Inspiring Women - How to be Technology Marketing Rock Stars
I’ve always had a passion for technology, and it has only grown living in Silicon Valley. Drawn to the creative side of work in technology, I knew a role in marketing would be a great fit for me. Throughout my career, I’ve learned what it takes to be a woman marketer in technology, as well as lessons for the next generation of tech marketers.
The greatest learning experiences my career has taught me
There is room in tech for anyone that is willing to learn and not let their lack of a technical background hinder them. When I came to LogiGear, I had no idea what test automation was—I came from a background in doing marketing for Real Estate—but I was willing to learn. As long as you are willing to take the first step, others will help you, which helps diminish the knowledge gap, thereby growing both your own technical knowledge and confidence.
Additionally, I think it’s more prevalent in tech, but most businesses underestimate the amount of hard work it takes to be a good manager, from both an individual employee perspective, and a management perspective. In technology, sometimes people get promoted based on their technical chops, and the fact that they are a rock star but that doesn’t mean that they’re skills will readily translate to being a great leader. Managing projects is a lot different than managing people, so it’s important for new managers to get help with transitioning from top performer, to manager, to leader.
Encouraging women to pursue technical careers
Several things need to happen to encourage women to pursue technical careers, but making a technical education more accessible to this underserved group is the most important. When I was in high school, computer science wasn’t offered, nor were any programming classes—this also never came up as potential vocation during career fairs.
In college, there was a lack of digital marketing classes. It was only through experience and additional classes that I was able to learn about key marketing specializations, like social media and SEO.
On the whole, roles for marketers are shifting. Programming and understanding things like HTML, PHP and MySQL are only going to be more in demand, especially as companies head more towards big data. Marketers must be able to synchronize and make meaningful insights of data more now than ever. We saw this shift at LogiGear a few years ago and were able to get ahead of the curve. We implemented advanced analytics with SQL to more accurately track our leads through the entire buying cycle.
Employers can play their part too by creating a culture that is more inclusive for women, as well as providing better compensation and benefits packages for women. Women are still primary care givers in the US, and in order to attract top talent, firms need to offer better benefits for parents.
The importance of females in technology leadership positions
Having female technology leaders contributes to a more blended pool of talent to create new and better business opportunities. Any minority group is going to have different values and be able to bring new insights to a company that can help positively impact that bottom line.
These female leaders also help bridge the gap between product lines and customers to help businesses succeed. Females make up half of America, and women aged 24-40 have the purchasing power in the household. Female leaders can better understand this group of buyers and help the company be more successful by offering products that these consumers want and need.
Women should also work together to share, highlight and embrace leadership opportunities to help inspire more women to take on these kinds of roles. Women shouldn’t rely on men to solve this problem or to create more opportunities for women. Instead, women should work together to demonstrate and celebrate existing opportunities. If more women realize these leadership characteristics, it can help them to build confidence to use their skills in new areas, like technology.
Industry leaders can encourage women in technology through a supportive environment
Management teams should also endorse constructive feedback from employees—this isn’t always easy in tech, where emotions are known to run high. LogiGear, for example, encourages employees be proactive in giving feedback and making suggestions for areas of improvement, both externally with clientele, and internally. This instills a sense of ownership in every employee and a commitment to having a high standard of excellence. My ex-manager once told me “Christine, I’m a fan of whatever idea wins,” which stuck with me and has since given me the confidence to give constructive feedback without fear of repercussions.
Advice to women just starting their technology marketing career
It’s okay to not know exactly where you’re going to end up in marketing. Marketing is such a broad department, that you can specialize in an area that you find passion in later. It’s important to try as much as you can, figure out what you have a natural ability for, and ideally find an area that stretches you to grow technically.
When starting a technology marketing career, it is important to be continuous learner. As technology shifts, you must understand how it impacts your vocation, and the industry you work in as a whole. Continuous learning has helped me to bring great ideas back to the company, and we’ve often run with them to find success.
Learning SEO was one of the best things I did, because it’s one of the main channel drivers for revenue for our company. Without this knowledge, I wouldn’t be half as effective as my job as I am today. Looking back, I’d also say that my willingness to learn new skills, and take on the hard projects that no one else wanted to touch, advanced my career faster and further than my contemporaries. So, I’d say when an opportunity at work presents itself—seize it.