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Sebastian Jespersen

Sebastian Jespersen

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TRENDSETTERS: Sebastian Jespersen, CEO of Vertic, Advocates a New UN Sustainable Development Goal as a Marketer's Digital Responsibility

The Internationalist Trendsetters is written by Deborah Malone, founder of The Internationalist.

Sebastian Jespersen is an innovator, a business strategist, and a breakthrough digital thinker.  He has a provocative idea that involves our new digital world and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, it is an idea that puts marketers at the center and emphasizes how they can make a difference for a more meaningful and safe digital life.  

Most of us are familiar with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015.  At the core of the agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth-- all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. 

According to the UN Global Compact, more than 80% of its 9,500 corporate members have committed to advancing one or more of these goals.

It became clear to Sebastian Jespersen that as we live a digital-first, work-from-home world, not one of the 17 Sustainable Goals addresses a fair, more livable digital future for our fast-evolving world. In other words, he emphasizes, "Today, we don't go online, we live online." 

The statistics that prove this statement are remarkable: More than 4.5 billion people now use the internet, while social media users have passed the 3.8 billion mark. Nearly 60 percent of the world's population is already online, and the latest trends suggest that more than half of the world's total population will use social media by the middle of this year. According to Jespersen, "The average internet user now spends 6 hours and 54 minutes online each day. That equates to more than 100 days of connected time per internet user per year-- meaning we spend roughly 40 percent of our waking lives using the internet."

To hear more from Sebastian Jespersen, tune in to our Trendsetters podcast as he discusses the potential for a safe and meaningful digital life. CLICK HERE.

In our conversation, we discuss the following:

  • How the UN Sustainable Development goals are essential to business today.
  • While our technology-driven world is becoming more essential to human connections, as well as commerce, what are some of the challenges now and in the future? 
  • Is it possible to balance the benefits of fast-evolving technology with concerns like data privacy or even overexposure to digital advertising?
  • What is the vision for an 18th SDG?
  • How does this put marketers are the center?

Sebastian Jespersen was born in Denmark and founded the independent digital agency Vertic over a decade ago; today it has a footprint on three continents and serves some of the world's best-known global marketers and brands. Both a digital guru and evangelist, he has successfully taken a start-up from the birth of the online marketing era through to the advertising world's new internet playground. All while shepherding Vertic to extraordinary year-on-year growth and profitability.

Sebastian's pre-Vertic years as a management consultant in Europe and Asia underscore a multinational, analytical problem-solving vantage point, in contrast to common creative or technical leadership found at most ad agencies today. His interpretation of social business, data, targeting and the bridging of marketing to sales - as well as his revolutionary application of this understanding to new platforms like LinkedIn - makes him a leader in today's fast paced, complex marketing world.

His book on Entangled Marketing got published in the spring of 2016, and is co-authored with the 'Godfather of Direct Marketing', Stan Rapp, Co-Founder and CEO of Rapp & Collins and a young copywriter during the original Mad Men era.