100 Top Digital Marketing Influencers And Brands

Michael Brenner on May 4, 2016 in Content Marketing

New technologies and social media in the last two decades have fundamentally changed the way consumers think, behave and engage with brands. While traditional marketing models are still applicable, marketers today are learning a whole new set of digital marketing skills and strategies to better connect with consumers.

It’s no surprise then that digital marketing spending is forecasted to account for at least 35% of total marketing budget this year, and is predicted to grow another 12% next year. This increase in digital marketing investment has created a surge in demand for digital marketers. These digital marketers are marketing nerds who are obsessed with analytics and big data, but are also highly creative and skilled in everything from copy writing to graphic design, photography and videography.

If you are a digital marketer or aspire to become one, what are some of the top digital marketing trends or ideas you’ll need to know this year? Onalytica asked seven of the influencers identified in their Top 100 Influencers And Brands research to share their views, check out what they have to say! In full disclosure, I was identified as one of the influencers and was asked to share my opinion on the topic. You can find last year’s list here and 2014 list here.

What The Experts Are Saying About Digital Marketing

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Jeff BullasJeff Bullas – CEO at Jeffbullas.com Pty Ltd

“There is an elephant in the room for many digital marketers. They love the vanity metrics of traffic, social media sharing and follower growth. They are hooked on the engagement and feedback that cool content provides to the brand. But they often don’t work on the last few hard yards. It isn’t seen as sexy and it can be boring. It’s converting that traffic and engagement into leads and sales. It’s is time for many social media and content marketers to grow up”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Sam HurleySam Hurley, Founder of OPTIM-EYEZ

“This saturated, fast-paced digital world in which we live can seem overwhelming for business owners and marketers alike. Aside from the sheer amount of information and data we force ourselves to consume each and every day, there’s one precious unit of measurement which we most commonly neglect. Time. To become a successful business owner, brand, solopreneur, marketer… you have to become a master of time. Digital marketing is evolving at incredible rates, which only feeds our fixation with shiny new objects such as virtual reality and the newest social media platforms. My advice for this year onward? Focus your time and energy into 3 key revenue generators which suit your business model (and you!). Become exceptional at nurturing these generators and don’t veer off course. Take heed of the new digital trends and adapt, but don’t divert. For these 3 revenue generators, funnel effort into 3 primary traffic channels (paid, owned and earned) that will gain qualified exposure for your business — exposure that converts into sales. That’s all! Test what works and stick with it. Don’t waste your time being a jack of all trades. Finally; build relationships, be yourself and push your name through social media. I cannot express enough how important this is. Personal branding is absolutely critical for trust, credibility and inbound leads. Spend time on yourself and everything else will follow. Seriously, I’m living proof of this methodology. I’ve never had to advertise to attract my own clients. My website isn’t even live yet! If this seems crazy to you, it’s time to alter your approach to business. Concepts of marketing will always remain unchanged. It’s only the tools, buzzwords and technologies that form and shift around us…don’t be dazzled by them. Digital marketing is fun. Profit as a result (and your continued sanity) is better.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder of WordStream

“We’ve reached peak social – a point at which the signal to noise ratio of social updates is unsustainable – companies, Individuals and automated tools are cranking out so many social updates that post engagement rate is getting crushed. At the same time, the social platforms are obviously looking to monetize their platforms with an increasing number of ads, which further diminishes organic visibility. As more content and ads floods social networks, the slice of engagement for the average brand must shrink because there’s only a finite amount of content consumption and engagement to be had. Social platforms are responding by creating and refining curated user timelines, and only the top brands with the most engaging content will survive.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Rand FishkinRand Fishkin – Founder of Moz

“Adblocking was part of a huge conversation in 2015, and my guess is that the reaction to this growing technology is going to mimic how entrenched players have reacted to technology leaps in the past — by trying to legislate it away. I anticipate that in either the US or the EU, some form of government action will arise (in the US, most likely due to lobbying AKA our legalized system of bribery) to “protect the interests of publishers and journalists who serve the public good.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Evan DunnEvan Dunn – Digital Marketing Practice Lead at Transform

“The digital media landscape is complex. With new channels, media and technology popping up every month, it’s only getting more complex. The most critical component of success in today’s marketing universe is a cohesive strategy – a theoretical framework that makes sense of every marketing activity executed by your brand, and provides an architecture for measurement and optimization of every activity. After all, if you’re not sure whether an activity is driving ROI, is it really worth doing? Today’s marketing, whether online or off, must be a scientific art (or an artistic science, either one). It can no longer be gut-driven, dominated by creative, and powered by trendy jargon. Measurement, analytics, statistics, quantification, optimization – these are the stuff of proven strategies. Don’t be distracted by flashy ad-tech, although it is sometimes useful. If your digital marketing objective is growing numbers (customers, sales), then your means of accomplishing it must be by analyzing the numbers. Quantitative Marketing is the future of all forms of marketing, including digital.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Michael BrennerMichael Brenner CEO of Marketing Insider Group

“10 years ago, you would have found it difficult to find anything labeled “Digital Marketing” on the job boards or even listed in the descriptions for openings companies were trying to fill. Now, Digital Marketing is the hottest job title in all of marketing. Digital marketing skills are in such high demand because we understand how to market to today’s always-connected, multi-device consumer. The top digital marketers today combine right and left-brain talents. We are one part content marketers, editors and writers, who understand how to create the kind of content that people actually want to read and share. On the other hand, we are also one part data nerds, who understand how to analyze all the information available to us as we continuously create and promote content across email, search, social and even offline platforms. Today’s digital marketer knows how to reach, engage, and convert new customers for our businesses. We defy the old notion that marketing can’t be measured. Because we’re doing it every day.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Michael J. SchiemerMichael J. Schiemer – Founder at Schiemer Consulting

“In today’s ultra-competitive digital marketing landscape, differentiating your company from the competition is paramount. There are too many generic or mediocre digital marketers and digital marketing agencies out there that won’t stand the test of time. Other more established marketers will rest on their laurels, fail to adapt, and become obsolete in a short period of time. I think all digital marketers and agencies should ask themselves three questions: How are you going above and beyond for your clients? What value do you bring to the table that they can’t get anywhere else? What prevents your services from being outsourced or replaced by a few inexpensive software programs? If you can’t answer those questions quickly and confidently, then you need to step up your efforts or find a new industry.”

Top 100 Individuals

Here are the top 50 individuals Onalytica identified as the most influential in the digital marketing landscape. Be sure to click on the download button below to see the complete list.

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RankTwitter HandleNameCompanyInfluencer Score
1@jeffbullasJeff BullasJeffbullas.com44.13
2@Sam___HurleySam HurleyOPTIM-EYEZ38.2
3@MarketingProfsAnn HandleyMarketingProfs31.99
4@AshleyFriedleinAshley FriedleinEconsultancy28.46
5@Rocco_Zebra_AdvRocco BaldassarreZebra Advertisement27.97
6@iMariaJohnsenMaria JohnsenGolden Way Media26.57
7@larrykimLarry KimWordstream21.45
8@randfishRand FishkinMoz21.07
9@PamMktgNutPam MooreMarketing Nutz18.67
10@leeoddenLee OddenTop Rank Marketing16.82
11@acfrankAndrew FrankGartner for Marketing15.73
12@dknowlton1Daniel KnowltonKPS DigitalMarketing13.62
13@DioFavatasDio FavatasTruth Initiative13.08
14@evanpdunnEvan DunnTransform12.53
15@BrennerMichaelMichael BrennerMarketing Insider Group12.43
16@adamwoodsausAdam WoodsReed Exhibitions12.37
17@WBB_13Brent BouldinBank of America11.47
18@jaybaerJay BaerConvince & Convert10.41
19@davidbnzDavid BellUniversity of Pennsylvania10.32
20@DaveChaffeyDr Dave ChaffeySmart Insights10.24
21@chuckaikensChuck AikensVolume Nine10.18
22@JenPolk1Jennifer PolkGartner9.92
23@AlexTachalovaAlexandra Tachalovaalextachalova.com9.76
24@ajalumnifyAJ AgrawalAlumnify9.6
25@MikeSchiemerMichael J. SchiemerColbea9.23
26@jeremywaiteJeremy ☁️Colbea Enterprises9.18
27@azeckmanAshley ZeckmanTop Rank Marketing8.4
28@MariSmithMari Smithmarismith.com8.18
29@MelonieDodaroMelonie DodaroTop Dog Social Media8.11
30@augierayAugie RayGartner for Marketers8
31@krbenedictKevin R BenedictCognizant7.93
32@SimonYatesSimon YatesGartner for Marketers7.82
33@NealSchafferNeal SchafferMaximize Your Social7.58
34@Matt_UmbroMatthew UmbroPPCChat7.35
35@markwschaeferMark SchaeferSchaefer Marketing Solutions7.21
36@FeldmanCreativeBarry FeldmanFeldman Creative7.1
37@BrianHughes116Brian HughesIntegrity Marketing6.76
38@ItsDUHniseJenise HenriksonSearch Engine Journal6.64
39@DanScalcoDan Scalcodigitalux6.62
40@neilpatelNeil PatelCrazy Egg6.59
41@martykihnMartin KihnGartner6.47
42@MarketingLetterDr. Angela HausmanHausman and Associates6.41
43@lacostejonathanJonathan LacosteJebbit6.37
44@crestodinaAndy CrestodinaOrbit Media6.29
45@markfidelmanMark FidelmanEvolve!6.2
46@marktraphagenMark TraphagenStone Temple Consulting6.06
47@jacobvarJacob Varghesejacobv.com6.01
48@marcusbowlerhatMarcus MillerBowler Hat5.89
49@CynthiaLIVECynthia JohnsonAmerican Addiction Centers,5.87
50@BrettRelanderBrett RelanderLaunch & Hustle5.65

Top Marketing Topics

Onalytica was interested in seeing which topics were most popular among their identified top influencers, so they analyzed their tweets and blogs from January 1st to April 19th this year, counting the number of mentions each marketing topic received.

Social Media dominated the list with 27% share of voice, with Content Marketing coming in at second with 12% and Branding at 9%. Facebook, Twitter and SEO were tied for fourth place at 8%, followed by Strategy and Advertising both at 5% and Analytics at 4%. Email Marketing, PPC, LinkedIn and Planning all received 3%, with Growth Hacking rounding out the list at 2%.

 

Mapping The Digital Marketing Community

Onalytica also looked at which marketers and brands were leading the conversation on Twitter, so they analyzed over 1.5 million tweets from December 4th, 2015 to April 29th, 2016, mentioning the keyword “digital marketing,” and identified the top 100 most influential individuals and brands who were leading the online discussion.

Onalytica discovered that there was a very engaged community of high profile marketers, business professionals and brands. Below you can see the network map of the online conversation Onalytica created with their Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM), showing the #1 Influencer Jeff Bullas at the center and the conversations to and from the influencers in his field.

Here’s another network map with the #1 Brand Econsultancy at the center, and the conversations to and from the influencers in its field.

Do you have any tips on how to become more influential in one’s niche? Please share your tips below!

Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking is by no means a definitive measurement of influence, as there is no such thing. The brands and individuals listed are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion in Digital Marketing.

The PageRank based methodology we use to extract influencers on a particular topic takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives. These calculations are independent of a user’s number of followers, but we do filter our lists based on how much a user is engaged in the conversation and the influence they drive through their networks.

Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 2 comments
  • gary johnson

    How does Joe Pulizzi or Robert Rosen not show up on this list? I see the CMI logo but individually, is there anyone in the country more influential than Joe in the content marketing space?

    • Michael Brenner

      Hey Gary, I agree with you as both are great friends. I think this list focused on “digital marketing” specifically and as with any technology, it doesn’t know that content marketing is such an important component of digital.