That’s because we are interviewing a tech lead at Byte, an agency that focuses on emerging technology.
Meet Isabel Perry…
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Isabel Perry: Director of Technology at Byte – part company management, part team lead, part technical delivery.
Byte is a marketing technology agency with four core areas of expertise: tech, data, creative and paid-media. I head up the tech team.
We focus on solutions for our clients using emerging technologies, and internal process automation around dynamic creative and paid-media efficiencies. Each year we make one technical big bet, and I help create the team, road map and partnerships. I also work on the technical detail.
This year we’re focusing on voice, as part of our conversational marketing offer. Prior areas of investment have been chatbots and AR.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Isabel Perry: I sit within the London management team, reporting into Jamie Kenny and Alex Miller who founded the agency in 2014. There are three other people in the management team – the Creative Director, Chief Strategy Officer and MD. The Management Team is responsible for strategic, operational and financial management of the agency.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Isabel Perry: Byte’s attitude to equality and diversity is motivating. We have a gender pay gap in favour of women, of around 7%.
When you’re working with new technologies you have to make things up as you go along, and I love the collaboration it requires. The tech team has a lot of freedom to experiment. Byte is really results driven, which is very important – you know the business impact your work has had.
Finally, there are some very gifted people in every team and it’s amazing seeing the speed at which our work has improved over the last couple of years under quite a young team’s supervision. Occasionally I miss the time when I used to spend weeks on one project – the focus and the detail.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Isabel Perry: As an agency we adopt our clients’ measurement of success across all touchpoints. It’s normally something that our clients’ entire organization (not just the marketing team) can get behind – for example ‘cost per order’ or ‘cost per subscription’. This allows us to evaluate creative objectively, and consistently. I think we operate like this because creative and paid-media are so integrated within Byte. It’s important that emerging technologies like chatbots, AR and voice are evaluated against the same benchmarks.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Isabel Perry: Airtable, Slack, smallpdf.com, Pocket, pen and paper.
How did you end up at Byte, and where might you go from here?
Isabel Perry: Alex and Jamie reached out when I was an Experience Planner at Dare. Their emphasis on data, clarity of vision for the company and sense of humour were persuasive. When I joined in 2015 there were six people, three years later we’re 80 in London and 20 in New York. We grew so fast last year that we were one of the top 25 startups in the UK, as recognised by LinkedIn.
I’m not going to leave Byte anytime soon. If and when I finally leave, I’d like to think about how new technologies, like mixed-reality, can improve cities.
Which brands / experiences / work do you admire?
Isabel Perry: We are lucky to work with digital clients including Airbnb, ASOS, adidas, Facebook, Google, Nike, and Waze. I particularly enjoy working with Spotify. They have an incredible tone of voice, and they use data both creatively and strategically. I look forward to their Holiday campaign every year – they play back your annual listening behavior and tell culturally relevant stories with their data.
Do you have any advice for marketers navigating new (and hyped) tech?
Isabel Perry: Test and learn on yourself first. For example, the first chatbot we built automated the initial steps of Byte’s recruitment. We learnt what the limitations and possibilities of Messenger were on our own time, and delivered better products for our early Messenger clients.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Isabel Perry: Like quite a few people at Byte, I trained as an architect. As an architect you have to be good at listening to clients, understanding the limitations and opportunities of a site / project, coming up with a creative plan / strategy / design, and communicating is at multiple scales to clients, developers, designers and project managers.
In general, we take the view that hiring people from outside of marketing benefits the company. We get lots of different perspectives and skills.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Isabel Perry: Like a lot of tech teams, we start every day with a stand-up meeting to discuss what the team is working on, address any blockers and help people prioritise. From then on, I’ll be in and out of meetings. I’m kicking off today presenting results back to a client on our first chatbot in eight languages; jumping on a call with Byte NY to discuss a possible AR brief, and presenting a couple of high-end fashion tech projects we’ve done to a possible new client.
Part of my day is spent reviewing strategy, proposals and performance decks, today I’m reviewing a first draft of a voice proposal. I’m also joining a weekly Byte London management meeting to discuss final elements of 2019 strategy, people, recruitment, and kicking off a project that was spun out of a hackathon last month – we’re automating creating mockups on social channels.
Finally, we’re recruiting for quite a few roles at the moment, so I need to allow time to review CVs and prepare for developer interviews. I should take note of Warren Buffet’s blank diary.
Isabel Perry has previously contributed to Econsultancy’s Marketers Guide to Chatbots.