MarTech Edge Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Cholawsky, Chief Executive Officer, HG Insights | Martech Edge | Best News on Marketing and Technology
MarTech Edge Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Cholawsky, Chief Executive Officer, HG Insights


MarTech Edge Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Cholawsky, Chief Executive Officer, HG Insights


Published on 25th Apr, 2024

Firstly, congratulations on being presented with the ‘Executive of the Year 2023’ award. What does it take to reach this exclusive spot?

In my career, ambition and perseverance were the main drivers. My first career goal was to be the president of the US, but I was told that girls weren’t allowed to be president. So, I decided to be president of a company. My interests quickly led me to analyzing data, specifically using quantitative measures to assess social phenomena. That led me to a career in computer modeling and statistics — a skill set that did lead me to work for the government, though not how I pictured it. I was hired by the CIA as a “quantitative methodologist,” one of the only titles I’ve had I like as much as CEO. The rest is classified. But throughout my career, I have faced many challenges and setbacks. No matter what industry I was working in, what title I held, or the company I was working for, the way I got to where I am today is by pushing myself.

Winston Churchill has some of the best quotes for perseverance — for example: “Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

HG Insights has been hailed as the authority in Technology Intelligence; what role does TI play in helping sales and marketing teams improve overall performance?

When you know your market, you can grow your market, finding the opportunities that competitors miss.

HG is the authority because we developed this space. We pioneered Technology Intelligence to give businesses a competitive advantage by telling them the technology applications their prospects are using, how much they are paying competitors for it, whether they are buying more of the application or winding down their investment, and when the licensing period is up for renewal. These insights come together to deliver Technology Intelligence and are the keys to state-of-the-art sales, marketing, and planning. However, there are still many companies yet to discover the power of Technology Intelligence. Several are still making do with technographic, but this is not enough on their own. You need Technology Intelligence to go to market with precision and confidence.

Having all this rich, granular data under the umbrella of Technology Intelligence from HG Insights enables you to make better decisions about which markets and accounts to prioritize, which products to consider developing, where to allocate your limited resources, who to partner with, how to plan your sales territories, all the way down to what messages to send to whom and when.

How do you envision generative AI revolutionizing the way businesses leverage data insights and drive innovation in their respective industries?

Generative AI will have some of the biggest effects of any emerging technology on how we use data-driven insights to be more efficient with fewer resources, something that has benefits in all industries. Here are some of the ways I envision generative AI changing the way businesses leverage data insights that I’m most excited about:

  1. Personalization - Generative AI can be used to create personalized campaigns and experiences for customers, marketing & sales, and recommending relevant products/solutions. This can help businesses to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
  2. Product development - Generative AI can be used to develop new products and services, such as by generating ideas for new products or by testing new product concepts with customers. This can help businesses to stay ahead of the competition and meet the needs of their customers.
  3. Operational efficiency - Generative AI can be used to improve operational efficiency, such as by automating tasks or by optimizing supply chains. This can help businesses to save money and improve their bottom line.

Increasingly our customers are requesting early detection of the introduction of AI in their individual markets — who are adopting AI products, which companies are researching AI solutions, their industries, and their geographies. This is a perfect use case for Technology Intelligence, which speaks directly to these customer inquiries by providing actionable insights to answer these timely questions.

These are use cases that HG already provides solutions for, so in some ways, generative AI will help push forward the innovations HG already brings to customers!

How does HG Insights’ Technology Intelligence assist marketers in identifying their target audience and personalizing their messaging effectively?

With the Technology Intelligence that comes from accurate, quality data, marketers can anticipate the future to predict customer needs and movements in the market and deliver personalized messaging that speaks to the customer’s needs. The fastest-growing global businesses are increasingly turning to Technology Intelligence to plan their GTM strategy, allocate resources, and maximize revenue by cross-referencing insights on technology install, IT spend, cloud consumption, contract, functional area intelligence, and intent signals. All these data points come together to deliver true Technology Intelligence, the most accurate and actionable insights available in today’s market. And with these insights, companies can make the best business decisions. To answer your question, Technology Intelligence helps marketers speak to many, many accounts and prospects by creating relevant campaigns to reach target audiences (TAM, SAM, SOM) and optimize ROI on marketing dollars spent. A great example of this is the HG LinkedIn Connector, which seamlessly integrates Technology Intelligence on your ideal accounts’ with LinkedIn, so you can build audience lists based on their tech install and IT spend, identify and target decision-makers, and get better campaign results every time. Whether it’s competitive displacement campaigns, complementary opportunities, or just reaching the right audience at the right time, Technology Intelligence assists contemporary marketers every day.

Can you share a success story or case study where HG Insights’ Technology Intelligence helped marketers achieve significant results in terms of lead generation or customer acquisition?

We let our customers do the talking for us! A global technology vendor recently told G2, “HG is not just a data provider, but with their high-quality staff, they added a level of service that is unparalleled. They helped us ideate and execute on our data-driven insights. They understand our business and our challenges, and the speed of delivery is excellent.” Another significant operator in the information technology space said, “The customer success team at HG are truly great partners helping to drive feature requests, be it more data or more functionality. I don’t find any downsides to using the HG solution.”

We’ve also delivered tremendous upside to Five9, a major Call & Contact Center As A Service (CCaaS) provider. Our Technology Intelligence drove a 25% increase in target accounts added and a 16% increase in existing opportunities’ engagement. We also gave our valued customer, commercetools, over 150% boost in best-fit accounts Identified in the Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM).

With the rapid pace of technological advancements, how do you stay updated and ensure that your Technology Intelligence is accurate and reliable?

The pace of technological progress is getting faster and faster, leaving leaders with more decisions than ever. That’s why HG’s Technology Intelligence is so important. Whether change comes in the form of new products, the pandemic, or shifts in the market or economy, leaders need to find a way to process all of this newly available information and data. Data-driven insights are how leaders navigate the rapidly changing market.

I am committed to the HG mission: to relentlessly discover and deliver Technology Intelligence innovations to improve business outcomes. Because market and economic changes come quickly, we constantly update, refresh, and refine our Technology Intelligence to address market and industry needs and ensure it’s both accurate and reliable. 

What are some upcoming trends or developments in the martech industry that HG Insights is particularly excited about, and how do you envision Technology Intelligence playing a role in those trends?

I’m eager to see how the MarTech industry will evolve over the next few years, and I’m confident that Technology Intelligence will play a bigger role than ever before.

The movement toward ABM — toward creating personalized content and optimized campaigns, and enhanced account scoring and segmentation — is only possible with Technology Intelligence. In short, Technology Intelligence will become even more integral for business innovators to make the right decisions, and I’m dedicated to HG’s vision of being the definitive authority in Technology Intelligence.

With the growing emphasis on account-based marketing (ABM), how can HG Insights’ Technology Intelligence assist marketers in identifying and targeting high-value accounts effectively?

As the market moves toward embracing all aspects of ABM, account scoring, segmentation, and prioritization become ever more important. Technology Intelligence assists marketers in putting best-in-class account segmentation strategies into practice, using data-driven insights to inform segmentation decisions, and properly aligning sales resources to your highest-value accounts. Not to mention, it’s future-focused by optimizing the account segmentation strategy to scale into the next year.

I’ll take this opportunity to share how we use Technology Intelligence here in HG’s marketing motions! The combination of four data points — Firmographic, IT install, Contextual Intent, and Technology Intelligence (FIIT) — improves resource allocation, uncovers cross-selling and upselling opportunities, and increases conversions. We use FIIT scoring to better prioritize accounts, enhance productivity, and circumvent some of the shortcomings of conventional targeting, which requires marketers to continually adjust their targeting strategies to stay relevant and effective in an evolving marketplace. In contrast to conventional ABM, FIIT targeting identifies a prospect’s likelihood to buy based on a combination of data-driven factors. FIIT also helps with sales and marketing alignment by developing a unified account scoring and targeting strategy. We have seen extremely positive results when using Firmographic-Intent-Install-Technology Intelligence (FIIT) scoring model in our in-house marketing campaigns.

What challenges do you anticipate marketing professionals will face in the coming years, and how is HG Insights preparing to address those challenges with its Technology Intelligence solutions?

In today’s market, most of us are facing a similar challenge — the need to deliver the same results with fewer available resources. At the end of the day, the best marketers will still be those who are able to understand their customers and communicate their unique value propositions effectively. And it goes without saying to do so as efficiently as possible. Technology Intelligence empowers companies and business innovators with actionable insights to ensure success, and it is the most effective solution to the upcoming challenges most marketers will face in the coming years.