on Day 1 and now Day 2Day 2 of the Cisco Marketing Velocity (#mktgvelocity) conference, there was so much quality information provided, it was almost overwhelming. This feeling of overwhelming is not much different that what all marketers are feeling today. We have access to so much data, but often can’t sift through it all, for the quality customer data we need.  In day 2 of Velocity, one point was clear. It’s not about the data alone. Its about the using the data to make a human-to-human connection. It’s about personalized customer engagement.


Data is the driving force behind today’s successful marketing campaigns, but it must be used correctly. Unfortunately, according to Tim Wilson, Sr. Partner of Analytics Demystified, marketers and analysts –who want and need customer and market data – are frequently at cross-purposes, digging into data prematurely and failing to distinguish between performance measurement and hypotheses validation. In his presentation, Digging for Buried Analytics Treasure: Mapping a Clear Path to Actionable Insights, Wilson outlined the difference between performance measurement and hypothesis validation and shared two “magic” questions, which must be asked in order, to determine meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • What are we trying to achieve? (i.e. Maximize sales through the website)
  • How will we know if we’ve done that? (i.e. Revenue, Revenue per visit)

But once you have set your targets, asked your magic questions, determined the difference between the ways you want to use your data, what then? According to Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor of the  Content Marketing Institute, that is where “storytelling” comes into the equation.

During his workshop, Storyhelping: A Creative Workshop – Getting to the Heart of Your Business Story, Rose explained that remarkable, original content is the only marketing that matters. Great marketing, he says, is essentially storytelling, and shared ways to make your marketing story come to life real-life examples and understanding your audience. He says there are only two audiences: the one that you already have and the one you don’t have yet. To capture either, you must get to the heart of your story and that includes pulling real data from your customers and probing them to find out more about the “whys” behind their actions.


The last step in the process, from what I took from Martin Lindstrom’s presentation, is taking the data and the story and creating the right branding and social media strategies around them for today and tomorrow. Lindstrom, a brand “futurist” and best-selling author, presented “A Look Into the Future – Capture Customer Attention with Future-Proof Brand and Social Strategies,” said that there is no such thing as B2B or B2C marketing any longer. Rather, marketing must be H2H – human to human.

Companies that are missing the mark are those that present marketing campaigns that are missing the human aspect.  He said that marketers must talk to the end users – the end customer – to really get to know what they are saying and feeling to be able to market to them successfully.


The bottom line for me from the 10th Annual Cisco Marketing Velocity conference is that data is and always will be an important component of marketing for today and tomorrow (see my Day 1 post about digital transformation and omnichannel marketing). However, data that is not eventually used to tell a story, or data collected without tapping into the end users’ emotions or human insight, is almost wasted. Brands need to use data that reflects actions and the reasons behind those actions to market to how their customers feel inside.