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AI and Marketing: An Interview with Ron Callis on the Social Media Examiner


The esteemed Marketing Agency Show (from Social Media Examiner) podcast host Brooke Sellas interviewed Ron Callis, CEO of One Firefly. Titled "Using AI Technologies in Your Marketing Agency," this insightful interview took place virtually in May 2023. Brooke and Ron explore the transformative role of AI in shaping the future of marketing agencies. The interview's overarching purpose was to share One Firefly’s view on AI in the workplace and within the realm of marketing agencies and to unveil the innovative ways One Firefly is harnessing AI to elevate the quality and efficiency of its products and services.


Q: What catalyst made you decide to start One Firefly? 

Ron Callis: My journey in the industry has been unique compared to most. I started an engineering business 16 years ago, providing outsourced engineering services to the industry that I just randomly, with fate or luck, landed out of college in 2000, and that's serving these businesses. We call them integration firms, but they're the companies that put technology in luxury residential; think of home theaters or audio out by your pool. On the commercial side, consider all the technology in a boardroom or an office building. 

I quickly had to build a marketing capability to help the customers I was selling engineering to. I needed to help them better brand and market themselves so they could successfully sell my engineering services. Fast forward to late 2015, I entirely pivoted out of engineering and programming, and we doubled down on marketing. Today, our firm has grown to include over 80 dedicated team members, all driven to support and empower our clients' success in the industry.


Q: How has AI impacted One Firefly’s business? 

Ron Callis: Anyone who claims to know the answer to that question is probably fooling themselves. AI is a profound invention for humankind. I recently heard it was one of the most important inventions since fire. 

Here at One Firefly, we operate within a management structure called EOS, the Entrepreneur Operating System, which means I have a leadership team. When Chat GPT gained attention, I immediately discussed it with my leadership team. The AI landscape is growing exponentially, and it's hard to predict its long-term implications beyond a year. To prepare our team, I encouraged them to stay informed by consuming AI-related content from various sources.

At One Firefly, we see two primary applications for AI. First, it enables us to deliver a better product and enhance the client experience. Our mission is to help technology companies grow, and AI provides powerful tools to achieve that goal. Combining human expertise with AI capabilities can lead to superior results compared to either alone.

Integrating AI may affect our product offerings, pricing, and overall profitability. However, it's an exciting journey that will lead to improved quality and service execution for our clients. AI is a game-changer, and we are committed to harnessing its potential to drive success for our clients and our business.


Q: How is One Firefly implementing AI into its business?

Ron Callis: Adopting AI technologies has led us to slow down our hiring expectations for this year. AI is a deflationary technology, meaning it can reduce the need for additional manpower by improving efficiency. We've evaluated its effect across all teams, products, and processes for client delivery and our internal marketing tactics.

As a business, our primary focus is on maintaining profitability. We carefully consider our products and services, the balance between projects and recurring services, and our gross margins to ensure we can deliver quality offerings effectively. Over the past several months, we've incorporated various AI tools, including Chat GPT and Grammarly, to enhance different aspects of our business, such as content creation, ideation, and research.

Our evaluation period has shown promising results, as we've delivered the same quality content in less time using AI-driven practices. This increased efficiency eliminates the need for price increases, and in some cases, it allows us to lower prices without compromising our margins.


Q: Do you forecast how AI will save your company money?

Ron Callis: At One Firefly, we're gradually approaching, following the crawl, walk, run philosophy. Our primary focus is running an exceptional business that serves our clients and delivers outstanding results. Our people and culture are essential to our success, and we prioritize keeping our talented team members on board.

AI presents exciting opportunities to enhance product quality, improve efficiency, and automate various tasks within the business. It's a technological evolution that tends to be deflationary, meaning it can reduce the need for as many employees to achieve the same or better outcomes. While we embrace AI's potential, we also recognize the need to remain valuable and meaningful to current and potential clients.

As we introduce AI technologies, we expect to become more efficient rapidly. While this is positive for our business, it may mean that we won't need to hire as many new team members to meet the demands of incoming clients. Our commitment remains to run a great company, ensuring our team feels proud, prosperous, and connected while staying at the forefront of AI adoption in the marketing industry.


Q: Are you open to sharing how your team has felt about AI? I'm sure some people were scared of change. 

Ron Callis: As a business leader, incorporating AI technologies brings excitement and terror. When faced with such transformative advancements, feeling a mix of emotions is natural. At One Firefly, I take my role as a visionary seriously, constantly looking into the future to create a clear path for our company's growth and success.

We operate in a meritocracy, where the best ideas take precedence, regardless of where they originate within the organization. All team members are encouraged to voice their opinions and contribute to our collective growth. In our meetings, we use an EOS term called L-10s, where everyone can freely raise their concerns, questions, and ideas.

Witnessing how AI adoption has already impacted our team positively is incredible. For instance, our office manager, Sherri, swiftly embraced Chat GPT and integrated it into her daily workflow. The technology has empowered her to be more productive and deliver higher-quality support to our team and clients.

While AI introduces some uncertainties, we embrace it as an opportunity to evolve and improve. We recognize the importance of staying at the forefront of technology and leveraging AI to enhance our products and services while maintaining a safe and innovative environment for our team members to thrive.



One Firefly's approach to AI integration exemplifies its commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions without compromising its core values. Throughout the interview, it became clear that AI is not merely a passing trend or a futuristic concept; it is the present reality that shapes how businesses operate and connect with their audiences.

Are you intrigued by the topics covered in this Q&A-style blog and eager to delve even deeper into the conversation? Look no further! Listen to the complete podcast episode here.

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