Juniper Networks' hiring of a top marketing executive from larger rival Cisco Systems is meant to help boost sales made through distributors and is part of a broader effort to revamp its marketing efforts.
The hiring of Luanne Tierney, former vice president of worldwide partner marketing at Cisco to that same position at Juniper, was the third recruiting coup in less than a week for the No. 2 maker of Internet equipment. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company also poached two former Microsoft execs for VP-level positions.
Juniper has traditionally been a very engineering-focused company with great products, but its marketing efforts have often missed the mark, according to one industry analyst. Since the company named Lauren Flaherty to the post of chief marketing officer in Jan., 2009, it's become more customer-focused, said the analyst, Ray Mota of ACG Research in Phoenix, Ariz.
"They've always had great products, but they need more business savvy. It's critical for them to make their channel efforts more strategic," said Mota, who called Tierney "a heavy hitter."
Before the addition of Flaherty, Juniper sales presentations would often be filled with technical jargon and short on vision, Mota said.
"Customers would say 'yeah it's great technology, but what do I do with it?' and Juniper wouldn't have an answer," Mota said. "Now the marketing is more professional."
A spokeswoman for Juniper, Stefani Carver, said Tierney would not be available to speak for the company until she joins Feb. 7.
In the third quarter of 2010, Juniper had a 33% share of the market for the Internet routers that sit at the center of telecom networks, the most recent report from ACG shows. Cisco had a 64% share. Compared to a year earlier, Cisco had gained 2 points of market share, while Juniper had lost 1 point.
Also last week, Juniper said it had hired Brad Brooks, Microsoft corporate vice president for Windows consumer marketing, as its new vice president of worldwide enterprise marketing, and Emilio Umeoka, formerly the president of Microsoft's Asia Pacific region, as senior vice president for Juniper's worldwide reseller program.
Look for Juniper to be hiring more marketing pros with experience working with distribution partners or with networking equipment.
Write to John Shinal