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Why You Need to Rely on Data for Informed Marketing Decisions with Emma Farnhill, Former Head of Marketing at Wombat

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As you develop your data strategy, you will run into the following dilemma: Should data drive or guide your business decisions? How can you ensure providing value for users based on the insights you get? Your answers to these questions will transform your company’s relationship with data.

These are some of the challenges Emma Farnhill, an aspiring marketing leader, is facing. In this article, she discusses proven ways to enable collaboration between product and marketing based on facts.

Working across product and marketing

I started in an above-the-line marketing role and moved around a little as part of a commercial graduate scheme. I set up and led the product marketing team at Sainsbury’s for a couple of years.

The CMO at Sainsbury’s asked me to help the product and marketing teams work better together towards the same goals. These two teams learned a ton from each other and bringing both disciplines together was incredible. The discovery of the combined power of having multiple growth levers to pull is when I discovered what I really loved. That’s when I started getting deeper into tech and working across product and marketing.

I then moved to Trainline where I had growth targets and used more growth hacking methods to test and learn. We used the data available to identify the problems we wanted to solve and the opportunities to go after. This helped us make a few hypotheses and test how far we could go with these new approaches.

As the Head of Marketing at Wombat, I worked across the web and app. Although I don’t have a huge fintech background, I got the chance to be part of the team creating a solution for people who want to supercharge their savings but are less financially savvy.

The start of a new adventure

I recently joined the Growth lab team at Google. Simply put, my role will be responsible for helping to grow the various areas of Google in collaboration with a cross-functional team. I use experimentation, test, and learn techniques to reiterate and win/fail fast. I can’t reveal too much (mostly because I am that new!) but it’s an exciting time to start!

Helping others succeed as a motivator

What gets me out of bed in the morning is the people I work with. I really love helping others develop their careers and do work they are proud of. I get a lot of fulfillment from motivating a team and helping them achieve their goals. I am also a really curious person who loves to learn diverse things and figure out new stuff.

Best piece of advice received

When I was at Sainsbury’s, I was lucky to have some awesome managers who helped me get to where I am today. One piece of advice that sticks out to me is understanding the value of having a purpose, values, and being authentically yourself as opposed to trying to please other people. Understanding my values and following them has been super important for me.


As I’m sure most of us do, I suffer with the dreaded ‘Imposter Syndrome’, based on the advice I’ve received throughout my career I have worked hard to make sure I am not putting a ceiling on myself and taking leaps into roles that take me out of my comfort zone, I am not entirely confident in or haven’t tried before. I might not have 100% experience but by taking that step I’m stretching myself and opening up a world of opportunity – I encourage others to do the same.

Enabling collaboration between product and marketing


There are 3 key things that you want to look at:

1.   Data for informed decisions

To get buy-in from both sides, benchmark where you are and measure the progress you are making. To do this, you need data. Without the facts, you cannot make informed decisions.

It could be the open rate on an email, the click-through rate, website traffic, etc. This is all bringing product and marketing together. The journey of building up the data infrastructure is a continuous one (in my experience) whether you’re a small startup or a well-established FTSE100.

2.   High-value actions

Instead of just looking at the end goals, try to first understand the common things that make your customers pick you. At Wombat, a person depositing for the first time is a great early indication of long-term retention.

3.   The marketing stack

When it’s time for action, we need to connect our data with the marketing stack. At Wombat we used Iterable to deliver personalized messaging, Mixpanel to gain valuable customers’ insights, and Appsflyer for attribution and analytics. But I’ve previously used Braze, Adobe, and Mailchimp.


The future is a data-driven marketing

We tend to trust our instincts when it comes to making marketing decisions. This may be natural, but it’s not rational. Today’s trustworthy leaders in the marketing industry rely on a data-driven approach and data analytics to improve their efforts. And all the companies committed to turning data into action are transforming their businesses more effectively than ever before.

I am finding that data unifies all departments and allows us to work as a team to help each other achieve our common goals.

Emma Farnhill, EMEA Growth at Google

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