Cecilia Zheng

Program Manager at Immerex Virtual Reality (VR)

Cecilia Zheng is a tech-savvy, bilingual technical writer, designer, and experienced PR and digital marketing professional with strong interest in technical communication, UI design, and programming. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master’s in Professional Writing, she worked at Oracle as Information Developer/ Technical Writer. Zheng is a tech storyteller, leveraging strategic writing and design to put engineering ideals into daily reality. She is devoted to creating the best experience for users by always putting customers first. She currently works at Immerex VR as a product manager. The technology world is always adventurous for her.

Technology Influence In Marketing

What is a typical day in the life of Cecilia at Immerex VR?

As a program manager for the official website at Immerex VR, my basic work is majorly about communication and user experience (UX) design. For communications, I need to redesign and optimize the website [to be more user-friendly and look more professional]. I need to communicate a lot with programmers, UX designers, and business departments. I have to make sure the website can cater to our business needs to achieve sales goals as well as create an enjoyable, useful, and smooth customer journey.

How can marketers use Immerex VR elements to promote a product (or brand)?

In terms of marketing, we know VR has a wide range of usage. For example, some realtors  will use VR to guide people through a home so people don’t need to go to the house in person. They can wear a VR headset to have the same feeling of experiencing the house. Also, in some tourism industries, VR has been used as a tool for people to gain a general understanding of historical sites. In a lot of industries, VR has already been used for some commercial purposes. Currently, VR is still at a very early stage, so it’s not widely used by marketers. It has huge potential, but, for some reason, marketers feel afraid to use it and explore all its benefits. I am sure this will change very soon.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of VR marketing?

The strength: VR equals pioneering. VR adds color to industries and draws people’s attention. For example, in Silicon Valley and many other cities,  people who have a strong interest in technology usually are in a higher social status and, usually, earn a higher income. So this means that it can actually attract some high-quality customers to this industry. The weakness: VR is very expensive. It is still in a very early stage and it still needs to attract more early adopters. It may not be easy for industries to use VR because of the high costs and also because of the low accessibility to most people.

What kind of talent does Immerex VR look for, especially for positions in marketing communications?

Basically, we are looking for people with strong communication skills and obviously technical aptitudes, or at least some Internet and VR technology background (like how to track VR, for example). In terms of communication skills, they need to speak, interpret, and understand technical language and terms in order to translate them to a simpler format that can be communicated to people outside the field.

Besides VR, what other new technologies will be leading us in the next ten years?

I think AI (Artificial Intelligence) will definitely be the leading one. We can see currently there are huge developments in AI, especially conversational interfacing with robots. Especially Alpha Go, which marks a huge progress for deep learning. It can beat human intelligence. I do think AI has great potential.

What can traditional industries do to catch up with new technology development?

I feel like some traditional industries might be steadily disappearing because of tech. For example, manufacturing industries might become automated, fully digitalized, because of AI and industrialization 4.0, eliminating the need for a large amount of people. Also, education might be a very steady industry, but some education assets might be replaced by digital platforms.

As a tech expert, do you have any suggestions for recent marketing graduates for their career developments?

My suggestions for most marketers in tech area would be to learn different kinds of skills while focusing on one. Currently, there are many unicorn companies hiring full-stack marketers which means marketers should not merely learn a lot of business ideas, they also need to understand a bit of other areas. For example, if you want to do something in VR, you don’t need to code, but at least try VR and know some basic knowledge related to VR. Otherwise, if you only know some business knowledge, it will take awhile to get used to the tech culture.

My ultimate suggestion to students who want to pursue a career in technology and VR is that first, they need to become experts in that particular industry. They need to know every term to be able to explain it to clients in the future. Start reaching out to different Internet resources, like different forums and education resources, and learn more and more about them. Get a general understanding of coding and try to practice talking to others about the industry. That will help a lot.

Interview by Nancy Deng, Medill IMC Class Of 2017

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