Cisco's Human Network Campaign: #2 Result on Google

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 actively, 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.”

  1. # Ron West said: January 23rd, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    A good part of me feels like this is what happens when the mainstream market attaches to a theory or concept which has primarily been curated by a non-mainstream audience.

    When I read some of the stories listed on the landing page for this campaign, I was not that impressed. The stories (while interesting) seemed to fake or “taylored” as if some Cisco editing took place before the content was published. Most of the underlying architecture which makes social networking successful is that the content is pure. In addition, the architecture for sharing provides a mechanism for collaboration.

    I would love to see some comments from people close to these authors or even the authors themselves. Talk to me about how the created the content themselves to get the sense for how much of the content was edited or shaped by people within Cisco.

    By the way, the Cisco landing page now appears as the top result when typing in human network.

  2. # Cisco’s New Human Network Ads Let Readers Submit Definitions at ChasNote said: May 31st, 2007 at 5:55 am

    [...] off the success of last fall’s seed campaign, where FM business and technology authors supplied definitions of the human network for ads on [...]

  3. # Chas said: June 5th, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks for the feedback, Ron. Cisco didn’t edit or shape the definitions at all. You think they meddled with those definitions from Boing Boing and 43Folders?!

  4. # AskTheMarketingGuru.Info said: August 17th, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Hi there,

    Great post about networking. I just found an awesome site that TESTS your ability to achieve to success in network marketing. It’s an online interactive quiz that gives you a personalized and customized self-analysis in just 60 seconds! Sounds like you know folks who would like to reach that level of success in network marketing… I know they would be pleased to have you share this valuable success resource with them.

    Check it out at: http://www.AskTheMarketingGuru.Info

    Steve Milar

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