August 29, 2015

Hello Arizona Marketing Technology!

Welcome to AZMarTech

Thank you for your interest in diving in to learn and discuss how the intersection of Marketing and Technology is changing the world.

Ok, changing the world for many businesses, industries, individuals as well as Marketing itself. I started this space to raise awareness and build community around Marketing Technology (MarTech) in Arizona. Around a year ago I found an article about the concept of MarTech—and after diving down the rabbit hole, I (like many others) found Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape graphic:

Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2015)

I was impressed by how much detail and time must have gone into the categorization of that many companies, especially when many of those companies have difficulty categorizing themselves (or go to great pains to showcase how they are different). While the graphic didn’t pull me in, the conversation definitely did. And I kept researching.

A little background on me: I had started my career off as a designer (after a brief summer at Baskin Robbins) and got into color theory and learning CorelDraw. After working in it and studying it in college for a bit, I decided that I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer 8 hours a day doing design, only to go home and play around on a computer in my spare time. So I switched to studying English, of course! I did some writing, some architecture (AutoCAD) and a variety of other things before coming to the realization that everything I enjoyed doing put me in front of a computer (as a lot of jobs nowadays do). I needed to get over it and do what I do best.

Eventually I got into software development and business (through a financial publishing company), then graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors in Computer Information Systems (W.P. Carey School of Business). I had a degree, a job working in the area of my degree, and what I thought was a great start to a long career. 5 years later my company got bought out and as low man on the totem pole, I got let go from the development team.

It was through the whole job-hunting scene that I really learned what skills were and weren’t valuable. The programming language I had worked in for the past 5 years was a specialized financial desktop publishing language which only 12 companies worldwide used at the time. Those 5 years of experience were considered worthless to any company I came across—I was starting from the bottom again.

I wasn’t going to be caught in an industry/language that didn’t matter ever again, so I dove into open source languages on the web. I ended up beefing up my knowledge on WordPress. That, along with self-teaching myself analytics and SEO, made me valuable again. I was finally able to start progressing in the web development field the way I wanted to.

After splitting time between 2 part-time development jobs, I found a web analytics firm that was searching for a developer with WordPress knowledge. That’s when I ran into Dave Evans. In going through the interview process, he told me something that another developer had told me years before, that if you understand programming, then the language shouldn’t really matter, it’s just syntax.

There and then I knew I had found someone that “got it.” (This is coming back around to MarTech, I promise).

Eventually Dave pulled me into a new life at Infusionsoft. Over the years working together, we’ve pushed each other and done a lot of fun, great work. He shifted over to a Marketing Operations role and as I started leading the Web Development team. I thought more seriously about where my career was going and what my next steps would be. I remember distinctly talking to our CMO Greg Head about it, asking him where he thought I would best fit. Then, about 6 months later, I found Scott Brinker discussing the role of Chief Marketing Technologist. While I didn’t think I was anywhere near being Chief anything, the convergence of marketing and technology intrigued me. I was following Scott on Twitter and saw a new article: The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist. I was already hooked in the second paragraph of the article:

“CMTs are part strategist, part creative director, part technology leader, and part teacher. they have a common job: aligning marketing technology with business goals, serving as a liaison to IT, and evaluating and choosing technology providers.”

#boom #micdrop

That was end of story for me. I had found through some of the work at Infusionsoft that strategy was part of my native genius – something I do naturally, without any effort and would do freely on my own time. My continued interest in design and user experience with web development spoke to the “part creative director” portion. I also love to learn, which fits in nicely with the constantly changing landscape of Marketing Technology.

I had grown up in a family that taught dancing as a way to make a living, and had done quite a few years of it myself. I was always analytical and the web analytics focused definitely brought about a more in-depth perspective on being data-driven in a business environment. I loved collaborating with people and never understood why different parts of the business who could do so much better working together, seemed to work at odds with one another, or at least ignore each other until necessary.

This marketing technologist distinction really hit home and felt like it was talking to both the left and right side of my brain:

Modern Marketer Brain - Unicorn

After a year of research, conferences and discussions, I wanted to continue digging deeper, but realized that Arizona wasn’t really a hot bed for anything MarTech. Along with my cohort in crime (Dave), we decided upon a great suggestion from Charles Halladay to take this internally focused initiative of growing Marketing Technology outside of our company and start a meet-up.

I’m excited for our first session discussion MarTech Stacks this evening. There are some big plans on the horizon—and we welcome one and all to contribute to the discussion and community. This is a newer area of focus for businesses and there is plenty of room for thought leaders and personal growth. Jump on board!

Check out and join one of our upcoming MarTech meet-ups. Sign-up and join the conversation on Slack. Fill out the form in the sidebar to let us know what things you’d like to see discussed. Let’s get to building and collaborating!

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