Dennis DeGregor Podcast Transcript

Headshot of VP Dennis DeGregor

Dennis DeGregor Podcast Transcript

Dennis DeGregor joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of the Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian Thomas: Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Dennis DeGregor. Dennis DeGregor serves as Vice President Global Experience Data Practice at Ogilvy. Dennis is the lead data strategy advisor for fortune 500 brands globally on enterprise customer experience, transformation, analytics, and leveraging technology for competitive business advantage.

He has written numerous books on the subject of enterprise data, strategic AI, and leveraging the global internet for competitive advantage through data driven customer experience transformation.

Well, good afternoon, Dennis. Welcome to the show,

[00:00:46] Dennis DeGregor: Brian. It’s great to be here. Good to see you.

[00:00:48] Brian Thomas: Absolutely appreciate you making the time hailing out of the great city of Chicago, the windy city. Obviously, a lot of great movies and people have come out of Chicago, including yourself.

So, I appreciate you making that time Dennis, we’re going to jump into your questions here. You’ve got quite the career in customer experience, and innovation at some of the top fortune 500 as a senior executive author, and now the Vice President Global Experience Data Practice at Ogilvy. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

[00:01:19] Dennis DeGregor: Well, Brian, that’s a great question. No, one’s ever asked it of me before, but the answer is early on, everybody is different. We know that, but I focused in on this convergence of technology and marketing that intrigued me to no end in the early days of the MarTech revolution. I realized at that time that technology was going to transform marketing and advertising.

So, I grabbed onto that and was just relentless in trying to stay in front of things that were going to change the landscape trends, sorting out what was hype from what was real and could impact the bottom line. So it was that particular area of focus. I think that has been the common thread.

[00:02:04] Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate you expanding a little bit on your career there. That’s very helpful for those, especially in your line of work. Always helpful to grab a nugget out of this podcast and share with our global audience. So again, thank you. Dennis, let’s talk a little bit about AI with generative AI on the minds of so many people and its impact on their business this year, could you share your insights on what the brand journey has been over the past year for companies navigating the use of AI into their marketing?

[00:02:33] Dennis DeGregor: 2022 and 2023 have been transformative years. Specifically, what has occurred is there has been a lot of prototyping. With generative AI and in marketing across 4 domains, image, video, audio and text.

Those are the big 4 in generative AI as it relates to marketing and what we’ve been doing for the last year to your question is we’ve been executing a lot of prototypes to understand the champion challenger matrix. So, to speak. In other words, how can we use generative AI, versus other types of content that is pulled from static repositories, such as digital asset management systems or content management systems like DMPs and so forth.

How can we use generative AI and its real time nature to improve conversion rates whatever it is that we’re measuring direct sales rates, response rates, click through rates, open rates for email engagement rates for digital channels. So that has been what has been transpiring in the last year.

And it’s going to be a big 2024 because I really see a couple of breakthroughs on the horizon that are interesting.

[00:03:51] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. This has been the hype and it’s not all hype, but it’s just been a lot, the top of the conversation here, the last probably 10 months easily, around generative AI, conversational AI, and how it’s being applied in marketing and across the spectrum of industry. So appreciate the share. Dennis let’s jump into this a little bit more. Talk to us about generative AI a bit in terms of the breakthrough you anticipate coming in 2024, as you mentioned, how is it poised to play a key role in shaping a better customer experience and personalized marketing strategies and, in your opinion, how will we leverage accurate customer experience focused generative AI output at scale?

[00:04:30] Dennis DeGregor: Yeah, at scale is a key word there, Brian. And what I see on the horizon for 2024 is what’s going to happen at many of the leading brands is they’re going to crack the code, so to speak, on generative AI, meaning they’re going to take it out of the prototyping environment, right? At a limited non-production scale, and they’re going to separate the winners from the losers and move forward with the winners. And what I see happening is the North star of generative AI is what I call the cube of generative AI.

There are 3 dimensions. There’s revenue. There’s customer engagement and channel orchestration and there’s customer loyalty. Those 3 business outcomes are what the brands are going to be focused on and how generative AI can drive those. So, these three business outcomes we’re going to see more and more brands move from these pockets of excellence.

I like to call them a prototype environment, a non-production minimum scale environment, to an enterprise footprint for generative and what that’s going to start to look like right now. You might just see some of your favorite brands. You’ll log in and try this yourself. You’ll see some generative pop up in the chat box.

So, most consumers can distinguish between a human chat and a GenAI chat. So, you’ll see it in the chat. But we may not be using AI yet in what I call the targeting AI operations swim lane, meaning there’s two swim lanes for AI. There’s generative AI, which generates the content, the texts, the images, the video, the audio, and then there’s what I refer to as targeting AI, which is the AI that determines the business rules for the marketing offer, which channel, what customer when, what is the offer? What is the pricing? What is the bundle? Do we strategically discount this bundle based on the customer’s lifetime value? We’re going to see in 2024 and expansion out of the prototype environment into this enterprise footprint that continues to be more and more cross functional across marketing, sales and service.

[00:06:47] Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate that. There’s a lot to unpack there as far as marketing and the customer engagement, customer experience loyalty. You talked about all those different points, but having AI get in there and be able to really maximize the efficiency around this process, providing and sometimes real time feedback or analysis on some of that engagement with the customer.

So, I appreciate that. That’s awesome. And I’m glad you broke that out for us. Dennis, last question of the day, your company recently received the Braze Torchy Award of the Year as Best Solution Partner. Congratulations. Love that you are obviously building as well as leveraging some of the new and emerging technologies in your business that are having a significant impact on people’s lives in the real world. Maybe you could highlight any notable AI powered technologies your team has worked on and why you think this is important.

[00:07:39] Dennis DeGregor: I think that the most important thing that we’ve done so far with AI being executed is beyond the Torchy Award and Ogilvy was also awarded Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year for 2023. Beyond those awards we executed a program that we call the undercover app. And what the undercover app is, it’s a technology that Ogilvy is using in conjunction with an organization called Women Helping Women Asia to combat domestic violence.

And specifically, what the app does is it looks, it records. Identifies and synthesizes patterns of potential verbal abuse and using AI can decide and score and decide whether this verbal abuse could escalate potentially into a physical incident. This is really a great social cause and Ogilvy is behind it 100 percent and it’s a great solution, right to a continuing social problem that needs to be addressed.

[00:08:50] Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I think that’s a great use case if you want to call it that as far as leveraging AI technology to address a real-world problem. Again, Dennis, I appreciate that, and I want to let you know, Dennis, it was such a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:09:07] Dennis DeGregor: Great, Brian. We’ll see you for the next session.

[00:09:09] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Dennis DeGregor Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.


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