Navigating the Future of Tech Marketing


The Gist

  • Role evolution. CMOs have shifted from branding to front-line business strategies, key to increasing market share.
  • Tech influence. The tech industry, especially post-COVID, has redefined marketing through virtual events and a surge in martech tools.
  • AI in customer experience and AI in digital marketing. AI is not replacing but enhancing roles, offering efficiency in content creation and translation tasks.

When most people think of the C-suite in companies, they envision roles such as CEO and CFO. However, in today’s digital environment, where businesses fiercely vie for customer attention and loyalty, the CMO has emerged as a pivotal and prominent position within a company.

Today CMOs are responsible for more than internal branding, they are on the front lines of business growth strategy and are the key to increasing a businesses’ market share. 

The various stages of a growing seedling in soil on white background suggesting the evolving role of the CMO.
The role of the CMO is evolving. New Africa on Adobe Stock Photos

To get an insider’s perspective on how the marketing landscape has shifted over the past few years within the tech industry in particular, I sat down with Holly Fee, vice president of marketing, at Infragistics, Inc.

With over 20 years of creative experience launching successful marketing campaigns for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, McNeil, Vistakon, Procter & Gamble, Merck and more, Holly is now responsible for executing Infragistics’ global marketing strategy. She has experience ensuring the company’s brand attributes are supported in new business pursuits, and reinforced in the marketplace through multiple channels, including, advertising, public relations, digital media, events and sponsorships. Below we discuss her career and how both the tech and marketing industries have transformed in the years since COVID and where they are headed.

Editor’s note: the author is a UX Fellow at Infragistics.

Creative Roots to VP of Marketing

Tobias Komischke: To get started, tell us a little about yourself. Why did you choose to do what you do and how did your career lead you to where you are today?

Holly Fee: My initial aspirations weren’t marketing-related — I actually began my career in the creative field with a passion for design. I spent many years working for a marketing company, primarily focused on integrated promotions and events. However, the advent of the internet marked a significant turning point for me. I had the opportunity to work on groundbreaking projects, such as developing the first digital presence for brands like Splenda, Pepcid and ACUVUE. This shift allowed me to experience a whole new world, where we were creating online content and games, newsletters and digital ads that expanded the reach of our offline campaigns.

When I joined Infragistics, I brought along some marketing experience, but what really drew me in was the opportunity to dive into the tech industry and enhance my digital expertise. Reflecting on my time here, one standout aspect is the incredible learning culture at Infragistics. Surrounded by very smart individuals, everyone is approachable and ready to lend a hand. Our CEO sets the tone by actively engaging with the team, sharing ideas over lunch, and encouraging an environment where questions and challenges are not just welcomed but embraced.

As I settled into my new role, I embraced this culture and started asking questions, dissecting our strategies, and examining how our creative and marketing efforts were perceived on a broader scale. 

Over time, my role shifted from a primary focus on creativity to a more comprehensive one, involving coordination across creative work, metrics, project management and team dynamics. At this time, I knew I needed to make a change, so I employed the help of my mentors and broadened my skill set through pertinent courses in marketing and analytics. This journey marked my evolution from creative director to my current role as vice president of marketing.

Related Article: AI in Data Analysis and the Evolving Role of the CMO

Tech Marketing: Evolution Amidst Pandemic and Tech Boom

Tobias: How has the marketing landscape in the tech industry changed in recent years, especially with the occurrence of COVID?

Holly: COVID definitely brought about significant changes. Remote work became the norm, eliminating the familiar routine of in-person meetings, spontaneous whiteboard sketches, watercooler chats, and casual cube interactions. However, it didn’t alter our core activities as much as it reshaped the way we approach them.

With the absence of traditional in-person events during the pandemic, we navigated through a series of transformations. Initially, we transitioned from all in-person to fully virtual events. Fast forward 3-4 years to now, and we’re witnessing the return of in-person events. This journey taught the industry invaluable lessons about the diverse reach and engagement levels of different event types. While virtual events can draw thousands, there is less focused participation. Targeted webinars attract a smaller but highly engaged audience, and in-person face-to-face interaction at events still plays a pivotal role in building relationships and fostering connections. Now that we know the benefits of both event types, we marketers can utilize both to have a more robust events strategy. 

When it comes to technology, the past three years witnessed an explosion in the number of platforms and martech tools, doubling the options available to us. The industry now boasts over 12,000 different tools, presenting both opportunities and challenges. Navigating this expansive landscape requires strategic focus — determining which of these tools are the right fit for our organization and where they can enhance our operations. It’s crucial to acknowledge that the inclusion of new tech comes with a price tag, significantly impacting costs and budget allocations — which is why it’s so important to understand what technology is the right fit for your company. 

Related Article: How COVID-19 Changed Marketing

AI’s Role in Digital Transformation in Marketing

Tobias: Have those changes altered your role as marketing head within your tech company? What role does AI play?

Holly: Yes, these changes have certainly impacted my role as the head of marketing. We’ve had to place a stronger emphasis on digital marketing strategies and leverage AI in various aspects of our work. We’re actively engaged in growth hacking and seeking continuous improvements in our efficiency. The central question for me revolves around expediting access to answers: How do we streamline processes and gain insights faster?

It’s important to note that AI is not a replacement for any member of our team. Instead, it functions as a valuable assistant, augmenting our capabilities. One notable area where AI plays a pivotal role is content creation. It helps with repurposing lengthy blogs or articles into bite-sized pieces, which offers significant time-savings and serves as a dynamic tool, not replacing but complementing human creativity. It’s like having an AI assistant!

Additionally, AI proves instrumental in translation tasks. Websites, videos, voiceovers and marketing materials are streamlined, significantly easing the process and resulting in substantial cost savings. This not only accelerates the editing process but also enhances the overall quality of our work. Once AI has facilitated the translations, then we can have our employees go in to ensure the nuances of the material are accurately conveyed.

Related Article: How Is AI Changing Digital Transformation?

Data-Driven Decisions: The Power of Data Analytics Tools

Tobias: In a world of big data, how has data analytics and data science technology influenced your decision-making processes and strategies?


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