Early in June 2007 the Wall Street Journal printed a story about how 'conquesting ' is taking over Internet advertising. Conquesting is the method where vendor A places product advertisement next to article about vendor B's products.

WSJ notes that it's always been a big thing in automotive, but the Internet makes it economical and critical to the 'lessor brands'. Because search engines taught advertisers how to win the bidding wars for search relevancy of some search results, why not on editorial pages? Some publishers are even charging a premium to enable this.

This is a big technique that Cisco often used. For example, Nortel announces Power Networks in 1996, and Cisco runs up a program called 'Cisco Powered Networks.' The Cisco announcement happened only weeks later, but took the steam out of the Nortel campaign which eventually fizzled away, while Cisco kept its investment in CPN which cleverly leveraged their developing service provider and ISP channel.

All discussion about suing Cisco over the potential brand of PN went away once the costs were understood of such an undertaking. Unfortunately, this wimpy approach only embolded Cisco to take what they liked.

Could conquesting work for the seven dwarfs? 


I think it would work, and work well. CMOs need to be careful that Cisco's marketing budget exceeds the revenues of many of the dwarfs. This means that they have to tell a broad story that can provide windows and spaces between the armor plates as it were.

Of course, the dwarfs should make sure that they're positioning isn't same as Cisco, but cheaper. 

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