The following was submitted by Angie Moe and Chris Rosenquest (TMMBA Class of 2011)
We visited Cisco on the Friday after arriving in Germany. We were escorted into the Cisco offices, and given name tags. Ulrike Tegtmeier, the vice president of European Markets gave us a talk about her company and their strategic take in the market. Ulrike focuses on the consumer products side of the business. Cisco was founded in 1984, and had its first office outside the US in 1992.
They have a collection of brands, some the we recognized:
A big focus of their attention right now is the Flip video recorder. She expressed some of the difficulties launching in the EU market. The EU has many small stores, compared to our large retail stores. It makes it challenging to have a display box in the a shop that has limited real estate. Interestingly, 70% of customers who buy video recorders didn’t come in with the intention to buy – the decision is made in the store. She said that the Flip is a fashion item in the US, but hasn’t made that transition in the EU.
She spoke more indepth about Linksys routers. She said the’ve consistently used a blue color to differentiate them from the competition. They also found that they had a high return rate on routers – so they put an emphasis on setup wizards. The setup wizards dropped their retail return rate by 12%.
Interestingly, she said that Europeans aren’t as accent sensitive as the Americans are. She also that Cisco also has competitors in each country in the EU. There is an increased sense of national pride, which works against them with their global brand.
We wrapped up with Cisco, and then headed over to the Movenpick Restaurant. We had a really tasty lunch of chicken breast with ham, green pepper sauce, string beans and potato gratin. Half of the items were wrapped with bacon (yum). We were all delighted to see a green vegetable that wasn’t pickled or marinated. For dessert we had a choice of ice cream. There may have been a few of us that went for seconds, but I’m not naming names.