Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Tom Goodwin

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Tom Goodwin is one of the most influential voices in marketing, with close to one million followers on LinkedIn. The Head of Innovation for Zenith Media, he speaks at events all over the world, writes a column for The Drum and is the author of Digital Darwinism.

Who is your digital hero?

Scott Galloway. It’s crucially important that we understand that many of the older, wiser, more experienced folk in the world are, unlike the common misconception, the best people to navigate the pre-digital and post-digital age.

Scott understands consumer behaviour, business models and what technology makes possible and I love the guidance he’s been able to give our industry.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

What’s interesting about Scott is that he’s probably the only thought leader in the marketing space that has the attention of really powerful people with significant budgets like CFOs and CEOs.

What he’s been able to do is bring about conversations in which the opportunities and challenges that digital affords have reached the right audience and have been brought to their attention by someone with extraordinary credibility.

What is the biggest challenge in digital we need another hero to solve?

How to monetise expensively produced and valuable content. Many of the woes of the world come down to the assumption that we should monetise content with our attention and with advertising.

Realistically this has led to all manner of problems that we’re only just beginning to understand, from fake news to ad fraud to crappy ads that aren’t considerate to your attention.

Pretty much everything comes down to the fact that quality content doesn’t make as much money through advertising as it should. I’m looking forward to solutions like subscriptions or even better micropayments or tokenised exchanges of value that help us consume a better diet of media in a way that works for everyone.

What’s your most heroic achievement in digital?

I believe that what I will achieve is much more significant than what I have achieved so far.

I think I’ve done a good job of asking the right questions and provoking debate but I don’t think I’ve done a good job of actually changing that much. At best I’ve created an environment in which people will be receptive to the sort of conversations I want to have in the future.

I’m glad I’ve brought about an inflexion point in the industry’s understanding of digital but I’d like to build things on top of that now.