The 15 marketers you need to follow: from the emerging to the legends
It’s been interesting watching the marketing field shift and evolve over the years. Of course, the overarching goal of marketing has always been and always will be to build brand awareness and get new customers in the door. But the strategies used to meet those goals are constantly changing with the evolution of customer needs, new technology and ideas from today’s and tomorrow’s brightest marketers.
Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed shifts such as the decline of direct mailers and the rise of content marketing. Social media is no longer a nice-to-have, but a necessity for customer support and loyalty. Community has become synonymous with marketing and marketers are expected to have at least basic knowledge of SEO and acquisition strategies. Then there’s the introduction of growth hacking into the mix. The rise of the full-stack marketer is here, which means it’s up to us to keep up with and educated on these trends.
One effective way to keep up is to follow the people leading in the space. That doesn’t necessarily mean the loudest in the industry either. Today, experts – influencers and newbies – are easier than ever to follow, get to know and build relationships with. Here are 15 marketers that should be on your radar for industry trends, knowledge and resources.
1) Seth Godin
No list of top marketers would be complete without Seth Godin. I love Seth’s authentic, this-is-how-it-is approach to his writing, speaking and interviews. In many ways, he’s defined what marketing is today and has paved the way for so many to follow. He’s chosen to not have a Twitter presence because he feels it’s a waste of time for him personally, but you can follow along on his blog where he shares insights – both short and long – on all things marketing, management, customer behavior, tribes and more.
2) Rand Fishkin
As the founder of the infamous Moz, Rand Fishkin is the go-to guy (other than maybe Matt Cutts) for all things SEO and optimization. He’s also a great resource for other aspects of marketing, including content and influencer marketing. His Whiteboard Friday series are informative and entertaining — I highly suggest giving a few a listen and jotting down your key take-aways. His mustache is pretty rad too. He has also made himself very accessible when it comes to sharing tips and tactics, which is pretty incredible.
3) Jay Baer
Social media expert, New York Times best seller and President of Convince & Convert, Jay Baer, Jay is one of the leading voices in marketing, especially all things social media and influence marketing. I had a really great video interview with him one time where we discussed all things social media trends, online influence, the roles of agencies and marketplaces in the future. Jay is also an investor in CloudPeeps!
4) Ann Handley
As the Head of Content at MarketingProfs and author of the WSJ bestseller, Everybody Writes, Ann Handley is a renowned content marketer and a great speaker. Ann gave one of my favorite talks on content of all time in June of 2014 at a Kapost’s Content.NYC event. Although I don’t totally remember the key take-aways from over a year ago, I do remember how engaging and funny she was. Her “I’m a writer first, marketer second” approach to content marketing is a refreshing take that prioritizes content.
5) Noah Kagan
The ultimate optimizer, Noah Kagan was employee #30 at Facebook and #4 at Mint. Today, he teaches readers how to be better marketers, entrepreneurs and versions of themselves on his popular blog, OK Dork. He’s also founder and CEO of AppSumo and SumoMe where he and his team build tools that help entrepreneurs be better marketers. Noah’s tips, tactics and writing tend to focus on anything from marketing to sales, conversions to being a better leader, and are always extremely to-the-point and actionable. He’s also big into tacos. If you buy him a taco, he’ll love you forever.
6) Joanna Lord
Joanna Lord is currently the VP of Marketing at Porch, a tech advisor and a blogger. Having previously worked with Moz and Big Door, her passion is helping companies growth. I’m a big fan of Joanna’s authentic writing style. On her blog, she talks about marketing, entrepreneurship, wanderlust and fashion. Follow her at @joannalord for her reflections on marketing, growth and her travels.
6) Steli Efti
The CEO of Close.io, Steli Efti is a charismatic character and a genius marketer. He doesn’t hold back when speaking his mind or providing advice. In fact, there’s even a reel of him dropping f-bombs at speaking engagements. 🙂 When not cursing, he’s providing advice on how to get customers through the funnel and close leads. Check out the Close.io blog for his energetic videos sharing all his marketing know-how.
7) Antonio J Lucio
Previously with Visa, Antonio J Lucio is now the global CMO of HP. He’s known for leading these corporations’ marketing efforts into digital age of marketing. He’s known for his thought leadership in all things marketing.
8) Amy Vernon
Once a journalist, Amy Vernon is the Co-founder and CMO of Predictable.ly, a platform that drives what content will drive the most traffic. She’s known for her expertise in social and content marketing and has spoken at leading events, including SMX East, Ignite and more.
9) Oli Gardner
The Founder of Unbounce, Oli Gardner is another conversion hero, especially pertaining to landing pages. I’ve seen him speak and he’s another one of those pros who gives away all of his best secrets. Follow him for entertaining insights on data, optimization, conversions and beautifully simple landing pages.
10) Dennis Goedegebuure
Dennis Goedegebuure used to be the head of global SEO at Airbnb, and before that was at eBay. Now he is VP of Growth and SEO at Fanatics. Not only does he share awesome insights on technical areas of SEO such as retargeting at speaking engagements and on his blog, he also shares fun travel and photography experiences. It’s been years since I’ve seen Dennis speak (Airbnb was pretty new), but I remember him wearing really cool white shoes.
11) Neil Patel
The Co-Founder of KISSmetrics and Crazyegg, Neil Patel is an analytics legend, helping companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. Check out his blog, Quicksprout for his tips, tactics and thoughts on analytics, SEO, copywriting and more.
12) Beth Comstock
Beth Comstock is the CMO at GE, where she gets to explore and implement new, innovative ideas at the intersection of technology and design. At GE, she is responsible for accelerating growth from new businesses, intensifying commercial impact, increasing brand value and working with partners who enhance GE’s inventive culture. She previously led digital media efforts at NBC Universal, where she oversaw the early development of Hulu.
13) Jascha Kaykas-Wolff
Now the CMO of Mozilla, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff was previously CMO for BitTorrent and Mindjet. He also wrote Growing Up Fast with Kevin Fann in August 2014 and launched Growthverse with Kobie Fuller in June 2015. His expertise spans across product positioning, marketing strategy, marketing technology, demand creation, brand building and more.
14) Kira Wampler
We love Lyft at CloudPeeps, not just as a product and service, but as a company. Kira Wampler is the CMO at Lyft where she’s lead brand strategy, growth, communications and consumer engagement efforts, building a trusted and strong band presence and positioning Lyft as a leader in the sharing economy.
15) Jonathan Mildenhall
Previously with Coca-Cola, Jonathan Mildenhall is the CMO for Airbnb, where his job is to help create the world’s first community driven super brand. As his Twitter bio says, he believes “that a world full of greater humanity and creativity is a better world for all. Airbnb fuels both.”
These marketers have paved the way for us today. It makes our job as today’s marketers, content and community people fun to be able to take their lessons and experiences and make them our own, tweaking and innovating on them. Who do you follow for marketing inspiration that should be added to this list? Share them in the comments below!
Photo credit: The featured photo of this post was taken by Bill Wadman from ontakingpictures.com.
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