In summary, we have had the unfortunate opportunity to experience massive amounts of disruption. Change has been constant. How do we outpace the inevitability of this reality? When presented with the adage, “Disruption is always right around the corner,” Sunny Zhu recommends that instead of attempting or thinking about how to outpace, “focus on what is the right opportunity for you.”
What works for one company may not work for another; by constantly looking for opportunities, you will find the results which you seek. Zhu’s approach is to have an open mindset, a focus on growth, and always be willing and open to learning new technology and new concepts. Customize, and make sure that your whole strategy is very competitive, and “you will outpace further disruption”.
Zhu is on the analytics side of the house, but she cares deeply about the insights function. As a data person, she knows aligning with the team creates maximum impact. She is unbiased and holds close what the insights team thinks about her analysis and data modeling work. And she doesn’t see working together more efficiently and effectively as a team as a challenge, but rather as an opportunity:
- “Be very transparent on the goal, and always align that upfront…as a team, always be results driven and focused on the right direction.”
- Always “Embrace data and technology caveats”. Nothing will ever be perfect, on the marketing or data side. By embracing and being open to not being perfect, the team can have great results.
Some of that thinking has made it’s way into Zhu’s philosophy on quick and elegant solutions- or, hacks to create “meaningful impacts for both the company and also our customer.”
- First-party data is really powerful. Use it. “Start with what you have and pivot with those opportunities.”
- Have a clean foundation when it comes to technology and data.
- Personalization is paramount. “It’s ok to start small. Always be able to evolve over time.”
Finally, Zhu also has some great advice for new fresh, new talent. She feels that marketing is a great place to start your data career. It has so many opportunities for customer data, “and it is easy to see an impact with your data work.”
Be ready to learn, diversify, and be humble, and open. Focus on collaboration, and have fun.