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My name is Prashanth Shenoy, and I‘m VP of Marketing, Cloud, and Networking at Cisco. In this article, I'm really delighted to share some of my insights, as well as some of the best practices that have led to our success at Cisco.

We’re transforming from a product marketing organization to a customer solutions marketing organization. It's still a work in progress, but we are excited about the journey ahead. I can’t wait to share some of our learnings along the way.

Main aims for this article

Throughout the pandemic, a lot of our customers have really accelerated their digital journey.  In this era, I truly believe that the role of product marketing to serve our customers has become more critical than ever before.

My job here is to convince you that we have an obligation and responsibility to change the way we do marketing from being product-focused to customer-focused. I call this 'the shift-left strategy'.

What’s the shift-left strategy?  Well, that’s what I’m going to break down for you.

Main talking points

So, without further delay, let’s dive into the main subject of this article.

What does shift left mean?

A presentation slide that says "what does shift left mean" and then a comic next to it of two men standing next to a sign that says shift left and one man is saying "we were so aggressive in our quest to shift left, we now test and find defects before we gather requirements".




Shift left is a term that was first coined in the world of software testing back in 2001. It refers to the act of shifting testing very early on in the development of a product. In other words,  you're ‘shifting left’ in the process timeline.

The idea is that you're going to find defects very early on and improve the quality of the product that you're providing to the customers. Since then, this term has been co-opted in various different places, whether it's in the supply chain or in product development.

Here I'm applying this term to marketing. I feel this is super critical for us as a profession, and I'm going to break the concept down into three areas.