Jeremy Waite | The Innovator 25

Jeremy Waite

The Innovator 25: Jeremy Waite

Head of Digital Strategy, EMEA, Salesforce


Influence & Engagement

"Take at least 4 hours each week and go to a place you love with no laptop, tablet or mobile. Only a pen and a notebook. Good things will happen"
Waite has carved out a reputation as one of the region's foremost digital marketing evangelists, having owned an agency before serving in senior digital roles at Phones4u, Adobe and — since 2014 — Salesforce. His focus on purpose-driven brands and digital transformation have seen him work on successful programmes for a range of brands, all of which has enabled him to build significant expertise in customer journeys, the Internet of Things, loyalty, business strategy, social business, measurement and big data.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Data management. More than planning and analytics. Brands and scientists trying to make sense of 'big data.'

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
Lagging other industries.

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Measurement. Historically terrible at measuring important stuff in a way that non-PR people care about.

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
Should be the CEO. CEO influences and gives total free reign to be innovative. CMO figures out what that looks like.

How do you define innovation?
Working with something that has already need invented, and evolving it into something that changes people's behaviours. An invention is a thing. An innovation changes the way people use that thing. Many inventions failed originally. Innovators took them to market and made them work commercially in a way that impacted peoples lives. Edison did not invent the light bulb. But he innovated it enough to change the world.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
None have been particularly memorable. Which either says a lot about the industry, me or about the way that the sheer volume of content is making us numb to it all. I did like the Facebook outdoor brand awareness campaign 'Friends'.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Salesforce. Adobe. Tesla. Red Bull. Burberry. Apple. TOMS. Virgin. The usual suspects are still the best....

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
Deciding to leave Adobe and join Salesforce.

Who is your mentor and why?
Living: John C. Maxwell. Dead: Dale Carnegie. Both inspire me to do more. And reach a little bit higher. Terrible cliche. I do apologise.

How do you get inspired?
Read a lot. At least one book a week. One hour a day reading news sites, Twitter and ideapod. Watch lots of TED talks. I carry a notebook everywhere and I write to try to make sense of all the stuff I see.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
Take at least 4 hours each week (everyone can find 4 hours from somewhere) and go to a place you love with no laptop, tablet or mobile. Only a pen and a notebook. Good things will happen.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
Dreamforce. (Used to be SXSW).

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
6am. Best time to think while I'm riding my bike.