Jay Dettling Podcast Transcript

Headshot of CEO Jay Dettling

Jay Dettling Podcast Transcript

Jay Dettling joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Jay Dettling. Jay Dettling is the CEO of Hero Digital. He has a three decade history of leading substantial company growth, serving in president and CEO roles for private equity backed companies. His experience includes growing digital agencies and taking them public, acquiring and integrating businesses, management of high scale business units at the largest consulting firm in the world, the development of solution partner ecosystems at multiple software companies, and of course, the founding and leadership of several entrepreneurial firms.

Most recently, Dettling has served in an advisory capacity to several SaaS companies, digital agencies, and private equity firms. Dettling’s previous positions include managing director at Accenture, vice president at Adobe, president at Acuity Group, and CEO and president at Ansera.

Good afternoon, Jay. Welcome to the show!

[00:01:07] Jay Dettling: Good afternoon, Brian. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:09] Brian: Absolutely. I appreciate you making the time and syncing calendars together. Sometimes it’s hard as we do this across the globe, literally 40 countries. And counting as we do these podcasts. So Jay, thanks again.

And we’re just going to jump directly into the questions so we can get your story going. Jay, talk to us about your career in consulting. You’re an entrepreneur, senior executive. Now you’re the CEO of Hero Digital. Could you share with our audience? The secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

[00:01:38] Jay Dettling: Yeah, absolutely, Brian. It’s a great question. That’s a big question. I guess if I were to boil it down to a few things that I think are salient, that hopefully are interesting for your listeners. A few lessons I’ve learned along the way, I probably didn’t start my career with this game plan.

And a few moments along the way, I’ve looked back and surmised what are the key takeaways? And I have a few things to share. I think first and foremost through my journey, I’ve always been intellectually curious. So curious about. How a company performs, how a role above me or 3 above me, 2 above me, how they, what’s their remit and what are they focused on?

And so I think 1st and foremost being, I’ve always been intellectually curious how a company works or how the, another role or division of a company operates. So I think that is 1st and foremost. I think secondly, I think what I’ve always internalized is having a sense of adventure.

And what that means is it’s not as simple as just have a sense of adventure, but really embrace ambiguity. I think when you take on more responsibility and more pressure and some roles that that certain roles bring, you have to deal with that ambiguity and that sense of adventure. Rather than, maybe shy away from it, embrace it.

I’ve always tried to embrace it. A 3rd thing that I think is, and I have 4 or 5, so it won’t be a too long of a list, but I think. Have this mindset of just get things done, oftentimes I’ve been involved with them and been fortunate to be around some really smart people and they have wonderful frameworks.

And, you marvel at those things and you say, wow, that’s a really good way of looking at something. And I think you need to break things down. But I think number 1, just getting stuff done. Has always been really important to me, and it affords new opportunities. If you’re somebody part of a team, or, your leadership looks at you and says that is somebody who just gets things done.

That’s really been important. And part, part and parcel with that is taking accountability. Oftentimes in group settings, or you find yourself in meetings or other situations where maybe you didn’t ask for that accountability. Maybe it wasn’t bestowed upon you. But if you take accountability for situations, that’ll open new doors for you.

And I think that’s really important. And then I think the last thing that I’ve found really important for me, as I progress through different opportunities and a variety of stages in my career, it’s. It’s really focusing on growing the team around you. No one can do anything alone.

You get farther as a team, having power is giving power away and empowering people and building people. And I found a lot of satisfaction through that in doing that throughout my career. So those those items I think have been really important as I’ve progressed through various roles and stages in my career.

[00:04:11] Brian: Thank you, appreciate that and I know our audiences will as well. And Jay, I really that you, that piece about an ambiguity, right? A lot of people get freaked out about things they, that are outta their control and the fact that you embrace this, right? Cuz that would be something that somebody would probably most cases would freak out about.

So I really appreciate your thoughts on that and I know it’s gonna be interesting for our audience. So thanks again. And Jay switching gears, want to talk about all your services that you have under one roof, design tech marketing, you can do some pretty awesome things for your clients here.

What makes Hero Digital stand out above the rest?

[00:04:49] Jay Dettling: Yeah, thank you. Thank you for that question, Brian. We love that question. Our tagline, I’ll share the highlights of it. It’s about creating business growth by transforming the complete digital customer experience. And so that word growth is what we’re all about.

And, I don’t think we’re unique in that, but that is our center principle that we rally behind. And, at the end of the day, we’re focused, our clients are a number of different types of businesses that cross a number of different types of industries. And we’re focused on the digital front door of that business, whether they’re trying to create brand awareness, or they’re trying to sell their product online or create leads because some products you can’t really sell online.

It’s maybe a highly considered purchase. We’re helping them with that entire front door. And so the coming together of that singular focus of growth. And the front door, which is digital, which takes a variety of different formats, based on different it’s, it could be a mobile app. It could be a website.

It could be telematics in your car. It’s that front door to a business. And the secret sauce of our business is bringing together, this is a term we talk a lot about, but it’s people at the end of the day, their disciplines and they represent strategy, creative data and insights, technology and marketing know how those are 5 different disciplines.

It’s bringing together those disciplines. To attack a client challenge and focused on growth for them. That’s really the secret sauce of hero digital. And, we relic the opportunity to do that. And certainly with the move to digital for most businesses across not just their selling activity, but how they support their customers and communicate with their customers.

It gives us a number of opportunities to do that, but it’s really the singular focuses is growth and then bringing together those disciplines in a unique way. To address the opportunity or challenge that our clients have.

[00:06:38] Brian: Thank you. And you pretty much explained that very clearly and concisely for us which I appreciate.

I’m a techie at heart and I like where you can come into a one stop shop and get all that done. So thank you. And Jay, you’re obviously leveraging some new and emerging technologies within your tech stack, right? Is there anything you might be able to give us a little taste of today?

[00:07:01] Jay Dettling: Yeah, absolutely.

It’s good to talk to another techie and, tech provides such a catalyst for change, but as you well know, technology is maybe the start of the conversation the real, end of the conversation and bulk of the conversations around people and enabling people to get the most out of that technology.

And so we had a business at hero digital, we leverage enterprise technology, enterprise software. Yeah. We even call it software from great firms like Adobe Salesforce. Google Optimizely, just to name a few, and we are bringing these technologies to our clients and really helping them get the most out of it.

And so in our space, the term is often used marketing technology or MarTech for short. So, we’re bringing that innovation from those firms. I mentioned to our clients. And the core focus that we have is helping them get the most out of that technology. And, in a lot of cases, we want to help them take advantage of all the features and functions, but we’re not doing that just for technology sake.

We’re really doing that. Like I mentioned before, to help them drive growth and the people side is probably the most important. So, we play it, pay a lot of attention to understanding our client and their level of understanding of that software and ongoing aspect so that we can help them. Design, build, and then run whatever that solution is, whether it’s an e commerce site or a marketing campaign platform.

And so that’s our core focus in terms of what we bring to our clients. And then the 2nd thing I’ll say, it almost be remiss without saying this when you talk about technology is the promise of artificial intelligence. In many ways, we’re harnessing AI features and capabilities from those enterprise software organizations.

And 1 example, I’ll give you there was a client. We were doing a re, imagining a new experience for them and how they connect with their customers digitally. And it required a lot of images in the past. We would have purchased those images. From a stock image house and brought those into the right place in the experience to evoke the brand, ethos that that we’re trying to to reimagine.

And in this case, we used AI to produce a whole new library of images. That allowed the customer to save a lot of money, get the images faster and not have any copyright issues relative to that. So, there’s many ways we’re doing things faster, cheaper, and more efficiently overall with enterprise or artificial intelligence.

But at the core, we’re leveraging some enterprise software and bringing that to our clients and helping them use that technology. In a more efficient and optimized way.

[00:09:34] Brian Dettling: Thank you. And you highlighted some really hot topics, obviously MarTech and artificial intelligence, which we’re still navigating the space of AI.

I don’t know if you saw, but I just saw a highlight in my tech, notes. I get these little feeds every day and it looks like Sarah Silverman. Might be suing open AI because of some copyright infringement. So, we’re getting into that space again, back as you recall, in the nineties, where we were learning as we grow with this new technology.

So, it’s pretty interesting for sure. So. Jay, thank you so much. One last question of the evening. Could you share something from your career experience that might be helpful for those listening today looking to grow their career in either digital growth or leadership?

[00:10:16] Jay Dettling: Yes, absolutely.

Brian, I think 1st of all, if someone’s centered on growth and expanding their leadership, that’s a great 1st step. Just making that commitment because it means they’re on their front foot. They’re not on their back foot. And, that requires them to take risks and jump into things which I think is really important.

If, not at the risk of restating some of the things I’ll highlight probably three things that come to mind that are really important as you expand into digital, as you expand into leadership. First and foremost, gain experiences, I would say to the audience, gain as many experiences as you can.

And take on different roles, work on different project teams, step out of your comfort zone, learn what others are doing. And why and even expand to understand if you’re in services or consulting, learn why the different clients that you have, what makes them tick, how do they make a profit?

How does that business unit operate? What is it? What is it focused on producing or what is it serving back to the company? But for yourself, gain as many experiences as you can, because ultimately that will give you perspective. And when you’re faced with opportunities and challenges. You’ll have a rich tapestry of perspective to bring to that situation.

So, I think number 1, gain experiences. And then two, which is closely related, I think cultivate diversity of thinking. And sometimes you can do that, for yourself, but also through your team and gaining, gaining different points of view, different ways to solve problems are really important because when you think about the business economy we work in.

We’re working with global partners, global customers, we’re hiring people that have global backgrounds and the more diversity of thinking that you have, it will just make you more adaptable to all those situations. And then last, and this will probably be close to something you appreciate, Brian. Lastly, stay close to innovation.

Innovation creates energy. It creates a dynamic environment and it creates change and change is really good if you embrace it. And innovation is really exciting because. There’s always opportunities for growth. And I think if one were to do those three things, it will certainly advance your digital career.

It will advance your leadership ability and ultimately help you achieve the things that you have in front of you.

[00:12:25] Brian: That’s awesome. Thank you. And you summed up the podcast pretty well with those three points and you’re right. Having that pulse on innovation has always been. Something that I’ve really played into over my career.

So thank you so much, Jay. And Jay, it was a pleasure having you on today. And I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:12:41] Jay Dettling: Thank you, Brian. My pleasure as well. Thank you very much.

[00:12:45] Brian: Bye for now.

Jay Dettling Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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