Q&A with Tony Frazier: The Rising Demand of Geospatial Technologies

Tony Frazier is the Vice President of Marketing for GeoEye, a provider of satellite and aerial imagery, location information products and image processing services.  Having recently moved from North Carolina to the D.C. metro area, Frazier talks with WashingtonExec about his role at GeoEye and the importance of today’s GIS technologies.  He also discusses his history with marketing and how social media plays a part in portraying the company’s image.

WashingtonExec:  Please tell us a little bit about your background.

Tony Frazier: I joined GeoEye this past December, and I am responsible for increasing our awareness, promoting our existing offerings, and introducing new products and services into the market.   Prior to joining GeoEye, I spent a dozen years in senior marketing, product, and business development roles at technology companies of all sizes, like Cisco Systems, Infor Global Solutions and a couple of great start-ups.  I began my career in management consulting at Bain & Company, and I’m an alumnus of Harvard Business School and University of Pennsylvania.

WashingtonExec:  How has social media changed the world of marketing?

Tony Frazier: Social media has reduced the barriers between companies and their various constituents. We can now engage in timely discussions with specific segments of our market and gain near real-time feedback on the effectiveness of our message.   In the past, it could take months to determine the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.  Now with tools like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter we can gain early insights in hours.  Still, this new paradigm comes with new challenges. By its very nature, social media enables anyone to become a publisher and allows anyone you interact with to share opinions about your company.  The implication is that we as marketers need to be vigilant and recognize that our role is to help facilitate engagement and positive dialogue aligned with our key messages.  Facilitating an online discussion can be difficult, but it can generate significant rewards.

WashingtonExec:  What is something small and/or large businesses don’t do when marketing and promoting its brand?

Tony Frazier: I think one of the most important things we must remember as marketers is to remember that a brand is more than a logo or compelling design. It’s really a promise that represents what a company, product, or even an individual stands for.  Once you establish your brand promise, it is very important to weave your story through every aspect of promotion, including media pitching, social media, speaking opportunities and advertising. How does a tweet relate back to the company narrative? How can the corporate storyline be peppered throughout an academic address? We must capitalize on every public facing opportunity by delivering a clear, engaging message.  Bringing this back to social media: if your actions are not consistent with your brand, the world will notice, and they will quickly express their opinion.

WashingtonExec:  What type of impact do you think GIS technology has had on the world?

Tony Frazier: We are seeing that geospatial technologies are becoming more pervasive.  Billions of people use online maps and GPS-enabled devices to literally navigate their way through daily life.  Also, with the recent wave of natural disasters and geopolitical events, it is very important to capture a precise view of changes on the ground to effectively make decisions that protect lives and manage risk. For example, if an area is hit by a tornado and buildings no longer exist, it is essential to know how to best mobilize response efforts.  In the past, it would have taken days or weeks to update these maps; but now with new technologies like our EyeQ online access platform, we are putting valuable information in the hands of users within hours of us collecting an image.  It is a real game changer.

WashingtonExec:  What are some of the latest developments in the GIS field?

Tony Frazier: GIS is being driven by two over-arching trends.  First, people want to get their hands on recently collected imagery more easily. Second, they are looking for insight, not just raw pixels.  To meet these needs, we have been investing in online access capabilities and analytic services.  Our online access service, EyeQ, allows users to download an image in a way that is similar to buying a song on iTunes.  And our analytic services business is able to look at large volumes of information to help predict where events may occur. It is a great time to be in this field, and GeoEye is right at the heart of tremendous innovation.

WashingtonExec:  When you are not working, what do you like to do in your spare time? Are you involved with any outside committees, non-profits?

Tony Frazier: Being the first male in my family to graduate from college, I have a lot of passion for the power of education.  As a result, I have been really excited about the work we do with the GeoEye Foundation to support STEM initiatives.  Also in North Carolina, I was on the Board of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) .  It is a great organization that helps foster entrepreneurship in the Research Triangle area.  As I get settled into the DC metro area, I look forward to getting involved in similar initiatives.

*Featured in a July issue of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority online magazine e-Bird.

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