Meet Juniper's Cartoon Killer

7:35 AM -- For my first-ever meeting with Lauren Flaherty, chief marketing officer at Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), I was debating whether to bring up the cartoons.

It's not that I was worried about offending her; I just wasn't sure anyone would care. The cartoon campaign died two years ago, when Flaherty arrived as part of the new team brought in by new CEO Kevin Johnson. (See Juniper Kills the Cartoons! and Juniper's Cartoonist Isn't Bitter.)

Not to worry: Flaherty brought up the topic first. This was back in June, when we met during a break at a marketing-executives' conference. Flaherty had just spoken at the conference, even using Light Reading's cartoon headline as a prop.

For some time, I'd hoped to talk to Flaherty, because marketing has been a crucial component of Johnson's new Juniper machine. The past year or so has seen Juniper develop a different personality, more ambitious and even more extroverted. It's not just the cartoons or the new logo.

Flaherty confirmed that Juniper had changed the way it engages the outside world in general. Bragging about engineering worked in Phase One, but Juniper had to do more. Hence the New Network pitch that was introduced a year ago, and the deepened emphasis on software. (See Juniper Takes Over the Network and Interview: Stefan Dyckerhoff, Juniper EVP of Infrastructure.)

Juniper also needed to handle data center customers differently from the telcos. "When you get into hundreds of thousands of enterprises, the marketing requirement changes by an order of magnitude. You have to create the reach," she said.

The approach with resellers got modified, too -- something that was particularly on Flaherty's mind, because Juniper had recently held its partner summit. "They needed leader cover. Juniper was and is really well known among the network architects, but the selling cycles have changed to include the C-suite. If you're a partner, you want to have that air cover so when you bring Juniper forward, the CIO knows who Juniper is."

The new approach -- and the New Network, with Juniper's emphasis on applications and open software -- will be in the spotlight Thursday, during Juniper's analyst conference in San Jose. The following Tuesday, Sept. 28, Juniper gets the spotlight again when CEO Kevin Johnson gets honored by Silicon Valley's Churchill Club as its Industry Leader of the Year.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:22:51 PM
re: Meet Juniper's Cartoon Killer

And, you know, it's not as easy to spot Juniper on industry event show floors any more... in the earlier part of the past decade all you needed was a glimpse of the cartoons, even from a distance, to know where to find the Juniper folks.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:22:50 PM
re: Meet Juniper's Cartoon Killer

Well, now they've got the spirograph thing.  Pic:


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