Steve McGrath is Presales Technical Manager at RedEye, a martech company that provides customer data platforms, marketing automation and conversion rate optimisation to global ecommerce brands.
What does a typical day look like for Steve?
Please describe your job: What do you do?
My main responsibilities revolve around ensuring our clients data is transferred, processed and stored in the best way possible to ensure they can extract the maximum effectiveness from our customer data platform. This covers liaising with a client’s marketing and technical teams before they come onboard and managing the data aspects of the platform build during the client onboarding process. I speak both ‘client’ and ‘technical’ and act as a bridge translating top line goals and objectives into actionable technical requirements.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organization? Who do you report to?
The Presales department sits within the Technical Services team, however I have almost as much client contact as our Account Management team. One day I could be suited and booted in a client office, the next I could be buried in SQL, wiping mayonnaise off my Doctor Who T-Shirt!
I report to the Head of Presales, who has been with the company for over 10 years, and together we also work on improving and transforming our internal data processes. With the fast paced nature of our industry, it’s a continual process.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
You obviously need to know your stuff technically, but you also need to know how to talk to people and sometimes translate technical concepts to language more easily understood by non-technical people. From a technical point of view, you need to know your database technologies, methods of transferring, storing and manipulating large data sets as well as the regulatory and legislative compliance of data protection and security.
Tell us about a typical working day…
If I am at a client meeting, I am mostly discovering client requirements and examining the legacy marketing technology we need to integrate with. The recurring topic of conversation at most meetings these days is the looming GDPR regulation and how our customer data platform can help with compliance. I also sit on the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) North Council and we are currently having lots of discussion about the GDPR and how it will affect not only our clients’ marketing departments, but also their Information Governance in general.
If I am in the office, I am normally creating data flows, technical specification and functional requirements to ensure our tech teams can build and configure our platform to match the client requirements.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love the company and the people. I have worked in many large and small organisations and I have never come across a company that, not only says it cares about its people, but demonstrates it daily. You can see that in the quality of people we hire, and the work they output. As a technology company, we would be nothing without the people and you can tell the senior leadership team recognises that. I also love the ping pong and pool tables and probably spend a bit too much time in the social area!
What sucks? As unbelievable as it sounds, I honestly can’t think of anything. As in any job you can have days where you get frustrated, sometimes with clients, sometimes with colleagues, but they are just small challenges in an otherwise rewarding role.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
We have a good set of metrics for how our onboarding process is working including a handover/review process to our account managers, who I consider my customers as well as the clients. Things like ‘time taken to onboard’, meeting client go-live dates and lack of remedial tech work needed after go-live, all form part of a continuous improvement process that has changed a lot in the time I have been here.
We are also encouraged to set personal goals as part of our career development and as a part-time wedding photographer, I also have goals relating to this on my career development plan!
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
I use SQL Developer and Notepad ++ a lot. We use Sharepoint and OneNote for project collaboration and Slack for internal comms. I can have anywhere from 4-20 Excel spreadsheets open at any one time and I cannot imagine how I ever used to work on just one monitor.
How did you get into analytics/automation, and where might you go from here?
I started my career in sales and slowly went more back-office into IT roles until I ended up in marketing about 15 years ago. I have previously worked agency side with creative and digital agencies. RedEye has such a varied number of departments and I am lucky that my skill set is quite versatile, so what I want to do is follow in the footsteps of my boss and experience different areas of the business.
I am also passionate about data protection, data security and the GDPR and there are lots of areas to explore around this. I have a feeling it will be a busy year!
Which brands and their marketing automation have you been impressed by recently?
I bought some shirts recently from Charles Tyrwhitt and was very impressed with their welcome programme. I receive highly personalised email and postal comms that are presented in such a way as to make you feel very much part of the Tyrwhitt ‘tribe’.
I am also constantly amused and impressed with Virgin Trains – particularly their Twitter feed where the operator’s personalities always shine through. They are meme masters.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in this area?
Always be passionate. If you don’t have the passion, find a job that you do have passion for. Always be learning – never feel you know everything. Always be talking – talk to everyone you meet, from all walks of life.
And BE NICE. It always, always comes back to you.