Women of Data: Áine Dundas, International Marketing Director
Jan 31, 2020
For this edition of our Women of Data series, we’re excited to introduce and chat with our very own Áine Dundas!
Hi Áine! Can you tell us a bit about your background and how it led you to a career in data?
I have had many jobs. I have dressed as an elf in my short-lived seasonal role as “Santa’s helper” in a Christmas grotto. I have driven boats on underground rivers as a tour guide in showcaves. I have poured pints. I have worked in cold-calling outbound sales. Oftentimes I juggled several jobs at the same time. By the time I had completed my education in University of Ulster (Belfast) and Albertus Magnus College (CT), I had racked up a vast array of experience in these incredibly eclectic employment areas. While there was no motivation or strategy here — beyond earning some money to fund my shopping habits — being able to swiftly move from “elf” to “barmaid” mode set me up with a strong sense of adaptability which has been hugely beneficial my career in the fast-paced world of tech marketing.
My career in data-driven marketing began back in 2006 when marketing automation was the latest, greatest addition to the B2B marketing world. I rolled out Eloqua, became a power user, and was pretty much fascinated by the ability to automate, scale, track, report... a world of marketing that I certainly never was taught about in University!
Throughout my career, I have always focused on European marketing, enjoying the challenges and complexities of growth marketing across multiple markets, countries, segments, languages, cultures, legislative landscapes. Combining strong regional understanding with data is immensely powerful — be it at the very top level of tracking and reporting on marketing ROI, or in the weeds A/B testing a call-to-action and seeing the impact on form fills.
I’m creative, but also detail-orientated and process-driven. It’s a natural fit for a data-driven marketer. I’m also big into value for money — if the shoes are reduced, I’m buying them! It’s interesting how this has translated into my career from negotiating contract prices to ensuring positive pipe to spend for the dollars I invest.
What has been the biggest surprise in your career thus far?
Looker. And while I am sure that sounds very biased given that I work for Looker, it is true.
Rather unsurprisingly, in my first week in Looker I got stuck into using the platform; accessing data to help build our European marketing plan. As a marketer, I had *never* before had access to such vast, rich, and reliable amounts of data.
I’ve always been data-driven — from using data in web and email testing to improve website conversion rates, to leveraging metrics like pipe-to-spend and ROI to show the impact of my work and my team’s work in various companies. With Looker, being data-driven is different. I can leverage much deeper data from across all business functions (beyond pure sales and marketing data) to answer questions like:
- Where is the Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) coming from?
- Where are the heaviest users?
- Where are the high growth customers?
- What regional clusters are highest growth?
- If I invest $1 today, when can I expect Return On Investment (ROI) from that investment? How does that vary by segment? By territory?
Essentially, at my fingertips I had the answer to every question you could want to know as a marketer. This has helped me to be smart and efficient with where we invest time and money as we support high-growth sales plans.
I use Looker every single day, multiple times per day. I’ve always had an appreciation for data. I just never realised it was even possible for a marketer to have access to such rich data, all of the time.
How do you think women can help build the foundation for successful careers?
Women need to support other women. I am fortunate to have worked with and for women who helped me learn and grow — oftentimes without me even knowing it until many years later. I want to ensure I do my best to pass this on to the next generation of rising marketers.
Perhaps controversially, I don’t believe in having a 5 or 10 year plan in tech marketing. For example, 10 years ago I could not have aimed to head up growth marketing for Looker EMEA — Looker didn’t even exist.
The SaaS landscape is exploding and the opportunities are constantly changing. Marketing strategy and tools are constantly evolving and will continue to. Keeping a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the market and being open-minded and adaptable to change is much more important than locking yourself into a plan based only on present opportunities.
The foundation for a successful career is finding something you enjoy where you will add value, can show that value, and that encourages professional growth. For me, walking into Looker three years ago, opening a laptop, and sitting down to build EMEA growth marketing from a set of blank google slides was one of those moments. I took a deep breath, and got stuck in — data first!
Do you think data can help support this foundation?
Absolutely. In marketing, being able to talk metrics and dollar-value output with sales management and leadership is critical. Of course, brand, messaging, and content are also key elements of a marketing strategy. Above all that, though, is being able to show what marketing is investing and what pipeline and revenue is being delivered from that spend.
Have there been any words of advice that you’ve kept top of mind as you’ve grown throughout your career?
If someone on your team can do it 70% as well as you, let them do it. I try to keep this front of mind all of the time as a data point for how I need to delegate, lead, coach, or manage a situation. The transition from executing marketing to leading marketing — which oftentimes is juggling both execution and leading ;) — is a tough one. I feel fortunate to have had exposure to strong marketing and business leaders in my career to date who inspire me.