Our profile feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing, shedding light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. This week we head to Somerset to meet Gary Arnold.


Gary Arnold.

Job title and company:

Head of marketing technology, Occam DM Ltd – a St Ives Group company.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

We provide our clients with the ability to orchestrate customer engagement across channels/touchpoints, driven by data and customer understanding, enabled by technology and focused on business outcomes.

What are the company’s unique selling points? 

Our focus on data-driven marketing has remained consistent, from the glory days of “database marketing” in the 90s to today’s emergence from the shadow of creative-focused CRM, which is fuelled by the rise of social, mobile and the digitisation of everything! Data is our DNA; whether big, small or medium, we use it to drive understanding and power CRM.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones? 

The last six months have been a busy time for Occam. We have launched Accelero, our data-driven SaaS platform. It aims to massively reduce the effort and pain associated with delivering a single and simplified view of the customer, enabling brands to orchestrate insight-fuelled customer engagement.

In addition, Occam has collaborated with our sister company Amaze to form Amaze One, a customer engagement agency that looks to put data, customer understanding and a business outcome focus at the heart of CRM strategy, ultimately providing insight-driven creative communication strategies. The development of Amaze One provides us with the capability to help brands begin to exploit the advanced technologies we deploy and break out of siloed approaches to customer communications. Amaze One defines the engagement strategies and Occam builds the technical capabilities to unify data, understanding and decisioning across channels.

Duration in current role:

Ten months.

Where are you based?

Chilcompton in Somerset, which offers fresh air and great views… however I am also often found at our offices in London and Bristol.

Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:

I have been at Occam for ten years. In that time I have held six roles ranging from data analysis and campaign management through to solutions consultancy and client direction. The broad range of roles coupled with exposure to variety of client requirements has given me the skills to bridge the technical and business worlds in my new role. Prior to that I was client-side for an engineering company helping them to interpret their customer data to support marketing campaigns.

What are your main job responsibilities?

My role is to ensure that Occam continues to leverage the best technology to help our clients successfully engage with their customers. I work with technology vendors to understand their proposition and run vendor assessments, selections and evaluations to pick our preferred partners. I then liaise with internal teams to support adoption of the technologies into Occam. In addition, I work with our client teams and new business folk to help shape the Occam proposition and build technology roadmaps aligned to requirements, as well as helping internal product development teams to shape the strategic direction.

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:

I start every day in the office with up to an hour of market research. This could be reading papers from the likes of Gartner or Forrester or blogs from marketing technology luminaries such as David Raab and Scott Brinker. I’m particularly interested in discovering how technologies work or looking at the latest customer engagement thinking. In my role it’s essential to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on.

After that the day is always completely different - I could be speaking with a technology partner to discuss capabilities and roadmaps, working with new business team members to respond to opportunities, feeding into product development… etc  

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

I have dabbled in shares (unsuccessfully) so can often be found on the discussion forums on Interactive Investor, commiserating with others who are also rubbish at investing. As a geek at heart I also like to check in on Wired.co.uk and also frequent Trendhunter just to get the lowdown on what’s being hyped.

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

  1. Be curious – I have always been naturally interested in understanding why things are the way they are and how things function. This has helped me get my head around technology and business disciplines
  2. Diversify – I have flipped between technical roles (writing code, configuring software) and business roles (client management, sales, CRM). Being hands-on in these areas gives me a wide view, I and can effectively bridge communications and translate between different areas of the business.
  3. Master “macro to micro” – I am a detail freak at heart, but I have had to train myself to step back and take a top-level view. It’s only when you become comfortable going from one level to the other that you can be effective in a role where one minute you might be setting a strategic direction and the next reviewing a specific feature of a product.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?

At Occam, another step closer to claiming my 15-year long-term service award, working in some fashion at the intersection of marketing and technology, and hopefully helping the business and our clients to continue to do things better!

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I once ran the 100m in 10.76 seconds (the world record, currently held by Usain Bolt, is 9.58 seconds).