MarTech Interview with Gabie Boko, CMO at NetApp

Gabie Boko, CMO at NetApp catches up with MarTechSeries to talk about the fundamentals that modern marketers should pursue while taking us through her role as CMO at NetApp…

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Gabie – tell us about yourself and your marketing journey through the years, what inspires you most about being in B2B tech marketing? We’d love to hear more about your new role as CMO at NetApp…

I wanted to be a lawyer. But I also wanted to be inspired. Ultimately, I didn’t end up in law. In fact, I went a completely different direction to lean into something that could inspire me to inspire others.  Most people don’t see marketing for a technology company as inspirational.

Here’s how I see it: marketing and technology were meant to make the complex simple, build bridges between like-minded individuals and non-conformists alike and to manage disruption to change the world. That’s inspirational. And that’s how I’ve built my career and it is my mindset every day.

At NetApp, the goal is to build on the kind of success we already have to enter the next phase of growth, one that positions NetApp squarely as the industry leader it truly is. As all things do with NetApp, that journey starts and ends with our customers. I want to create a roadmap of evolution that is clear to our customers, partners, and the wider market – not just from an engineering perspective, but from our company’s story and growing portfolio of services.

There’s 30 years of unparalleled storage innovation and the ability to really connect the dots of where you need your data and what to do with it across your data center and all the clouds that I’m excited to lean into.  We’ll continue to herald the evolved cloud era enabling users to unlock growth in their data and digital transformation journeys. This includes our continued data management partnerships with all major cloud providers (Google Cloud, AWS, Microsoft, etc.), offering customers true freedom of choice when developing their storage, data and cloud strategies.

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Take us through some of your core marketing go-to strategies and tactics you’ve relied on over the years and also, the type of martech that has helped fuel them.

Marketing is all about “making a market” and understanding it. We are operating in an environment with more data and analytics than ever before, allowing for deeper understanding of how people experience our brand. These solutions can aggregate and provide data that can be used to develop strategic, meaningful marketing initiatives.

In the rapidly evolving landscape, marketing and communications professionals need to remain resilient and embrace digital solutions that pull data for a more robust go-to-market strategy. At the same time digital strategies need to meet traditional strategies head on.  Over saturation of any marketing effort ultimately dilutes its success.  By implementing the best solution that supports the marketing effort and the customer and referencing data across workflows, we’re able to ensure our customers are getting the best possible experience with NetApp and can continue to build upon our company’s tremendous momentum.

What do you feel about the current state of B2B marketing and martech and what are some thoughts you have surrounding the most dominating trends for 2023?

The emergence of conversational AI capabilities, like those seen in ChatGPT, are sounding alarms across industries. For marketing, the question is not if we’ll be impacted, but how. I predict technology like ChatGPT will flourish and will be a resource for communicators to offload manual, repetitive tasks, and redirect their efforts to more strategic, creative functions.

In 2023, we’ll see resistance to and regulation around the technology, but we’ll also see more innovative uses that will spell long-term success and competitive advantage for early adopters.

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What do you feel today’s B2B CMOs need to focus on more to create more performance driven results and processes that align with sales goals and business growth?

I’ve always said that the role of a CMO is multifaceted. A CMO of any firm needs to be a technology, business, marketing and brand leader – all folded into one.

CMOs need to focus on all these aspects and closely align with business growth by leveraging data and analytics. The power of data and innovation should come together to drive sales and growth, which is essential to every organization’s marketing strategy in this era of digital disruption. This strategy applies to any company, in any industry. I think the difference is two-fold: how you address what efforts you focus on and how you lean into execution, because prioritization and speed matter.

A few thoughts on the future of the B2B marketing and martech industry?  

Regardless of industry, I encourage everyone to think of their business as B2C because customer-centricity needs to be at the heart of every organization. We’re in a time where customers, data and innovation are coming together to revolutionize all things in business, especially marketing.

It’s crucial that martech doesn’t just complement the business, but enriches it via innovative solutions, such as conversational AI, to tell a clear, seamless story that resonates with current and potential customers.

NetApp is a global, cloud-led, data-centric software company that empowers organizations to lead with data in the age of accelerated digital transformation. The company provides systems, software and cloud services that enable them to run their applications optimally from data center to cloud, whether they are developing in the cloud, moving to the cloud, or creating their own cloudlike experiences on premises. With solutions that perform across diverse environments, NetApp helps organizations build their own data fabric and securely deliver the right data, services, and applications to the right people—anytime, anywhere. Learn more at www.netapp.com.

Gabie Boko, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of NetApp, has spent over 22 years in the technology industry and led transformations in senior marketing roles for companies including Cognos, SAP, Sage and HPE. Her experience has focused on connecting customer success to innovative experiences in software applications and cloud services, digital marketing and websites, customer storytelling, product UX and events.

As SVP of Portfolio Marketing at NetApp for the past year, Gabie played an integral role in launching NetApp’s Evolved Cloud positioning last fall, which modernizes the company’s approach and position as the market leader in hybrid multicloud.

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