Augie Ray

Who is Augie Ray?


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Customer Experience, Voice of Customer, Social Media, Social Media & Digital Marketing professional, living in NYC area. Formerly from San Antonian & San Francisco, but my hometown is Milwaukee.

Professional:  I am Research Director covering Customer Experience for Marketing Leaders at Gartner.

Previously, I was a director of Customer Experience Action on the Voice of Customer team at American Express, the Director of Social Media Strategy at Prudential Financial, and Executive Director of Community and Collaboration at USAA. At Amex, I managed a global team to provide customer experience service and support to leaders. At USAA, my team was responsible for coordinating and guiding USAA's social media and social business efforts. USAA has a well-earned reputation for member advocacy and has the highest Net Promoter Score of any company in the US.

Prior to joining USAA, I was Sr. Analyst in Social Media Marketing at Forrester. I covered all things social media marketing--Measurement/ROI, social media strategy, organizing for social media, community platforms, privacy issues, Twitter, Facebook and more. I also consulted with Fortune 500 clients, helping them to understand the social and interactive behaviors of their audiences and build effective objective-oriented digital marketing strategies.

Before Forrester, I had more than a decade of experience in interactive and social media marketing. During this period, I was a Managing Director at Fullhouse, a mid-sized agency in Milwaukee, and Director of Interactive Marketing at Funjet, a leisure travel brand.

I currently blog at http://ExperienceTheBlog.com, although while I worked at Forrester I contributed to the company's blog at http://blogs.forrester.com/Augie_Ray. And today, I author content at Gartner's blog at http://blogs.gartner.com/augie-ray/

I love my career and the ways in which Mobile, Digital and Social Media are changing the way brands are built and fostered.  My focus is on the ways Word of Mouth, Adovcacy and Loyatly are essential to the modern customer journey. I enjoy cutting through the hype to help clients and peers understand the real opportunities (and challenges) presented by evolving marketing technology,  relationship marketing concepts and evolving social business opportunities. I have a passion for understanding the ways in which people interact with each other and with brands, and I value positive collaborative working relationships and environments.

Personal:  I grew up in Greendale, WI where I met my future wife, Geri, in the high school orchestra.  We went our first date in 1979 and married in 1984. 

I was managing a customer service division at Northwestern Mutual when the Internet went public and immediately saw the potential.  I began to play with the Internet as a hobby and put effort into developing my own Disney fan site.  It became quite huge and got a fair bit of traffic.  In fact, my sites received so much attention that Disney invited Geri and me down to the Disney World 25th Anniversary celebration as "Super Fans." 

Quickly, the Internet changed from hobby to career. Within a few years, I had a full-time Web position at Northwestern Mutual and soon after joined early digital marketing agencies. As the Internet became increasingly social, I began to shift my focus from interactive marketing to social media and the many ways it is changing the way we communicate, form relationships, conduct business, make decisions and live.

In the late 90s, Geri and I made a big change. We saved a cat that was living on the street, and Sassy changed my life and altered the way I think about animals. In fact, our love of animals led us to open a business. For seven years, my wife and I ran an online and real world pet boutique called Metropawlis.  Sassy passed away and we sold our business when we made the move from Milwaukee to San Francisco. We now have two great new feline companions, Turtle and Isabella.

Geri and I were lifelong Milwaukeans, but with each passing year we had a yearning to experience something different than Milwaukee.  Don't get me wrong--Milwaukee is a delightful city--but we decided to expand our horizons.  We first moved to San Francisco when I landed the job with Forrester.  We loved the Bay Area, but when the opportunity at USAA developed, we decided to make the move to Texas.  In March 2011, Geri and I became San Antonians, but while I loved USAA, we found we missed living in a bustling, diverse, urban city, so in August 2012, we moved to Jersey City, just outside New York City (and we love it.) 

Life is good. There are still chapters to be written.  


About Augie Ray

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  • Place Lived: Stadtilm - Sachsen - Germany New York. NY
  • School: UWM, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Greendale High School, Highland View, Ambruster, College Park
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