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Editor's note: See Roy and Luanne in person at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Driving Sales: What's New + What Works. Catch their session on "How to Become a Marketing Champion Inside Your Organization." Sign up for the event and use promo code ESPK08 to save $200 on the registration fee.

Luanne Tierney, Senior Director US and Canada Channels Marketing at Cisco, has had a 20-year career in technology marketing—the past 12 years at Cisco, and before that at Apple, HP, and 3Com.

She is what I call a "Marketing Champion," because she drives cash flow for Cisco by helping channel partners market more effectively. If you are attending the MarketingProfs conference in Boston on June 9 and 10, you will be able to hear first-hand of her successes.

While helping to coordinate our conference presentations, I learned about her philosophy of leadership in marketing. Excerpts from those discussions follow.

Roy Young: To what do you attribute your success in marketing?

Luanne Tierney: I spend a lot of time speaking with our internal sales teams, as well as our channel partners. Spending this time engaging directly with these two groups versus spending time sitting behind my desk answering email allows me to truly understand what our internal sales teams and our channel partners need from marketing. This understanding allows me to set a vision and develop marketing programs to most effectively address their needs.

Of course, understanding and vision are nothing without execution, and my ability to execute on my vision is also a big contributor to my success. I also realize that I don't know it all and get great ideas from everyone (my marketing team, our sales teams, our partners, etc.). I love having people call me on my cell with their ideas on how we can help them with marketing.

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Roy Young is coauthor of Marketing Champions: Practical Strategies for Improving Marketing's Power, Influence and Business Impact. For more information about the book, go to or order at Amazon.