Last month’s “Welcome to the Human Network” campaign by Cisco continues to illustrate the impact of “author-driven” or “conversational marketing” beyond the surface metrics of impressions and click-through rates. Sure, by letting authors lend their names and personal definitions to Cisco ads on their own sites, Cisco’s ads experienced better-than-average click-through rates.
But more than that, the campaign introduced a new phrase — “the human network” — to the business / IT lexicon. As proof, the term has made its way to Wikipedia as an entry, with Cisco getting credit for popularizing the phrase. The campaign’s landing page, because it’s a collection of insights and definitions from leading business and tech thought leaders rather than marketing-speak from Cisco, attracted links from sites across the web. Now, as a result, a Google search for “human network” returns the campaign’s landing page in the #2 position — ahead of Cisco’s own site.
I forget which coach for the Italian national soccer team coined the phrase “total football” for a style of play in which every player played like he was active, offensively involved in every play, wherever he was on the field; every player firing on all pistons, all the time. This kind of ad campaign ought to be called “total marketing.”