Sebastian Jespersen has made a name for himself in the digital marketing sphere due to his creative mind and entrepreneurial acumen. The CEO of Vertic is on the forefront of digital marketing and has built an extremely successful brand which works with major companies from around the globe.
Since 2002, Jespersen has overseen Vertic and its steady growth. Vertic has created digital strategies for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Jespersen continues to oversee incredible success at Vertic, but the entrepreneur has also moved into the world of writing to share his knowledge and experiences. He authored a book The battle for Share of Life and plans to write more in the future about the digital marketing world.
Jespersen recently spoke about his career, Vertic, and a Share of Life.
Sebastian, Vertic was founded in 2002 and it has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies. Can you tell us about the company and its nearly two decades of being in business?
Vertic is a strategic digital agency transforming how brands connect with customers. Today, people no longer go online. They live there. Based on this new reality, Vertic has emerged as one of the thought leaders and marketing dynamos of this radical new way of life. We are helping brands form deeper and lasting connections with their customers. We define this as Share of Life™.
How was Vertic created and how did you come up with the concept for the business?
I founded the company after years in management consulting and strategic consulting. I was tired of creating a PowerPoint presentation that painted a strategy direction but that were not ultimately executed upon, so decided – with the fact that the best channel for executing would be the digital one moving forward – to set up Vertic as a means of aligning or working towards that business strategy and executing on it.
Vertic operates on three continents and has a host of clients. Can you tell us about the growth of Vertic and how it serves clients?
We’ve grown organically year on year. We serve clients as a holistic agency across offices. Most global agencies’ local offices operate within their own P&L and have their own clients. Vertic, on the other hand, works as one organization, with one P&L, and assigning our subject matter experts to the appropriate projects.
How has digital advertising changed since Vertic started?
For the past decade, marketers have been investing heavily in shiny objects like social media, because it was a means for engaging customers. Today, we have moved past engagement to the age of entanglement. With the amount of data that brands have today, it is imperative that they achieve zero degrees of separation with their customers, and consequently use that intimacy to create relevant and tailored experiences for each individual. That’s how brands can entangle with their customers.
Where do you see digital advertising going in the future?
The future of marketing is Share of Life; this is a model that I have co-created with the marketing legend Stan Rapp (founder of Rapp Collins and the godfather of 1 to 1 marketing). Share of Life is the new interconnection between brand and customer.
As we no longer go online, we live online, Share of Life presents a new set of imperatives for dealing with this life-changing moment, and provides brands with a model on how to embed themselves into customer’s digitized lives.
Can you tell us about digital transformation and what it can do for companies?
Today, every company must think of itself as digital to some extent. As we are living online, we are making the most of our decisions online. In fact, Forrester reported that 67% of the customer decision journey is now digital, meaning companies must revisit their digital capabilities and channels because that is where they are connecting with customers, career seekers, investors etc.
People should not think of digital transformation as the technology shift but more the mindset shift. What can digital means do to provide a better experience for my customers, how can it retain my employees, and how can it make my company more operationally efficient.
What is the secret behind a great dot com website? And how do you build great websites for leading brands such as GE?
The new GE.com re-imagined the role and experience of a corporate website. As GE was transforming from an industrial company to a technology one, they needed their corporate website, the front door to any brand, to tell that transformation story, and at the same time make it easy for their customers, investors and career seekers to do business with them. The simplicity behind creating GE.com is one of the three critical elements in creating a successful dot com website. The second one is taking a ‘segment of one’ approach, where you are creating individualized experiences for different users. And the third one we touched on earlier is entanglement; ensuring the content speaks to what the customer cares about and provides them with value adding experiences beyond just a transaction.
Sebastian, you wrote a book not long ago. Can you tell us about your first published piece of work?
The book is called The battle for Share of Life. We talked about Share of Life earlier as the new metric that brands are measuring both marketing and business success against. The four brands who have mastered Share of Life are; Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon. They have integrated themselves so deeply in our lives, that it is difficult to imagine a single day without them. A pre-read of the book can be found on https://www.vertic.com/share-of-life.
What is the future of Vertic and yourself? Is there a new book in the work?
The future of Vertic is exciting. We have been growing. We bring in new and exciting clients, which keep requiring new and the brightest talent. I see the future for Vertic really acting as a true extension of the marketing team at our clients – providing ‘marketing as a service’ to stay on top of the most important trends and delivering commercial excellence and operational excellence to drive tangible business impact.
Stan and I will definitely be writing more. Post Share of Life, we are working on a new piece of work, around the ‘operating system’. I will not give away too many spoilers, but the operating system will be one of the most critical decisions people make in the future.
What makes you smile?
Family, friends and Vertic employees telling me that the time they spend at Vertic is meaningful and creating a positive impact on their lives.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
For one, I’d help people experience as much meaningfulness their lives as possible. Coming from Denmark, a country that has so often scored highly for ‘happy people’, I feel that providing meaning to the world would be a great thing. It goes beyond moments of ‘happiness’ or ‘satisfaction’ to something that is a lot deeper and long term.
For more information on Sebastian Jeperson and Vertic, please visit https://insights.vertic.com/
Journalist and author. Contributor