PODCAST 97: How To Approach Changing Trends In The Global Economy w/ Tameka Vasquez

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Tameka Vasquez, AVP of Global Marketing for the High-Tech and Manufacturing division at Genpact.

Tameka is a Marketing and Business Development Strategist and educator with nearly a decade of experience in the tech industry. She’s also a professor of Marketing Management at St. John’s University, and a public speaker who’s participated in

conferences and thought leadership events all over the world. She was the 2018 recipient of the Innovators and Disruptors Award sponsored by New York On Tech and NBCUniversal, and she was the 2019 nominee for the Rising Star Award for Women in AI sponsored by VentureBeat.

Today we have a big picture discussion on how trends, (digitization, the internet, technology, etc.) are all intersecting in terms of disrupting the overall global economy.

If you missed episode 96, check it out here: PODCAST 96: The 4 Levers of Sales Velocity w/ Pete Crosby.

What You’ll Learn

  • How marketers are changing the public perception of AI
  • What the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute does
  • How to strategically and creatively approach future trends
  • How companies can be mindful of changes in the economy

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:00]
  2. About Tameka Vasquez & Genpact [1:23]
  3. The Human Element of AI [09:34]
  4. Public Perception of AI [13:07]
  5. Tameka’s Favorite Marketing Channels [20:25]
  6. The Political Responsibility of Social Platforms [25:52]
  7. Future Trends In The Global Economy [31:14]
  8. Sam’s Corner [39:13]

Show Introduction [00:00]

Sam Jacobs: Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. Today we’ve got a great guest on the show. We’ve got Tameka Vasquez on the show. She’s a Marketing and Business Development Strategist and educator with nearly a decade of experience in the tech industry. She’s currently working as an AVP of Global Marketing for the High-Tech and Manufacturing division of Genpact. We have a great conversation spanning current trends in globalization, consumer preference buying trends, and how Genpact and the services that they provide on a global basis really help accelerate growth and innovation for some of their Fortune 1000 customers. So it’s a big picture discussion on how trends, including digitization and the internet and technology and disruption are all intersecting in terms of disrupting the overall global economy. So, great conversation.

Our sponsor for this show is Outreach, of course. Outreach has Unleash coming up in just over a month in San Diego in April. They are the leading sales engagement platform. They support sales reps by enabling them to humanize communications at scale from automating the soul sucking manual work that eats up selling time to providing action-oriented tips on what communications are working best. Outreach has your back.

Let’s listen to Tameka on the Sales Hacker Podcast.

About Tameka Vasquez & Genpact [1:23]

Sam Jacobs: We’re incredibly excited today to have on our show Tameka Vasquez. Tameka is a Marketing and Business Development Strategist and educator with nearly a decade of experience in the tech industry. She’s currently an Assistant Vice President of Global Marketing for the High-Tech and Manufacturing division of Genpact. She’s also professor of Marketing Management at St. John’s University, and a public speaker who’s participated in conferences and thought leadership events all over the world. She has been featured by the Content Marketing Institute, CMSWire, the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute – I did not know such Institute existed, but we’ll talk about that – Udemy for Business and IBM THINK Leaders. She was the 2018 recipient of the Innovators and Disruptors Award sponsored by New York On Tech and NBCUniversal, and she was the 2019 nominee for the Rising Star Award for Women in AI sponsored by VentureBeat.

So tell us a little bit more about your current role. You’re an AVP of Global Marketing for Genpact. What is Genpact?

Tameka Vasquez: So Genpact is a professional services company that focuses on digital transformation. So typically, they would partner with enterprises around the world that are embarking on a journey of trying to figure out how to leverage these advanced technologies that we have out here. So whether it’s anything AI related or kind of looking at analytics or anything in that realm that’s going to kind of help them position themselves as a future focus company, we essentially partner with them on that journey.

Genpact’s divided into a bunch of different industry verticals. The vertical that I focus on is the high-tech and manufacturing space. So that’s essentially any company that would fall in the realm of a cloud-based company, consumer electronics, it could include automotive aviation media… So any company that considers themselves in the high-tech space (or in the manufacturing space), I run the marketing program that essentially generates business opportunities within those industries.

The Human Element of AI [09:34]

Sam Jacobs: What do you think are some of the common misconceptions about large organizations? When they come to you and they say, “We want to position ourselves for the future and we want to specifically bring artificial intelligence into what we do on a daily basis,” how are you advising them? What are the common pitfalls that they might experience?

Tameka Vasquez: It’s interesting because I think that a lot of the pitfalls just come down to the fundamental understanding of what AI is best suited to do. And I think that with all AI related conversations right now, I think a lot of people miss the mark on the human element and the augmented aspects of artificial intelligence.

A lot of that includes just leveraging technology to get those things done in a smarter, faster, and more accurate way – but not necessarily meant to replace anything that a person is doing. It’s just meant to be an enhancement.

I think earlier in the conversation I mentioned, it doesn’t matter if you’re in supply chain management, a sort of procurement role/finance, in accounting, a cybersecurity or any sort of function that is operational in nature – there’s always an opportunity to leverage technology as long as you understand what the core implementation value would be.

Public Perception of AI [13:07]

Sam Jacobs: What does the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute do? Tell me more about that. That just sounded interesting.

Tameka Vasquez: It’s kind of twofold. So on one side, they want to take out the stigma of AI overall in the ways that marketers, for example, may be intimidated with the possibilities of bringing artificial intelligence tools and technologies into what they do as a function. But then they also want to consider how marketers can leverage these technologies but also be able to sell these technologies. Part of my own personal thinking (and I think it very much aligns with what the Marketing AI Institute is about), is that marketers need to be the storytellers around these technologies to begin with.

If you look at any sort of technology that was adopted over time, it was all kind of weird and then it became normal, right? And how does it become normal? It becomes normal because for the most part, marketers are telling pretty good stories around why this thing exists in the first place. Marketers are really at the forefront of driving that sort of change and that mindset shift that needs to happen around technologies as disruptive as AI.

So the Institute is all about getting marketers comfortable with using [AI] themselves; but also helping marketers shape the public perception and the adoption of how the world might be perceiving AI incorrectly.

Tameka’s Favorite Marketing Channels [20:25]

Sam Jacobs: As a marketer, what are your favorite channels right now, just out of curiosity? When you think about where you want to allocate dollars for Genpact to create the awareness, to drive consistent messaging, and to present the message of Genpact at the right moment, where are you most optimistic when it comes to ways of getting people’s attention?

Tameka Vasquez: I’m still learning and still exploring those options, but I think for me, one of the most appealing channels for marketing purposes is really focused on companies or consultancies or associations that have cultivated a very specific community around something in particular. So I’m getting much more interested in the most specific types of communities or groups or associations or events that are kind of large scale in nature. So instead of talking about, let’s talk about AI overall, that’s not as appealing. But if you say, “Hey, let’s talk about how AI is transforming the future of banking specifically in the ways that it allows traders to do their job better,” if it’s something very specific in nature like that, it’s a little bit easier for us to feed in our own case studies, our own perspectives or points of view, our own research. It’s just a lot easier to be able to tailor our conversation that way.

So in terms of marketing channels: any communities, any associations, any influencers, any groups that are sitting within those spaces in the most specific manner possible. Being able to bridge the gaps and build relationships with them, being able to feed them thought-leadership, or being able to facilitate discussions within those spaces… I find it to be far more interesting for me personally right now as a marketer and as a lifelong student in that regard. But also in the business context, just being able to have those one-on-one conversations with people that showed up because they’re genuinely interested in this specific topic is far more effective.

The Political Responsibility of Social Platforms [25:52]

Sam Jacobs: There’s a big debate right now with Facebook and Twitter and social media platforms. The most nearest term articulation of the debate is around political advertising and how much truth there needs to be and what responsibility a company like Facebook has to make sure that when they present political advertisements to their users that they are truthful. How do you feel about that, and what do you think a private company’s responsibilities are as it relates to enabling discussions centered around topics that may or may not have fiction in them?

Tameka Vasquez: Yeah, it’s a very complicated space. I think what those companies are struggling with and what we’re all waiting to see in some sort of way is who’s going to take responsibility? And responsibility is not exactly the word I want to use… but who’s going to take some kind of ownership in defining what a good internet looks like, what a good digital ecosystem looks like? It’s very similar to how we look at public figures in the real world. So you have firefighters, you have police officers, you have people in political office, you have teachers, you have all of these people that are connected in the purpose of keeping communities in line. The same exact thing is happening in the digital space.

It’s really a tough area to nail and I don’t have declarative opinions one way or the next. All I can say is that it is really the area that presents the most opportunity. Any company that is considering themselves a technology company, a user-generated content oriented company, is going to have to tackle that one way or the next. They’re going to have to look at where they sit within this ecosystem. Are you at the forefront of it? Are you in a leadership position? Or are you just a bystander? Are you just waiting to see what blunders other companies, whether they’re your competitors or just operating in the same space, may fall into to then decide how you’re going to react? It’s kind of weeding out who is really taking charge of making the internet a better place to be overall.

I think every company has a responsibility if they understand specifically what they’re contributing. And so I think with those companies that you listed, it’s a bit tough because they’re kind of facilitators of public discourse in that respect. And so a lot of them, if you look at specifically what they’re offering, they’re offering a space for discourse, they’re offering a space for connection. And so the responsibility, it varies depending on where they see themselves best suited to create guidelines around.

Future Trends In The Global Economy [31:14]

Sam Jacobs: You mentioned offline that you’re sort of interested in a bunch of future trends. Some of them are related to AI, some of them related to genetic sequencing and gene editing and things like that. There’s a common refrain of, “just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.” How do you think about balancing the question of, “because we can do something, should we?” And is there a role for the government?

Tameka Vasquez: Yeah, it’s a great area to explore. I mean, there are so many different angles there. Historically, I think the government, the public sector, has always lagged behind the pace of change, and a lot of that is because of some of the elements that I mentioned earlier.

It’s a really tough space for everybody to be in but, historically, the public sector has always lagged behind. I think, oftentimes, it’s because they don’t really understand the full scale of influence, especially on the consumer side of technology, the full scale of influence that that has, and then how that connects to everything else.

I’ve expressed this many times not only at the university that I teach at, but just in general: I always feel the need to look at a general understanding of a topic. So you need to understand, okay, these are the components of business, these are the basic functions and things like that, but everything else needs to be agile. Everything else needs to be iterative based on whatever is happening at the time. A lot of how I structure my lessons are based on case studies that just arise in the news, sometimes that very day before I’m walking into a lecture. Let’s explore what’s happening in real time, so that way you can take the frameworks and the fundamental understanding of business (if that’s what you’re studying in school) and then apply it to this thing that just arose in the news, this thing just happened at this company, this thing just happened in this region of the world… How does that impact? Think about that a bit more strategically and a bit more creatively.

A lot of it is just like those connected points of, did we learn this before? What are the areas that it actually impacted before? How do we set up a safety net or just a better practice around preventing this thing from happening again? And then how do we just educate the respective bodies, whether it’s the public, whether it’s students, whether it’s your local councilman, whoever needs to know that, so that everybody can slowly but surely get on the same page around things that impact everybody?

So a bit of a long-winded answer, but I think my answer kind of demonstrates within itself how complicated and how intersected and how weave together all of these things are. And when you talk about ethics, ethics really just lie on every person, every institution, every participating body when it comes to things as complicated as technology, as complicated as philosophy, as complicated as politics, culture, all that stuff.

Sam Jacobs: It’s a lot to think about. Tameka, we’ve come to the end of our time together and I’m sure there are folks out there that are interested in talking to you, maybe taking one of your classes, continue in this conversation. Are you okay if folks reach out to you? And if so, what’s your preferred communication channel?

Tameka Vasquez: I’d love that. My preferred communication channel is pretty much any social media channel – Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram if you want to. I can be found by my first and last name on all of those channels. LinkedIn is probably a good starting point.

Sam’s Corner [39:13]

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody, Sam Jacobs’ Sam’s Corner. I really enjoyed that conversation with Tameka Vasquez. I think it’s really powerful and stimulating to think about how all these different forces are changing at the same time and how companies need to be mindful of changes in consumer buying preferences, changes in global macroeconomic trends, changes in regionalization, and how technology can sometimes both unite people and push people further apart and create distances that need to be then bridged, and how Fortune 1000 companies can think about messaging and branding and positioning so that they can speak to the right constituents, particularly in such a politicized political environment like the United States or Europe or really the entire world.

Don’t miss episode 98 next week!

Thanks to our sponsor, Outreach. Outreach triples the productivity sales teams and empowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth.

If you want to reach out to me as well, I’m available at LinkedIn. Thanks for listening to the Sales Hacker podcast. We’ll talk to you next time!

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