Introducing… James Dodge, Senior Partner

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James discusses how we’re innovating with gen AI, his admiration for Dr Andrew Ng, and how retailers can accelerate growth with retail media.

You lead innovation for Gain Theory. What are some of the exciting things you are working on currently?

My career has been focused on helping clients to find the insights that drive their business through data, analytics, and technology. Broadly speaking, gen AI is the latest and greatest tool that enables us to do this and I’m loving every minute of exploring how we can apply it to benefit our clients.  

We’ve learned so much in a relatively short space of time about how it can help to solve some of the marketing challenges companies face. 

Gen AI has an incredible capacity to improve how we structure data by ingesting, understanding and aligning it more efficiently, for example. As well as having an ability to tame the growing volume and variety of data, it can also help to make it more useful. 

One of the most exciting things we’re working on is a pilot project that uses gen AI to determine the effectiveness of advertising creative, as measured by in-market results. Specifically, Gen AI is helping us to understand why a creative performs well and how it can be optimized to accelerate growth.

AI is such a fast-moving space. How do you keep up with what’s going on?

I’m a big fan of Dr Andrew Ng, one of the global leaders in AI. I trust his content and rely on his thoughtfulness. I also follow DeepLearning.AI – a company Ng founded that offers education and training on all aspects of AI. I highly recommend it as it’s a phenomenal resource. 

You also work closely with many of our retail clients. What are some of the challenges that this sector is dealing with currently?

I think all retailers have a core set of challenges: the need for speed, intense competitive and pricing pressure, the “live or die” strategic imperative of choosing your value proposition and then executing it flawlessly for the customers you want to serve. The availability and cost of labor is always an issue too. But perhaps the hottest topic right now is optimizing retail media to drive conversion.  

How can retailers make a success of retail media?

Retail media offers retailers an opportunity to accelerate growth by capitalizing on their existing first-party data assets and by creating new revenue streams. But there’s a common misconception that retail media cannot be measured using the tools available today. This is not the case, however, as Sensor – Gain Theory’s award-winning solution that provides granular marketing insights at speed – can evaluate how retail media performs against all the other above- and below-the-line spend in terms of sales. Insights generated using this approach can then be used to optimize advertising. 

Contact James to discuss any of the issues raised in this Q&A.

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