Meet Tracy Downer

, Posted by Adrian Kingwell in Blog

We know that digital analytics can be incredibly powerful and insightful, yet sometimes the breadth and depth of data available can prove complex to refine and share internally. One of our goals at Mezzo this year is to work closer with our clients, to understand exactly where the challenges are, and to find new ways to help them solve them. That’s where Tracy, our new Principal Consultant comes in.  

How did you get involved in the word of analytics? What was it that intrigued you about this area?

My husband is English, so when we got married I moved from the US to settle permanently here… I was looking for a new challenge when I came across a web analytics software company… That was 19 years ago and I found it fascinating- it was a very different landscape then.  What has kept me hooked is the consistent change and challenges.  I love data and I love making a story out of it, using it to help the clients I work for, impact their business and make improvements. I find this really satisfying.

Can you share a little bit about your professional background?

I studied Finance at university and then went to work for NatWest in Chicago and New York. I was there for about five years and then decided to change career path, so I worked for a predictive modeling company that was doing fraud scoring and also helping direct marketers mail less but gain bigger results.  This was when I started getting involved in the data side of things and away from financial statements. My career brought me to London, working in web analytics, after which I took a short professional break for my children, (all four of them!) which included moving the family to Singapore. 

Upon my return, a lot of people that worked in the web analytics space had moved into Voice of the Customer, so I headed up the client service team for ForeSee in London, before working over in the States for Dick’s Sporting Goods. This was my first role experiencing the client point of view.

Previously, I had always been advising clients. I really got to understand the internal workings of a retailer and it gave me such a broader appreciation of what it takes to implement the changes that Consultants or Advisors recommend. It was a really valuable experience and I had the pleasure of running quite a few teams, all very talented, and I’m still in touch with most, if not all of them.

What do you think are the key challenges in the digital analytics sector?

One of the key challenges that have been present throughout my career is how to make sense of the data, and what tools to use to do this. It can be overwhelming for people that aren’t particularly data-savvy, but who could really benefit from the data.  So it’s really about boiling it down into a story about the impact the data could have. That, in my opinion, is an art form and simultaneously a challenge for businesses.

The second challenge is how these businesses can incorporate the advances in technology and utilise them in the best possible way. Things are changing really quickly, and if you are a small or new company, it’s a lot easier to embrace that change. However, if you are a larger company you are often saddled with what I call ‘technical debt’ from historical infrastructure, that doesn’t make it as easy to benefit from all the gains in technology.

Nevertheless, I think everything is starting to crystalise now and it’s a really exciting time to see how all of that falls into place. There are also the same old arguments that existed 15- 20 years ago, such as socializing the data and getting to the data. Now there is more of it; people are more involved, and if they are not, they are expected to be, which sometimes can be an unfair expectation on people that have great talent in different areas but are not meant to be experts in analytics. I think for the younger generation that’s fine because there is the expectation to be able to use the tools, but there is definitely a gap for many people, so it’s a challenge. Overall, nothing but good can come from data if it’s used in the right way.

What help can you and Mezzo Labs offer to solve these problems?

We have the expertise to cut through the technology barrier, or lack of technology, or lack of understanding of the data. It doesn’t matter where clients are on that journey of maximizing the benefit of the data they’ve acquired, we have experience to help them through this journey to reach the ultimate endpoint of being able to use it both on a day-to-day basis and in a strategic way.  

Mezzo can help by having these conversations, knowing who to talk to, and really be there to solve the problem. Often clients can identify an immediate problem but they are not looking further ahead, so we can help them extend this perception. They want to solve and expose the endless amount of potential, where they could take their analytics within a business and that’s what is very exciting for me. Once you pin down the day to day socializing of the data, the challenge is then how you raise the bar to get to a more strategic level and really inform some critical decisions that the company is facing.

Why Mezzo Labs?

Adrian has done an excellent job of maintaining a high reputation in the marketplace, so not only did I enjoy the conversations I had and the people I met as part of the interview process, but also in talking with former colleagues, Mezzo is very well regarded. It is a place where I feel I can make a difference by bringing my experience on board and help achieve what the company is setting out to do.

Can you tell us something you are passionate about?

I am an avid natural health supporter, with interest in the alternative healing benefits of good nutrition, Reiki and essential oils. I am part-qualified in Reiki and nutrition and have an essential oil collection of over 60 bottles that can be used for various health benefits.