Julia Mee is responsible for all advertising, media and sponsorships at Cisco, joining the company two years ago. Prior to Cisco she held similar positions at HP, Yahoo and Electronic Arts.
Mee started her career in the advertising agency world at FCB in San Francisco working on a variety of brands including Levi's, Epson, C&H Sugar, Pillsbury and Nintendo.
What is your proudest work achievement in the past year?
Our "Internet of Everything" strategy really gained traction this year both inside and outside the company. We demonstrated the staggering business opportunity of the Internet of Everything through innovative but simple stories that drove double-digit increases in brand consideration and momentum. The results were even stronger outside the U.S., and it is gratifying that it has been enthusiastically embraced everywhere.
In addition, one of the most successful partnerships we built this year was with Wired. Their editors curated stories via reader submissions over a 48-hour period and then they published a special interactive tablet edition called "The Connective" with stories of the Internet of Everything in action.
What do you like most about your job?
I am a passionate believer in the power of a brand to drive revenue for a company, and I've been honored to work on many world-class brands over the years with many world-class people. I love seeing a brand story connect with customers and employees and become embedded into a company's DNA.
The other thing I love about my job is the people with whom I get to work. I've spent a career surrounded by creative, passionate, strategic people who challenge and motivate me every day. Cisco's leadership is the best I've ever worked with.
How can more women be successful in the B2B marketing industry?
I've honestly never felt held back by being a woman, despite spending most of my career in tech where it is a regular occurrence to be one of only a handful of women in a meeting room full of men. At Cisco, we have inspiring role models in women such as Padmasree Warrior (Our Chief Technologist and Strategy Officer), Rebecca Jacoby (our CIO) and, of course, Blair Christie (our CMO). They are powerful leaders and no one could care less about their gender. There are still real issues in the workplace and healthy conversation about barriers to success of all sorts is healthy and important. But I hope someday soon we will be able to stop asking the question "As a woman, how do I…"
I also don't think of myself as a B2B marketer. It's true we do not have a consumer line of products and we sell just to businesses and governments. But the people we sell to are still people and we need to talk to them as human beings, not titles. Once we understand them as people we can engage them on a more personal level and deliver to them relevant stories about our brand, products and solutions.
What's your best piece of advice to women in B2B marketing?
Don't think of yourself as a "B2B marketer" or as a "woman in B2B marketing." You're simply a human being marketing to other human beings. My advice is to find a place where you are allowed to be a bold and innovative marketer and take calculated risks, because playing it safe in marketing is no longer an option. If you trust your instincts and surround yourself with good people who will challenge your thinking then you can do amazing work that will make a tangible difference for your company.