Blair Christie: 2015 Marketing Hall of Femme Honoree

Blair Christie is a self-described extreme extrovert. And as SVP and CMO of Cisco, she doesn’t shy away from delivering bold results. Generating more insightful leads and better aligning marketing with its sales team has enabled Cisco to produce an additional $2.8 billion pipeline.

Marketing strategy: Brand-to-demand—and all of the way through [the demand funnel]—is really the broader way of describing Cisco’s approach to marketing. We’re tying everything together. We have a dashboard that goes from awareness, to response, to reach, to revenue…. Content and our digital engagement are the core foundation pieces to [our] brand-to-demand approach.

Winning ways: If I stay on the theme of brand-to-demand, I’ve been extremely proud of the revitalization and the refresh of Cisco’s brand that we kicked off in 2012 and we continue [to run]. We just had our recent installment of that campaign in January. And by all ways that we measure it, it has been successful and continues to drive not just thought leadership and awareness for Cisco, but [also] a compelling and inspiring story that drives directly to what we’re selling today. The other thing that I’m proud of is the revenue marketing work that we’ve done.

Defining moment: First, I made a move to Cisco, which meant that I moved across the country. I went from a small technology company to a very large [one]. At the time it was almost the largest market cap…. I was in the world of investor relations. Then, about four or five years into that I had another idea where I wanted to consolidate corporate communications at Cisco. [Finally,] stepping into the CMO role was a big change; I went from [overseeing a team of] about 250 people to 1,200 people.

Trend watching: It goes back to the basis of what we think is part of this next wave of the Internet; we call that the Internet of Everything. It’s more than just bringing things together. It’s really the connection of people, process, data, and things. It’s a huge opportunity for business in both the private and public sector, and it’s what I think is going to quadruple or be five or six times the impact of what we saw with the first wave of the Internet…. But I also see huge impact for society.

Words to live by: “If you can see it, you can achieve it.” –My mother

Good read: Thrive by Arianna Huffington

My colleague [and] really good friend of mine—actually our CIO at Cisco—has encouraged me to read it for about nine months now. I recently had a lot of change in my personal life…. But also, we’re always busy professionally. She kept encouraging me that [the book] was going to hit me right where I needed it most.

Good advice: Be authentic and be you. It’s easier to be yourself all of the time than be someone else for even 15 seconds.

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