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Episode 77: Guest Appearance

Executive Insights On AI’s Impact On Marketing

Tessa Burg
Chief Technology Officer at Mod Op | Host of Leader Generation
Tessa Burg Speaks On Test. Learn. Grow.

Integrating generative AI into marketing workflows is a move only a select few forward-thinking leaders are making. We’re excited to collaborate with the Test. Learn. Grow. podcast to feature discussions with two such trailblazers—Tessa Burg, host of Leader Generation and CTO at Mod Op, and Patrick Patterson, CEO at Level.

These leaders are at the forefront, not just employing generative AI but also setting the standard for its application. They join the podcast to share their excitement, expert tips, bold opinions and the valuable lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Listen to a conversation filled with actionable advice for anyone looking to elevate their organization’s AI journey. This episode was originally published by the Test. Learn. Grow. podcast, hosted by Dale Riether and sponsored by Level.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • What generative AI is, and what it isn’t
  • How to get organizational buy-in from the top down
  • Where to apply AI tools to create the most efficiency and value
  • Why security is critically important (but shouldn’t stop your team from experimenting)

Watch the Live Recording

Full Episode Transcripts

(00:05) Welcome in to another episode of level agencies Test. Learn. Grow podcast I’m Dale Riether, Digital Marketing Lead here at level and I’ll be your host for today. Today we’re talking about generative AI’s major Impact on marketing and the business world at large and how executives should be thinking about applying it to their organizations now and in the future and with that I’m super excited to be joined by two incredible guests our very own Patrick Patterson, CEO of Level Agency, and  Tessa Burg Chief technology Officer at

(00:34) Mod Op and with that I’d like to welcome them both in how’s it going. Pat and Tessa thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us today super excited for the conversation. Y eah yeah super excited to be here I am super excited to be in the same room as Tessa. We got to talk on the stage at the Marketing AI Conference and, you know, she humbly talked about her background and what she was doing and then ended up being one of the most engaging deliveries in that

(01:06) panel we were having. So Tessa, thank you so much for talking to us today I’m super excited to pick your mind a little bit. Yeah thank you so much for having me and I feel the same you. You were very intimidating that was a very intimidating setup so I’m glad that the delivery went off well. But I was so intrigued about Level’s ability to apply these applications so quickly, I mean comparatively, and it’s not a small company. So, kudos to Level for really embracing what’s next in the future

(01:39) and getting started a lot of people I know struggle with just that let’s give it a try so excited to be here and continue the conversation yeah absolutely you want to give us a little background on yourself. Sure, so I started more on the developer and it side and then very quickly got to know the marketing department and saw that they were making a lot of the decisions, so I wanted to get more into that world. I love customer data and that took me down the road of learning more about user experience and how data can really

(02:10) inform an awesome process and then bring in the tech, and that’s still a process that I use today. So I’ve always set between the development world and technology and marketing, trying to be the bridge between the two to create a great experience that’s measurable and helps us learn. That’s great. A little bit about me. So, I was math and computer science. So what I like to say, I went to the dark side that is marketing in 2005, but you know it was like kind of that moment in 2005 and you know anyone

(02:42) that was doing marketing around that time probably remembers. You know, I brought this technology angle this data driven decision-making angle to marketing. This is before the term “Performance Marketing” even existed right. And it was like inventing fire in the marketing department. It’s like, what do you mean we can use pivot tables? Let’s figure out how to use pivot tables. So you know from that to business intelligence to now, kind of this newer revolution around technology and automation and AI, it’s

(03:10) been a really exciting journey for me as a technologist to be in this marketing world. Kind of to your point as so like marketing gets to have a ton of fun they also are kind of on the bleeding edge like t’s a little bit of a wild wild west situation. And so if you are, if you love product, if you love creating things, if you love creating proof of concepts, it’s a great place to be. Because there’s budget for testing and there’s appetite for testing and learning and so it’s just such an

(03:36) exciting place to be able to implement some of the really cool technology ideas that I’m sure get bounced around in your head a lot. Right. Absolutely I agree. At Mod Op, as the CTO, I oversee it now and then help inform marketing but having that marketing hat means it gets some budget where historically that’s not the case. You know, now we’re talking about what does our infrastructure have to look like, what are the databases have to be, how much power do we need to drive this. So it is a very exciting place to

(04:03) be. Because yeah, I used to kind of get the shaft and it was all about how much money can you save. That’s right. How much growth can you drive that’s right. Yeah awesome. Well I wanted to set the stage a little bit with you both just around why this topic is so crucial for senior leaders and executives right now. You start to go into it a little bit just talking about like how do you inject this into your organization the technology. So at our summit, we had someone come on who was very

(04:32) smart and say there’s no experts in this right now. Nobody knows what’s going on. Why is it important for executive leaders like yourself to really start to wrap their hands around this and at least start to understand what’s going on as everyone’s trying to figure out how to incorporate AI into their everyday work processes? Yeah so there’s two paths that I think executives should be excited about and aware about. One, you should be excited that this can revolutionize your team’s growth paths

(05:06) and their careers. And if you really embrace what it can do for your team and you start to lead by example, then they too won’t be scared to get started. I think the other side, executives needs to be aware of is the risk and the doors, I call them. You know, this can open some doors this can open some vulnerabilities in your stack, and making sure that you’re putting in the right training and change management processes as you start to empower people to use these tools. And there’s a level of acceptance that this will

(05:40) change the way we all work. This will change the way we price. This will change the type of deliverables we get to serve our clients with they get to use from us. But also, you have to do it judiciously and always have an eye on like what the risk can be and how am I managing that while not taking away and setting blockers that slow progress. Yeah, it’s crazy right? You know Dale, to your to your point, like it’s new and there are no playbooks really for a lot of this stuff.

(06:14) There’s no, you know, 20-year study that McKenzie did that we can pull from that is going to help us with risk management and risk mitigation for this. And I think that’s good and it’s bad. Like it’s good to recognize the fact that this is so knew because, you know, I think we’re all in, at least I am, I’m in this bubble where I hear and I talk about all this and think about it a lot. And I think like, oh everyone knows what’s going on. Everyone’s talking about this. And then

(06:44) we realize, actually, we’re in this 1% bubble of doing this. And so like there’s this first step of, like in my opinion, like education around what it can do and what it can’t do. And you know, in whatever room I’m in, executives, creatives, marketers, technologists—there is a bias. There’s an inherent understanding or belief of what it can and can’t do. And so I think it’s really important to like first educate and then, Tessa as you said, then lead from example, right? Is how

(07:18) do the leaders in the organization use it how. How do we get out of the way of people testing and learning and figuring this out for themselves. And I think that’s super key to adoption, you know. I think Tessa, I think you know you probably heard me say this, I think I said it, but you know, it’s like the calculator was invented. We’re all using abacuses. The calculator was invented and, you know, can you imagine a CTO coming down into the company and saying no keep using your abacuses. You’re not

(07:50) allowed to use the calculator because we’re all afraid of what it’s going to do, right. And so like there has to be this like top down like permission to track. But that comes with education and understanding and really, like this is what it is, this is what it’s not, right. Because that’s almost equally important. Because people think it’s something that it’s not in a lot of places, right. So I think that’s spot on. I agree and just to add to that. I think a lot of the people who don’t

(08:19) understand what it’s not have also not tried and not invested any of their time in education and that is so important. So you have to create those spaces for your team, the same time your team has to take the initiative and want to learn and that can be a hump. And we also see that with our clients. You know, so how are you helping bring your clients along when they ask questions like you’re definitely not using this for any of our work right. It’s like, oh, interesting question. And why not? Where’s your

(08:49) concern with that and let’s start there and maybe we have to do some live demos some live trainings, but it is so important to give people that space and recognize that it’s not coming from a place of they won’t change. It’s coming from a place of caution and need for process and education. So let’s dig into that a little bit. I’d love to start talking about, I don’t know if we’re already start talking about the technology specifically yet, but how are you guys thinking about creating those

(09:15) spaces for people and starting to get people the right education? I think it’s interesting the understanding of what it is and what it isn’t because that’s also changing almost on a daily basis. So how are you thinking about creating those spaces for people to start learning about this stuff and breaking down some of those barriers to enable people to just try it because I think that is the key piece just starting to try to use some of this stuff for your work. So our first step was we wanted people to know that we are going to

(09:47) embrace AI in all its forms including Gen AI but most of the concern does come from Gen AI so we publish a responsible use guidelines.Iit’s not legally binding, but it says hey we want you to go out and try this, but when you do, here’s some precautions you have to use and then here as a reminder are some of our cyber security and data security principles compliance rules we already follow that we have to continue to follow and recognize and bring a consciousness when we are using Gen AI. the second piece that

(10:20) we did within those responsible use guidelines is talk about how these tools were created and the type of data that they were trained on, and that’s extremely important, because sometimes you do get caught up in having fun. You’re so impressed with the output, but we added a layer of testing whatever you use. We don’t use anything for final client deliverables and we see the strongest results from Gen AI is actually in that researching, vetting, getting that first draft out you know. Kind of using it as … I saw this in a Harvard

(10:55) Review study and one of my co-workers said it the other day and I’m like, it’s right it’s exact it’s second brain you know. It’s making your quality higher and pushing you. That is where the power is. But we don’t want people fall into the trap of like, I’m using this to create the thin, but whatever you create, because it was in your process has to be vetted by a diverse set of your team so we can check for biases so we can ensure that it is delivering the quality expectations that

(11:25) we have for all of our work. I think that’s I think that’s spot on. You know, the idea of responsible use right. So, I think it’s really important for any company any agency to have an internal policy that they, you know. And it doesn’t need to be 30 pages of legal right. It can be one page of like hey this is what we think you can use this for and this is you know how we expect you to use it. And ours is very similar. Tessa right, like ours is you know nothing that

(11:58) you get from an AI is final. You need to you need to test it, you need to QA it, you need to edit it. And then we do internal trainings are very similar of like hey this is what it’s great for it’s great for that first draft, it’s great for brainstorming, it’s great for radiation. Then there’s a middle part that is human. And then actually I like the end part which is QA and editing because it’s really good at that too right. But that middle human part of taking that draft into

(12:25) okay I had a blank page before, I don’t have a blank page now. Let me get it to something that’s great and then make sure I hit the brief right. Go back and have it do that. So, it’s kind of like this to me. This beginning and ending part of any task really. But it’s when you get into this is an interesting thought right. So if employees are using generative AI and they’re using it end to end and they’re not doing that human part in the middle and then the output is as good as

(12:52) the output as it used to be. Like that should be a moment when we look at that and say what is happening in our process. Like is that the output we want right. And how do we change our process, our quality QA control or do we think about, like hey, if we can get this now out of the AI in five seconds then we could actually deliver this to our clients by inserting some humans on top of it. Because I really think like anything where the time and energy has gone to zero any task where

(13:30) generative AI has made that task go to zero minutes all of that’s going to be koneti in the next six to 12 months. And so there’s no value in it if that is the thing all these people that are like using it to create content that is mediocre and throwing up thousands of articles online and creating you know all of this stuff that’s mediocre like all of that’s now value like baseline. And so our jobs now is to figure out okay how do we go from baseline just as it used to be baseline which has been raised to now

(14:02) this. Because that’s how we’re going to continue to function as an agency. That’s what our clients are going to expect from us. How do you go from this to this. That’s always what agencies have done right. And so like that’s a really interesting thought of like hey if you didn’t need a human okay now let’s go back and look at that process how can we put a human on it to add a ton more value to that whole process. Yeah, I agree the fueling critical thinking should be the measure that you use the tool

(14:29) correctly. If you did not question it. If you didn’t increase your creativity critical thinking. Look at it from many different angles. Tthen you in some ways kind of wasted the time that you saved because it should push you. The quality should be better. Yeah and any time where you’re just taking an export out of ChatGPT or Claude and just sending it over, like that should be a point where you’re just questioning what you’re doing right. I think you brought up a point like of what are your clients

(14:56) expecting. So you know we have clients asking us, we have clients pushing us, saying hey we want you to use as much generative AI as possible. And then we have some clients that are saying, hey you’re just kind of are you using this, is what we’re getting now AI. And so I think it’s also going to be important and is important to be very transparent with your clients on how you’re using this technology where it is improving your process. If before you were delivering four cConcepts and now you’re

(15:24) delivering seven and three of those are now AI and four are not, like it might be interesting to show those and then say hey, these were the ones that were generated by AI. These took 10 seconds and these took three hours. And so you know there’s this time and quality concept that we have to look at with everything that we’re doing. Because you know in that ideation phase, if we can actually spend 10 seconds versus three hours then can we get to market faster. Can we get something into a testing phase in to the consumers

(15:58) faster because of that. And is there more value in that than spending 10 more hours trying to come up with one more creative concept. And so like I think there’s this whole— it’s just changing the way we think about the value we get from the time we put in. And so I think it, for me, I just lean towards be honest with your clients and say this is how we’re using it. This is how we’re not using it. We’re going to try this and it’s going to go into this system and it’s going to hit this API and we’re

(16:27) going to get an output you know. But this again is how we’re going to check it. This is how we’re going to edit it. This is how we’re going to make sure that it’s not mediocre. And I think just that transparency is important. I think any agency right now that has inserted into their process and isn’t being honest about it and is charging the same amount or just isn’t talking about it, that’s probably going to go away in a year or two right. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of people that can just you

(16:52) know pass off AI work for humans and not be transparent about it. So I just lean towards let’s just be candid this is how we’re using it this is how we’d like to use it this and this is how it benefits you right. Everyone’s just looking for how does it benefit me or my company. And we’re like hey this is now cheaper for you or faster for you or we can get to market faster for you. Yeah and I think it’s really like “choose your own adventure” so the price per concept might go down and you can generate a whole lot

(17:22) more and there will be clients who might have that or who do have would need to have that test-and-learn mindset to say okay yes I want to see if we do a bunch of these different creative executions I kind of want to see what works for who and where. Then you also have clients, it’s not that they don’t have the test-and-learn mindset, but they need to see something way more finished. They’re more of those planners. They’re the bigger brands and that’s where pricing on quality might start to come into play. I

(17:51) think one thing for sure no matter which way you go and choose your own adventure, whether it’s the test-and-learn and my price per deliverable is coming down or the more strategic, I need to have things elevated up higher and sort of all planned out before I even step into market. Ours I think will stop being a way that we measure the quality of our work. It’s going to be do I get to market faster, do I get to market better and you I agree be transparent and know that or at least help clients understand you

(18:21) can’t do both. Like we did a bazillion different concepts but they’re not all going to be the same amount of quality as if we generated a bazillion different concepts took in more inputs and started stringing together apps you know like bringing the data. If you did market research and you have some AI within your market research platform and then pairing that with the Gen AI app and then perhaps you have a data scientist who can do a model, that’s going to take longer than if I just spit out a bunch of concepts. So I think it’s important to

(18:50) be transparent and I think it’s important to let clients know this is choose your own adventure. But what you’re paying for is the value of the output based on the path you want to go down. Yeah and you know the idea and we don’t do a ton of logo generation so I like to pick on logo generation. Just in general, let’s say you spent half a million dollars on a logo and it takes six months right and the output of that is wonderful it’s amazing and you’re so happy with it.

(19:18) You’re so happy that you got this logo in six months and you paid half a million dollars for it and you’re very convinced of the process that you went through was complete and really captured everything and you did your acceptance. You know you did your QA and you tested it woth your focus groups and everyone loves it and it’s great. Now if I came to you and said 10 minutes, or let’s be honest, a week after you asked me and I gave you that same logo is it worth more or

(19:46) is it worth less that I gave it to you in a week versus six months right. And the answer it’s worth more right. If it’s the exact same logo in a week versus 6 months you’ve just saved me five months in 3 weeks and so I would actually pay you more. But the hour model, the retainer model, that we actually do, we are about 50% to 60% retainer right now, incentivizes agencies you know not us. But like it could incentivize agencies to say, well like let’s take the six months to do it right.

(20:17) And so you know and it’s and it’s this weird thing because if I do it in a week and I deliver it I’m only going to be able to charge you for that week versus charge you for the value that I created for your logo and that is like, that’s one of the most interesting parts of what’s happening right. Is the whole value creation model has changed, and it’s the first time it’s really changed in about 20 years right. You know, every 20 years in marketing you start to see the value creation models

(20:45) change a little bit and it’s the first time it’s really changed in the past 20 years and it’s a really exciting moment where we can say no this is the value of it and that’s where I go back to getting out of your head that every everyone knows about AI and everyone is as advanced as you are because you’re in the bubble. Like I think there’s actually a ton of value that can be brought just because you’re on the leading edge and you can do things faster and you can do things better and you can you’ve already

(21:16) thought through a generative AI policy internally tested and you already have you know a data scientist on staff and you have you’re thinking about cyber security like you’re in the top echelon of agencies just because of those things right. And it’s easy for you and I to sit here and be like well every agency’s like that right and so it’s taking that all that really awesome leading edge work we do and then translating that into the value of that for our clients. And I think it’s you know it starts with

(21:46) education but it’s going to have to be probably a shift it’s going to have to be CMOs, CEOs, presidents you know Vice Presidents of marketing changing the way they build their budgets, changing the way they think about working with agencies and really cap how do I pay and perceive the value and how do I capture that value appropriately. And it’s not going to be hours. It’s probably not going to be percentage of media. It’s going to be hey this is the if I spend you know $50,000 on this logo logo and

(22:14) it’s awesome great that’s what it’s worth to me. And so you know it’s going to be really interesting to see how that changes and how agencies adapt to how clients are perceiving the value. Yes, I agree. So let’s talk about some of the fun stuff now you start that wasn’t fun it’s fun. But let’s talk about some of the—I’d love to talk about some of the interesting applications that you both have seen happening for the clients at your respective agencies. We talked about the

(22:44) idea of you can get to value so much faster what are some ways that specific ways that we’re doing this for clients right now that you’ve seen you’re like this is really freaking cool. Yeah true. So I want to start with one that was surprising to me and I loved it and it was team-led and we’re an international agency we do a lot of work with localizing campaigns and our international team started using grammarly to expedite their communication with predominantly English-speaking clients and internal

(23:16) communication. So you think about you know if you’re speaking multiple languages and English is not your second is not your first language I just thought that was genius. You know we look to them for their expertise on how to localize the creative and the campaigns that we’re doing and now they’re able to communicate faster and clearer and because they’ve built grammarly into their communication process. That I felt was like so simple and sometimes that’s where the best applications come from. But then on a bigger scale

(23:47) we’ve seen a lot of value in using specifically ChatGPT in PR and it epitomizes increasing quality. Like PR is not just about writing. It is truly about critical thinking, positioning how you get in touch with the media Outlets, what kind of coverage you can get, and so the more time to your point like that you can save on that commoditized stuff like anyone can write really you know pretty gosh darn well. Not every agency not every PR department can really get creative about those story angles and how that gets picked up.

(24:24) And then the third one that I think has really increased quality increased experience is leveraging and we specifically leverage SEMRush with a couple of other tools for SEO. I think that SEO is going to dramatically change in the next two years and just you know using it for keyword generation is simply not going to cut it. And when you start to pair a couple different apps together and say well how does this improve experience how does this make it more personalized to this specific audience than you’re preparing your

(24:57) website your team and your customers are coming to it for the type of experience that’s next. Not just like spitting out content and slapping keywords on a page. So those three what have the fourth one I forgot GA4. A lot of our clients, not a lot I shouldn’t say a lot, a few and then other people who I know let Google just sort of transfer over GA to GA4 and if you don’t invest in the skills and expertise to configure that correctly then you’re going to miss out on the predictive insights. So there’s

(25:28) actually a lot of cool stuff that’s available in G4 but you have to know how to set it up you have to know how to configure it to get that out. And that’s one where I think right now there might be some missed opportunity and it is time consuming it’s an area where ML is not making it go faster. You have to know what you’re doing, take the time and then you’ll get the value out you know as the data comes in. You know your first example on localization, it’s so good at translation and

(25:59) you know specifically I mean grammarly is awesome. I’ve been using grammarly forever like when it came out because you know I think in equations and not you know don’t speak so good sometimes and so the emails that it edits for me is great. But you know we do some Spanish-speaking markets, we have campaigns and some Spanish-speaking markets, so we have some internal trans translators that are taking the content that’s being created, translating that

(26:27) into Spanish. Just a like a year ago and I think we’re coming up on the anniversary of ChatGPT being released but like a year ago like the options were pretty bad around taking English and putting it into another language. And so we’re using ChatGPT now to do that and it’s almost indistinguishable from an actual translator. We still have a translator doing it but it’s been able to increase their output and also decrease errors right. So increased output decreased errors that

(27:03) sounds great for anyone. Again you still need to have that human editor and I think that’s a theme Dale that you’re going to hear throughout this entire podcast episode here is like it’s finding different ways to insert that human editor that human subject matter expert into the situation right. I think the rise of the editor subject matter expert is going to be a theme over the next two years. It’s like what do I know that ChatGPT doesn’t know right. When you can figure

(27:33) that out then all of a sudden you can create tons of value because it knows all this stuff I know this stuff on top of it and then I create a ton of value right. So the localization has been phenomenal I think that’s going to bring nearshore and offshore teams closer together and I think you’re going to see some changes and models on how people work next year in more near shoring and more offshoring because that breaks down one of the crazy barriers that used to

(28:02) exist and now it doesn’t exist anymore right. Like literally overnight it doesn’t exist anymore it’s wild. So I love I love that example. We’ve inserted it and we’re doing a lot of the things you talked about there. The additional one was we’ve inserted into our project management process quarterly goals and those types of things usually using ChatGPT to plan that out for the quarter. Think about the obstacles, think about the

(28:31) measures, the methods on how you’re doing that. We use Salesforce’s V2 moms framework to do that and then you know taking that and actually building out project plans getting those project plans into our project management tools and then actually having it make API calls throughout the subtask it can actually do things automatically right. So like hey I want this to be a first draft, take all this information to give us—you know that I was told not

(28:59) to swear when we were up at the Marketing AI Conference—but we call it the shitty first draft, the SFD. I really love thinking about it like that and I don’t mind using “shitty first draft” because that like you’re never going to give someone a shitty first draft. if I call it a first draft you actually might deliver that but if you call it a shitty first draft you’re like, I’d never give that to a client right. And so it can deliver that shitty first draft then it

(29:23) can take your edits it could give you then some ideation on where you’re different where it’s seen maybe you left some holes in your edited copy. It can then at the end automatically QA it for you, find errors, find grammars,  find typos, find all those issues just like grammarly does. So I think inserting it inside of your process and automating you know removing that friction making it less calories to do some tasks I think is really a cool application. So we’re starting to do that

(29:52) internally. Yeah I love that I never thought about it for the goal setting too. Well and like I love it you know. I love brainstorming as I think any executive loves brainstorming if we could spend you know 40 hours a week just brainstorming we’d probably do that. But brainstorming is expensive when you think about it right. Let’s get 10 of the probably highest paid or just 10 people in a room, it doesn’t matter, and all think about ideas. Very expensive meeting. So when you do that it has to be

(30:25) a really important thing you’re brainstorming and I love this idea of ChatGPT actually taking the brainstorming cost to zero right. So now I can brainstorm silly things and I can go to it with a silly idea and brainstorm, have it beat it up back and forth with me before I even talk to my team about it which is really really cool. So I use it a lot for that. But then in the goal setting I’ll have it brainstorm like hey I’m like I have this crazy idea create this V2 Mom for me I’m like that’s not

(30:53) good enough let’s do this. Wwhat am I missing? And that question alone is so powerful to remove bias just to like remove those horse blinders that sometimes we have on where we’re not seeing this side and this side of our organization or our client’s organization and so it’s super powerful for that. I love that for you know when you’re at the beginning of planning your project like what am I not seeing. Yeah no I love that example. We do something similar and I guess we should

(31:22) be putting into our full process. But for the marketing, like podcasts, are expensive so if we’re going to take the time to record this and then do a newsletter our team has done a really awesome job and kind of string those things together to be more automated. And the example you gave really shows how ChatGPT can be that second brain where it’s increasing your critical thinking creativity, not replacing it. That’s right, 100%. Yeah I love the brainstorming talk track. I think the one thing really cool thing

(31:53) I’ve seen our teams doing is starting to build personas for our clients within ChatGPT. And Pat you mentioned there might be more of a shift to those roles becoming like subject matter experts. Like what do you know that the AI doesn’t know. So you could spend more of your time doing the human work the hard work talking to our customers. Really understanding the market training AI based on that and then you can help get to ideas faster that are still relevant to their audience because you’ve taken

(32:26) the time to build that. So I thought I that was a really cool application that I’ve seen our teams doing internally is like building our customer’s customer within an AI and then being able to use that continuously to get the good ideas faster that aren’t generic because we a really cool way of doing that as well is building that Persona and then having ChatGPT take on that persona and then ask it questions and interact with that with that prospect right. It’s a really cool—a lot of people

(32:59) don’t think abou. It’s like okay I built  my ICP I built my personas I did all my stuff now give me ads right. Well actually like now hey AI be that consumer that I’ve just given you all this information on, act as that consumer and let me talk to you. Like what do you know, what are your hopes, what are your dreams. Like actually start to dig in. It’s really fascinating and again it takes to do that traditionally five years ago a year ago we would have had to have a focus

(33:28) group and spend a lot of money and a lot of coordination and a lot of effort and you go to an agency that does that specifically and then you talk to seven people or 10 people or 20 people and you get and now we take that cost down to zero. So again what’s the value it’s probably not as good as that 20 person focus group but it happened in 30 seconds versus two and a half months right. And so you know what can I gain from that and then when do I need to take it to the focus group right when do I need to do that and again

(33:58) I think those are those are amazing use cases that if people just jumped in and did it and and started trying it they would realize it’s not scary right. I see everyone like oh it’s going to take jobs it’s going to do all these things. Like maybe. It’s possible. Like all of those things are definitely possible. But I’ve never talked to anyone inside of our organization or our client’s organizations that want to do the mundane work that can be automated through AI. No one wants to do

(34:26) that work right. So like what’s in it for me like I’m going to take away all of the stupid work that you’re doing all of the automatable work and all you get to do is the fun stuff. 40 hours a week of fun stuff. Who doesn’t want to do that. I want to do that. You’ll be in less meetings, you’ll be in less spreadsheets, you’re going to be just having more fun. And I think that’s why we’re all here right, is to have fun on a daily basis. Well I

(34:49) think almost all the people I work with, I’m trying to think of someone who doesn’t, we love our jobs we love what we do we’ve invested a lot in our careers. And in your focus group example, the person who’s an expert in hosting a focus group now has the power to get more out of that focus group. Like why wouldn’t you start with ChaGPT? Because now when you do go to the focus group, you’re going to get richer insights because again it’s like the first draft you were

(35:17) talking about. Wwe all know that our first drafts, our first thought no matter how expert we are, can always be better. And so now you’re vetting better. And if we all have so much pride in our careers and in our paths and our journey our expertise and this is just getting more out of our own journeys and skills and so it is exciting. It doesn’t mean it’s replacing us. It means I hear this a lot you know you’re getting superpowers and you’ll start to see that in the output and that will bring you

(35:45) a different level of Pride and excitement to what you’re doing. 100%. So I know we’re coming up against it. Before we wrap I want to get one hot take from each of you. Tessa I know you said you think SEO is going to change really drastically over the next two years. Pat you were talking a little bit about how subject matter expert roles and like prompters might come more to the forefront of roles in marketing and you said ChatGPT’s anniversary of one year is coming up soon. That

(36:12) kind of blew my mind because it’s just moving so fast. Like how much has changed since Q4 of last year. I want one hot take from each of you whether it be around the technology or the roles that we all have, what’s going to happen in the next two years, because so much has happened just in the past 12 months. Before we get into the hot takes, let me just say this: I think in a year from now we’re going to look back on this conversation and the technology we have today and it’s all going to be

(36:39) laughable right. I think it’s we’re going to look back to this moment when the technology has never been worse than it is today right. It will never be worse than it is today because it will only get better. But it’s moving so fast then a year from now like what we’re doing in ChatGPT and that things were excited about we’re going to look back and be like oh that’s real low fidelity. That was that was phase zero right. And that wasn’t even the surface of what we’re

(37:08) able to do. So I think going two years into the future, Dale there would have to be some super hot takes that go two years into the future. But I think first I’ll give a somewhat hot take, maybe medium lukewarm take, but I don’t think prompt engineers are going to be a position in companies. I think AI systems, like ChatGPT and cloud and Claude and all the other ones, are going to get so good at understanding what we’re asking for that

(37:42) you’re not going to need to be a prompt engineer to get amazing output from it right. So I think all of these companies that are going out and building Wrecks for prompt engineers and all of those roles will be replaced or eliminated within the next year. There’s my hot take for you. Yeah, I agree. And I think making a hot take on the technology is extremely hard. Because of that, I think the role that will emerge and the service that will emerge from agencies is one change

(38:16) management and two Innovation and security. And I put Innovation and security together because they have to go together. Maybe that’s totally biased of me, but you have to start getting smarter about what you’re building and that is going to require two big things. One, the strategy to see how the way we string our apps the output of the apps and the output of the data from the apps together to deliver something of tremendously unique value to our clients as agencies. We all have unique positions. We all have unique

(38:50) expertise and unique skills and when you take out the mundane work it opens up some space to start thinking about your own innovation and how you can start doing that so differently. Like I’m very sure Level is going to do that dramatically differently as a performance agency than Mod Op as a more creative, cross-channel marketing, PR, full-service. But what we have to look at in that full-service lens is what unique thing can we carve out across that entire landscape. And then for performance, I mean I feel like

(39:22) in your test-and-learn mindset, the possibilities are endless in testing. And maybe that’s too optimistic to advise, but you have to pair the innovation with the security and always be looking at testing. And then I think agencies will have like change management core expertise that you do for yourself and that you do for clients. Yeah I think that’s a huge takeaway for the audience here. In a world where you want to have AI as part of your process, what does

(39:55) that inherently mean. That means that data is now a core part of your process, and whenever you have data as a core part of your process, you need cyber security as part of your core process right. So  I think a lot of agencies, because again it is sometimes the wild wild west, and agencies don’t think about man do I need to hire a CTO right. Do I need to hire someone who actually is thinking through the risk mitigation and the change management, the cyber security and all of the things that need

(40:25) to happen versus probably what a lot of agencies are doing is like everyone just sign up for ChatGPT. Everything’s fine, like go do it right. And so like I think you’re going to start to see not just agencies, but every company, value more the data stack, the cyber security stack, the technology stack and how it all integrates together. Because every time you can stack another piece of technology, another piece of data, into this AI world that we live in you end up getting not just 2x the value it’s

(40:58) squared. The value is squared. It’s exponential. The value you start getting when you stack these things together. And then the risk goes up as well every time you stack that data together. And so I think it’s going to be really important for folks to understand cyber security and how things could be hacked and how things could be leaked. You know, we’ll see probably more and more of the leaks that we’ve seen over the past 10 years. We’re going to see them probably

(41:26) increase over the next year as people get burnt for not making that an important part of their strategic plan. So, I think that’s absolutely right Tessa. Absolutely. Well Tessa, again thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join me today. This was a really exciting conversation. I always loved to get in these AI conversations and hear Pat speak. And Tessa it was so great to meet you and hear some of your perspectives here. Thanks for all of you listening. Thanks for hanging out

(41:56) with us today. Until next time connect with us on LinkedIn, YouTube—where we’re always sharing awesome content around how to make your business grow smarter. How can people find you and follow what you guys are doing over at Mod Op. Yeah,  o my email is [email protected]. That’s M-O-D-O-P dot com.

(42:18) And then I’m on LinkedIn—Tessa Burg. I feel like there’s not too many of them, but it’s Tessa Fraser Burg if you come up first in the search. For sure check and then yeah visit modop.com. We also have a podcast which you’ll have to be the guest on—Leader Generation. And we cover lots of different things. But yeah, it was a joy being on this today. I had so much fun talking about what’s next in AI and ML for agencies. That’s awesome. And I do my  medium and hot takes over on X on the level if anyone wants to

(42:52) see how I make fun of AI and think about AI over on the X, formerly known as Twitter. Then, you know, we have a great team here as you guys do working our LinkedIn and our other platforms. So if you’re interested in any of this stuff, please reach out to Tessa, reach out to us. We’re, as you can tell, excited to talk about how this is changing and how we can be a part of that revolution. So Dale, thanks for having us. I appreciate it. Yes, thanks

(43:22) Dale. All right, see you everybody. Thanks.

Tessa Burg

Chief Technology Officer at Mod Op | Host of Leader Generation

Tessa has led both technology and marketing teams for 15+ years. She initiated and now leads Mod Op’s AI/ML Pilot Team, AI Council and Innovation Pipeline. Tessa started her career in IT and development before following her love for data and strategy into digital marketing. She has held roles on both the consulting and client sides of the business for domestic and international brands, including American Greetings, Amazon, Nestlé, Anlene, Moen and many more. Tessa can be reached on LinkedIn or at [email protected].