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Carolyn Stebbings, managing director, CODE

Carolyn Stebbings

Path to power

Hitting my third decade in business comes as a bit of a shocker when I still feel 25. Then I step back, and I see the experience I have gathered, the failures I have learned from and the success I have celebrated. During this time, a wealth of data has been used to help succession planning, transformation of business, people collaboration and coaching.

 

As a girl destined to lead people to be their best, my path to success has always been varied, challenging at times but always exciting. After graduating I quickly found that marketing services and, more specifically, an environment that valued measurable results, was for me.

 

How I got to where I am is simple - I took on the challenge when it faced me, however, terrified I was inside.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

Leading the team, I lead now at Code. Pioneers that are creating personalised customer experiences through the combination of data and technology.

 

Who is your role model or the person you look to for inspiration?

Dame Stephanie Shirley for her lateral thinking, and Priya Lakhani for using artificial intelligence, machine learning and neuroscience to educate the learners of today be the leaders of tomorrow.

 

Did 2019 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

2019 saw a step change in the industry, with service providers merging in order to scale fast. Huge strides were made in the application of data to build personalised experiences for “in the moment” marketing from a content, context and neuroscience perspective. However, as always, client brands are not as quick as their agency peers to adopt new approaches, fearful that trading may suffer in the short-term for a long-term gain.

 

What do you expect 2020 to be like for the data and analytics industry?

Marketing science, AI, and machine learning are here to stay, putting data and analytics at the heart of everything we experience. The role of analytics is pervading every part of society and the child on the street uses such terms as “I’m playing the AI now” when gaming. As practitioners, we have so many opportunities to make a difference; the question for 2020 is “what will have the biggest impact so I can focus my energies on that?”

 

What is the biggest tech challenge your clients face in ensuring data is at the heart of their digital transformation strategy?

Simply that in many brands today the technology, digital and data continue to sit in silos. It is a legacy of past organisational structures but one that needs to change, or they face extinction. Today’s winning brands have a data first strategy - it’s ground stakes or don’t bother participating.

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