Q&A: Jo Bye

From ASOS to Trilogy and now ArchiPro, how hard is it to carve out a career in an ever-changing digital world?

Navigating your career in an ever-changing world where tech and data have become part of the everyday can seem daunting. 

So, to start to piece things together, we sat down with Jo Bye, Chief Marketing Officer at ArchiPro - a tech-start up who have been disrupting the architecture and building landscape since 2014 - to find out how to do it well. 

Jo has a pretty cool background, holding roles at ASOS Australia as the Country Manager, and at Trilogy as the Chief Digital Officer, so we were excited to hear what nuggets of advice Jo had for us. Here's what she had to say...

Tell us about your career journey

My career path has predominantly been in a marketing capacity for several pretty amazing consumer brands across a variety of categories. I’ve worked in FMCG, telco, online fashion, grocery retail, beauty, and now I get to experience a completely new category again, New Zealand’s architecture, design and construction industry. I worked overseas for 11 years – in London and then in Sydney – so I’ve had the opportunity to market to a variety of audiences and gain global experience which I think has been invaluable. These last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to broaden my experience beyond pure marketing to take on general management leadership roles as well, leading both ASOS Australia while in Sydney and then the ECOYA brand back here in Auckland. I can’t deny though that marketing has always been a true love, particularly in a digital /e-tail capacity, so I’m thrilled to occupy the Chief Marketing Officer role here at ArchiPro, to contribute to the platform’s ongoing growth.

As the Chief Marketing Officer at ArchiPro, what does your day to day look like?

Being a part of a very young, tech start-up means that there is no average day. The business has reached a significant milestone, turning five, and we’re coming off a huge 12 months of internal transformation to gear up for accelerated growth targets over the coming year(s). For the most part, the last six months have been about developing my team and bringing great talent into the business. As we transition from a small business into a medium-sized one, there’s also a lot of foundational bedrock that we’re instilling into the business to set us up for success – analytics, branding disciplines, new creative approaches, interdepartmental ways of working. Not necessarily the sexy stuff yet, but it will enable us to scale far more successfully. At the moment, we’re constantly working on understanding and improving our platform’s user experience, bringing in a far more sophisticated CRM platform, and developing strategies to grow the brand in our local market.

ArchiPro is a tech start-up – tell us about the business and some of the highs and lows of working in this environment

Archipro’s platform is designed to simplify the end to end building experience for anyone, anywhere designing and building beautiful spaces. We enable users to browse over 5,000 local architectural projects, find products from a library of more than 20,000 locally designed or sourced building and interior products, and connect with over 1000 professionals from the industry to get projects done. I’m loving being part of a business in this phase of its growth – its new for me, as I’ve always only worked with very established brands and/or enterprise-sized businesses. Being able to bring my experience from within those larger organisations and apply what is appropriate to this growing one is really energising. The only low is that there’s just so much we are keen to roll out, so much potential to bring to life – and just not enough hours in the day.

What do you think has been key to your success?

I think success is an interesting word – I just love doing what I do and I think I’m still striving for doing more and doing better. I haven’t reached a ‘top’ yet but I acknowledge that I have been very fortunate to be a part of and contribute to some amazing brands and organisations. I think a couple of my traits are tenacity and lots of (too much?) enthusiasm which have helped to get stuff done. I think I also thrive on new environments – I quickly adapt to understanding new categories or audiences or brand challenges. I love learning the current status of a business or a brand and then pushing it forward. I also get a lot of joy from working with young, talented people – there are so many good ideas that come from the diverse thinking of a team.

How has data changed the role of the marketer?

In my mind, having a respect and passion for data makes a marketer far better in their role. I had a manager in my mid-twenties who recognised that I had quite an instinctive approach to marketing, which he encouraged, but he also heeded a warning that instinct will only take you so far and that any hypothesis carried should be backed up by data. That advice has stayed with me and without a doubt has made me a far stronger marketer. The trouble today is not the lack of data, but perhaps the abundance of it. The trick is in mining through all the data points to figure out what is actually really useful and what is noise. And also, we need to avoid analysis paralysis – quick experimentation and fast failure is a far better approach than a dogmatic, lengthy analysis to make a go-no-go decision. Ultimately, I love working in the digital space – I love seeing real time stats and unravelling cause-and-effect patterns – but that should never overshadow the creativity required to tell a story and sustainably build a brand.

Has it been difficult to navigate your career in an ever-changing digital world? 

No – I absolutely love it. I love the new technologies and the learning on the job that is constantly required in today’s environment. Standing still is not an option anymore and thinking that you have a defined set of skills to offer is going to limit you. Experimentation with creative approaches and early adoption of new ways of doing business is the only way to operate. Jack Welch, the iconic CEO of GE has a famous quote, “if the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”. I love that.

Any advice for up and coming Millennials and Gen Zers?

I actually think we can learn a lot from Millennials and Gen Zers – they’re far more willing and open to self-learning, leveraging digital platforms and apps to teach themselves how to do things, how to be creative, how to apply themselves. That is the future of learning, I think, so to them, I say, keep doing it.

Check out more Tribe Q&As here:

Q&A with EA of the year, Zoë Robinson

Q&A with CEO at Putti Apps Bruce Howe

Q&A with GM at Red Bull Matt Clews

Q&A with CEO at Kantar New Zealand Jason Shoebridge

Q&A with Head of Financial Transactions at Auckland Council Russell Vaurasi

Q&A with Head of Business Support & Call Centre at Tribe, Lidya Paljk