Uniting rational and emotional needs of B2B decision makers to help Cisco market more effectively

We refer to Escalent as our Goldilocks solution. They are big enough to provide a full research offering, and small enough to deliver incredible, personal service. They sit at the intersection of high quality and high touch, and this allows them to deliver a superior product every time.

Business Issue

Cisco realized that its world was shifting. Winning customers wasn’t as simple as reaching a decision-maker and demonstrating that the firm delivers better business value than the competition. Leadership felt that it was its ability to create compelling and deep brand associations that demonstrate personal value to the people in the organizations buying from it. Cisco believed that understanding of individual buyers’ motivations and attitudes, together with the needs of the company’s business, will help it more effectively retain and grow its B2B business.

What We Did

Cisco chose market segmentation, as the approach allowed it to understand the commonalities among major personas of IT buyers. Escalent designed the research to focus on the individual decision-maker while still considering the context of the organization. The first phase explored possible segmentation bases through qualitative interviews and focus groups. The second phase involved a quantitative online survey that used multivariate statistical techniques to build segments. The final phase implemented and tested the findings through a controlled pilot, and involved developing plans to extend to other audience groups.

Result

By investigating the relationship between organizational attitudes and individual styles and learning preferences, Escalent uncovered segments with rich profiles that allow for strong targeting. The segmentation revealed four distinct personas of IT buyers—Pragmatists, Balancers, Jugglers and Catalysts—with very different points of view, objectives and preferences. The four key personas they uncovered have very different needs and learning styles, and Cisco is now designing unique experiences for each persona—a critical component of winning and keeping them as customers.

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