The digital industry’s not really about technology, it’s about people. The digital economy is supported by technology but is conceived, created and developed by people, the heroes of digital.
But who are their heroes? Who inspired, supported and taught them along their journey and to become digital heroes?
We want to find out. So, we’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them. And, in return, we’ll be asking the nominated hero to choose their own, creating a never-ending celebration of the most respected people in digital.
Pete Markey is a true digital hero. He’s never claimed a ‘digital’ title but has instead long blazed a trail for the necessity of CMOs to be fully data and digital literate. Appointed as CMO at TSB Bank in August last year, he’s previously held CMO roles at the Post Office and RSA Insurance on top of a long awards-strewn marketing career.
Who is your digital hero?
Dan White, the founder and CEO of Ninety Consulting. Ninety is an innovation agency which mainly works in the insurance and FS sector helping brands with everything from improving customer journeys to developing brave new digital propositions.
It works with an enviable list of clients including Hiscox, AXA and Zurich. I have known and worked with Dan since my days in MORE TH>N when he worked directly for me running our E-Business team at a time of critical online growth for the business.
What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?
As well as setting a high bar for excellent work that has helped to transform in my view the insurance industry’s view on best in class, the model of Ninety itself merits hero status. The company name means that they give 90% of their profits to charity with a vision to generate >$1bn for charitable grants and investment over a 30-year period.
They seek to bring together good business and social change. So not only do they do really good work, they exist to do good — so far thanks to Ninety, 40,000 people now have access to safe water and 23,000 books have been shipped to libraries and schools in Africa. The business is doing so well they recently opened an office in New York.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
For me digital has always been about positive disruption and change. Dan and the Ninety team do all of that with their excellence in their core trade but more importantly they do that with a higher, braver purpose in mind and that is to use the bulk of the money they make to change society for the better.
What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
I think AI presents enormous opportunities especially in the insurance space and brands like Lemonade have done much here. I think the next hero will bridge the gap between this emerging technology and thinking to drive demonstrable and positive change on behalf of the consumer and the industry.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I helped to introduce one of the first ever “live chat” offerings on the MORE TH>N website which helped to drive a 20%+ uplift in sales and record customer satisfaction scores. We faced huge challenges to get the technology deployed and to prove the investment case, but it was worth it and the industry followed us soon after!