CTE Career Journeys – Marketing

Abigail Hess

Associate Product Marketing Manager • Career and Technical Education • National Geographic Learning | Cengage

Interview information

Name: Francesca Quinn 

Title: Global Head of Marketing Technology

Career Cluster: Marketing

Company: Cloud Communications Division of NTT

Additional Career Highlight Information

Career Outlook: 8% growth (faster than average)

Average Salary: $132,620 per year

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree. Courses in business law, management, economics, finance, computer science, mathematics, and statistics are advantageous. For example, courses in computer science are helpful in developing an approach to maximize online traffic, by utilizing online search results, because maximizing such traffic is critical for the success of digital advertisements and promotions. In addition, completing an internship while in school can be useful.”

*All career outlook data is collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Question and Answer with Francesca Quinn

Q: Describe your career journey, how did you earn your current title? Please include any required education, certifications, skills, or personal qualities you believe helped you achieve your current role. How did you decide this industry is where you would like to work?

A: The role I hold didn’t exist 20 years ago or even 15 years ago. I actually have a major in cellular/molecular biology. But after school, decided I wasn’t ready to settle into a laboratory. So, after school, I first worked in a research company managing data for medical research projects. There I discovered a love for data and analytics. However, it took me another 3 years, a cross country trip, working in a few startups and the internet bust of the early 2000s to finally go back to school. 

I earned a certification in client/server programming and began a teaching fellowship in database development. In 2005, I took a business course at a marketing agency building out calling databases and routines for marketing initiatives. I did that for three years for work being executed globally. When our London office grew to a point that they needed someone doing this for them fulltime, I raised my hand and relocated to London. Around this time, my company partnered with an up and coming organization called Eloqua (now owned by Oracle and leader in their industry). This company focused on marketing automation and delivering personalized marketing experience using the digital body language of prospects as they interact with your web and email collateral. My company needed someone to learn this tool and given I was their technology person, I was trained to do so. I then began delivering and executing end to end automated marketing campaigns for a host of clients, while also still building and cleaning databases. 

Eventually, the work grew and I became Head of Technical Services for their EMEA team with 5 people reporting to me. At some point in 2012, after almost 8 years with this company, it was time for me to move on. I accepted the position of Marketing Automation Manager for Arkadin (now Cloud Communications division of NTT) looking after their instance of Eloqua and training and supporting their marketing team on the use of the tool. 

As the industry grew (there are now more than 7000 marketing technologies on the market), so did my role. The rise of the marketing technologist began and I was at the forefront with my company. I now look after the entire marketing technology stack. I review technology for risks and to ensure they meet business needs. I work with IS/IT on integrations so we do not create silos of data. I work with marketing teams to help them source the best technologies to meet their business needs and I own vendor relationships. In addition, I help guide the business of marketing strategy, process building, and resource training to ensure we get the most out of our investment. This role is relatively new to the business but is starting to be seen in many larger organizations. Universities are now offering classes specific to marketing technology and the role it plays in business. At this point, there are still only a few of us and many have similar circuitous pathways in their journeys to here but soon this will be a more common role in all businesses. It is perfect for those who love technology, data, and also the creative side of marketing.

Q: How does your role interact with other others? (co-workers, customers/patients/clients, other companies/organizations, and the community?)

A: I work with people all over the world. My current role allows me to work from home but it can also be an office-based role. I have a team that sits in London that reports to me and we have internal stakeholders based in Atlanta, Chicago, Paris, London, Singapore, Melbourne, and more around the world. I am often on calls with VPs of Marketing and Sales as well as with Sales operations and marketing operations teams and our local and regional marketing teams. I also spend a lot of time working with various IS teams, especially our SalesForce team in providing good customer service to our business end-users.

Q: What do you like best about your current role?

A: It always challenges me. Things are ever-changing in the marketing technology space. New tools come out every year. Other tools consolidate or deprecate. So I have to keep learning in order to make sure I am on top of the industry. I also love that it gives me a chance to work with some many teams globally.

Q: What kind of challenges do you come up against in your current role?

A: A lot of people still don’t understand what marketing technology is for or what my role does. Often people view tech as the way to solve all problems at the push of a button. And tech is often blamed when things don’t work. However, it is really a three-pronged approach of people, process, and technology that allows us to be successful. There first two being the most important. This means onboarding and successful adoption can make or break a new tech. I have had things fail because the processes didn’t exist or the people weren’t ready for a new tool. This can be frustrating and there is a lot of teaching involved. However, it is also what I love. When we make things work and everyone aligns together on a process, it is very rewarding.

Q: How do you expect your role or industry to change over the next decade? The next few years?

A: This industry is only going to grow. Marketing technology will have peaks and troughs but it will also continue its upward trajectory. New challenges like GDPR and other privacy regulations or the rise of Artificial Intelligence will mean the industry needs to reinvent itself again and again. Having someone who understands and can guide a business on the ever-shifting landscape is becoming more necessary, not less.

Q: What advice would you give a high school student who is interested in working in your industry?

A: Don’t just study marketing or technology. Study both. Take classes around data management, analytics, and reporting. Understand why data underpins everything that marketing does now. Understand marketing campaigns and customer journeys and experiences. This role is still so new that you may not find courses strictly on it but learning the two specialisms together will set you up nicely for finding a role post-college. I have often hired people because they understood marketing data and then taught them the technology.

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