Laura Castrillo is Head of Analytics at True Fit, an intelligent personalisation platform for apparel and footwear.
Econsultancy caught up with her to find out about what her role involves, her favourite tools for getting the job done, and why learning and giving back is the best metric for success.
And remember, if you’d like to tell us about a day in your life, get in touch.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Laura Castrillo: The analytics team at True Fit makes use of our Genome database of over 100M registered users to help shoppers find clothes that they will love and keep. We analyse the performance of True Fit on existing sites, deep dive into specific retailers, and analyse performance by category to answer questions that can help improve their top line performance.
For example, a recent retailer was concerned about the high return rate for dresses and we were able to show that they were performing above benchmark, but that dresses as a whole just tend to have a higher return rate than other items on their site.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Laura Castrillo: I’m based in the London office; however, the majority of the analytics team sit in Boston. I report into the global Head of Analytics and Insights, Mike Woodward. I also work closely with the wider team in Boston and our Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) Chris Moore.
One of the things that attracted me to True Fit was the size of the team and having a CAO on the board. An organisation that invests in analytics and is able to attract high-calibre senior members is an exciting place to be.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Laura Castrillo: To be effective in this role one must have a good technical knowledge, the ability to explain your analysis to a non-technical audience and work closely with other team members who have a deeper understanding of the client. Being able to gather input from a wider group helps you think of alternative ways of approaching the problem and also helps make the results actionable for clients.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Laura Castrillo: As most people who have worked in analytics will tell you, there is no such thing, but over the course of a typical week I’ll expect to spend more than 50% of my time being hands-on, analysing data, and the remainder of the time working with other True Fit teams (CS, Delivery, wider analytics team) and clients.
Working closely with other teams at True Fit ensures that analytics does not live as a separate silo. In particular, our Client Success team gives us visibility over the opportunities and challenges that clients are experiencing and helps us deliver work that is more impactful to our clients.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Laura Castrillo: What I love mostly about my job is being able to play with data and uncover insights that can help improve our clients’ business.
The more challenging parts involve cleansing data and having the discipline to prioritise longer term projects which will have bigger impact amid competing short term priorities.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Laura Castrillo: To anybody working in this field, my suggestion would be to measure success based on how much you are learning and how you are using that to contribute to drive the organisation forward. The field is constantly evolving, and surrounding yourself with a highly capable and ambitious team that is looking to continuously improve and gain value from analytics is the best way I have found to grow.
I would also encourage people to use their skills to mentor the next generation – Code Club is a great organisation where you can volunteer to help children learn how to code, and one that I am really enjoying working with.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Laura Castrillo: We all like new toys – but there is no magic tool. In previous jobs I’ve relied heavily on R and Python, which are both open-source programming languages. Currently I work mostly in PySpark and SQL to extract and process data. We also leverage Tableau for visualisation, and Google Sheets and Slides to work in collaboratively with other team members.
How did you end up at True Fit, and where might you go from here?
Laura Castrillo: I have spent the last 10 years working across several WPP agencies and before that studied engineering and business, so you could say I like variety and trying new things.
In my last role within WPP, I was Group Analytics Director at AKQA where I worked on the global Volvo account across a variety of digital projects, including integrating online and offline data sources to report on performance vs target across more than 100 markets. Other key responsibilities include implementing Google Tag Manager across more than 100 sites and evaluating performance of social marketing activities to inform strategy.
I was attracted to True Fit because of the exciting work and strong investment in analytics. On top of that, I’ve been very lucky to discover that True Fit has an amazing collaborative and supportive culture, which makes the challenge all the more enjoyable.
What advice would you give a marketer beginning their career in ecommerce?
Laura Castrillo: Getting analytics right is a complex task – it involves capturing good quality data, setting up systems for processing it, and working collaboratively throughout the organisation to extract value from it.
None of this is easy, but it does make for very exciting times! My advice to a new marketer is to make use of your data, as traditionally we only had to rely on demographic segmentation, whereas now you have the ability to incorporate a range of behavioural data to improve decision-making.