Online marketing made it possible for anyone with a good idea and an internet connection to tell the world about their product. Entrepreneurs no longer have to pay high prices for ad space in newspapers or on billboards.
Internet marketing is unique because it’s something everyone can do, but not just anyone can do it well. You need certain skills to stand out as a top-shelf internet marketer.
Certainly, the best internet marketers possess practical skills in web design, social media strategy, or content writing. But they also keep a delicate balance between following the latest trends and talking to real people in everyday language.
It takes a unique personality to wield influence as the head of an affordable internet marketing company. The following 20 marketers are showing us exactly what it looks like to offer the best internet marketing services in the world.
Here are our picks for the internet’s top marketing geniuses.
1. Gary Vaynerchuk
Still the undisputed king of the digital space after 20 years of online marketing, Gary Vaynerchuk’s inspiring messages, straight-talking persona, and prodigious work ethic have earned him a place at the top of any list of the best digital marketers.
Gary’s in-person, public presentations continue to draw mammoth crowds, and entrepreneurs and investors regularly tune in to The Gary Vee Show to hear Gary’s common-sense advice on the latest ideas in the digital space.
Quotable advice: "Don’t be afraid to break things. Don’t be romantic. Don’t take the time to breathe. Don’t aim for perfect. And whatever you do, keep moving."
2. Neil Patel
Just 34 years old, Neil Patel has already established his reputation as a go-to expert in digital marketing and media. The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, President Barack Obama, and the United Nations have all honored Neil’s entrepreneurial genius.
After founding QuickSprout, a digital marketing agency, in 2008, Neil went on to co-found Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics and to consult with companies such as Amazon, NBC, GM, HP, and Viacom.
Quotable advice: "Don’t optimize for conversions—optimize for revenue.”
3. Donald Miller
The best-selling author of Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Don Miller founded Storybrand to help companies tell better stories. He focuses on message development and clarity using his own patented Storybrand system.
Don does private and public workshops along with direct marketing consulting. In March 2020, he released a book entitled Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step StoryBrand Guide for Any Business.
Quotable advice: “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
4. Claire Diaz-Ortiz
An advisor and investor for high-performing brands, Claire Diaz-Ortiz began her professional life at Twitter, got named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, and has been honored by Wired. She holds an MBA along with other degrees from Oxford and Stanford.
Claire has written eight books, including One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work with a Mentor—and How You’ll Benefit from Being One (with Ken Blanchard) and Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time.
Quotable advice: “Read more, so you can read more.”
5. Kieran Flanagan
The VP of marketing and growth at Hubspot, Kieran Flanagan works nonstop to grow the company’s free users, PQLs, and touchless revenue. Prior to working with Hubspot, Kieran served at Marketo, Salesforce, and Cybercom.
Kieran regularly speaks on growth spurts, product-driven growth, and how to scale a freemium SaaS company. He co-hosts The GrowthTLDR, a podcast featuring weekly interviews and strategies on how the best companies in the world grow.
Quotable advice: "To be effective at content marketing, we need to excel at promotion."
6. Rand Fishkin
The CEO and co-founder (with his mom) of SEOmoz, Rand Fishkin has been honored by BusinessWeek, Seattle Times, Newsweek, and the New York Times for his work on the future of search.
Rand was the co-founder of Moz and Inbound.org before his work at SEOmoz. He’s also the author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.
Quotable advice: "Understand your acquisition and retention funnel in a hyper-measurable way."
7. Mari Smith
Nicknamed “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith regularly appears on Forbes’s list of top social media power influencers. IBM named her one of seven women who are shaping digital marketing, and Fast Company has said she is “the Pied Piper of the online world.”
Mari teaches social media marketing through webinars, mentoring, publications, and social media outlets. She also offers an online training program on Facebook marketing.
Quotable advice: "Content is king, but engagement is queen, and she rules the house."
8. Sujan Patel
The co-founder of Web Profits, a digital agency, Sujan Patel has led the digital marketing strategy for top-performing corporations such as Salesforce, Mint, Intuit, LinkedIn, Expedia, and Zillow. He blogs regularly, and his articles have appeared in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Inc., and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Sujan believes in the power of data to solve marketing problems.
Quotable advice: "Thinking that every idea and piece of content you create must be the first of its kind is a trap.”
9. Jeff Bullas
Billed as the world’s top social marketing talent, Jeff Bullas began his digital marketing career in 2009 when he found himself unemployed. His website, JeffBullas.com, generated immediate interest. Millions of visitors have flooded the site every year to learn Jeff’s takes on digital marketing life.
Jeff has landed on several of Forbes’s top 20 lists and received accolades from Entrepreneur.com. He is particularly known for his “Custom Enterprise Influencer Campaigns” that help his clients expand their reach.
Quotable advice: “Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play. This turns possible underachievers into happy warriors.”
10. Logan Lyles
The co-host of the B2B Sales Show and director of partnerships at Sweet Fish Media, Logan Lyles has exploded into digital marketing as the go-to voice for audio-based media and marketing for the most innovative B2B companies.
Logan aligns his podcasts with a distinctive strategy called content-based networking, which seeks to build meaningful relationships between brands and their partners by creating content together.
Quotable advice: "The power of a podcast definitely does go beyond the one-to-one relationships that you create with the guests that you interview on the show. "
11. Josh Steimle
Josh Steimle serves as founder and CEO of MWI, one of the earliest content marketing agencies—and also one of the largest. Recently, MWI has expanded into Asia, giving Josh new insights into global marketing. He’s the author of the book Chief Marketing Officers at Work and has written extensively for Forbes and other top business publications.
Josh’s new books 60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery and The 7 Systems of Influence will be published in 2020.
Quotable advice: “The purpose of content is to create action.”
12. Jason Swenk
Five years out of college, Jason Swenk launched a digital marketing agency that eventually grew into a multimillion-dollar business. His clients included AT&T, Hitachi, and Lotus Cars.
Jason sold the agency in 2012 and now coaches marketing agency owners on how to grow their agencies faster. He hosts two podcasts: Swenk Today, which discusses agency growth strategies, and Smart Agency Master Class Podcast, where he interviews agency owners.
Quotable advice: "Everyone is unique, but they have common criteria. Use interactive content to understand them quicker."
13. Noah Kagan
After getting fired from Facebook, where he was employee number 30, just before its IPO, Noah Kagan’s stories of failure and success are the stuff of internet legend.
Since his days at Facebook, Noah has started two multi-million dollar businesses and grown an over 700,000-subscriber email list. He blogs about his business hacks on his site OkDork and talks with top marketers and entrepreneurs on his podcast, I.
Quotable advice: "Marketing has always been about the same thing—who your customers are and where they are."
14. James Carbary
James Carbary founded Sweet Fish Media, a podcast production service for B2B companies, after being let go from a tech startup in 2014.
He’s the author of the book Content-Based Networking, a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post and Business Insider, and co-host of the B2B Growth Show, a daily podcast dedicated to helping B2B marketers achieve explosive growth.
Quotable advice: "Original research is one of the most powerful ways to set up your ... thought leadership."
15. Robbie Abed
Robbie Abed got started as a technology consultant at Accenture and Deloitte and was one of the first people to emerge as a LinkedIn influencer. Today, he helps technology companies and executives market themselves for the modern world.
Robbie has worked with brands such as Walmart, Microsoft, Allstate Insurance, and CISCO. A regular columnist for Inc., Robbie has written several popular articles on digital marketing for tech companies.
Quotable advice: “The more personal you are, the better.”
16. Larry Kim
Founder and CEO of Mobile Monkey, a chatbot for marketing and customer support, Larry Kim has been named Search Marketer of the Year by PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and the US Search Awards.
Larry is the eighth-most-popular author on Medium and a regular contributor to Inc. and CNBC. He speaks about search marketing at conferences all across the world, including INBOUND, Dreamforce, SMX, Pubcon, SearchLove, and Social Media Marketing World.
Quotable advice: “What you should be thinking about when you think chatbots is the top of the funnel, marketing, lead acquisition, nurturing, and conversion technology.”
17. Donna Moritz
Donna Moritz is consistently listed as a top social media influencer both in her native Australia and around the world. She has won numerous awards and been featured in Forbes and Entrepreneur Online.
Donna’s expertise lies in image and video storytelling, and her own visuals have been spotted on Entrepreneur.com, HubSpot, and AdWeek. Donna speaks and consults worldwide about messaging and social media content.
Quotable advice: "Consistency of content underlies everything."
18. Wil Reynolds
The founder and vice president of innovation at Seer, a data-focused digital agency of 150 employees, Wil Reynolds has 15 years of experience doing and leading search marketing under his belt. He loves using big data tools to look at search and breaking down silos between divisions in a company.
Wil’s popular YouTube channel features short videos of him sharing his expertise in data. He has worked across an array of verticals, including pharmaceuticals, hospital systems, e-commerce, and SaaS.
Quotable advice: “Too many of us are crushing it on social but can’t cover payroll."
19. Heidi Cohen
Heidi Cohen has loved everything about content strategy and creation since the days when she was waking up extra early to write before elementary school. Today, she serves as Chief Content Officer of Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide and president of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
Heidi teaches graduate-level marketing classes at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New York University, and CUNY-Hunter College. She also keynotes conferences, events, and trainings around the world.
Quotable advice: "Keeping content going is way cheaper than creating it again.”
20. Chris Ducker
After successfully achieving his dream of becoming a virtual CEO, Chris Ducker launched Youpreneur, a personal brand business community. Youpreneur provides a virtual community for entrepreneurs with businesses built around their personal brands, such as coaches, consultants, authors, speakers, bloggers, and podcasters.
Chris is also the host of the Youpreneur.FM Podcast and author of Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive and Build Your Dream Business.
Quotable advice: “Money will come and go, but once you’ve invested your time into something, that time is gone forever.”
Internet marketing is no longer in its infancy, but many of the earliest trailblazers are still writing, speaking, and podcasting as the industry accelerates into a new decade. Nevertheless, digital marketing is still a wide-open space for fresh, creative, data-driven, and entrepreneurial leaders with a vision for new ways to reach clients and customers online.
Following the best internet marketers can give you a leg up if you want to make an impact in the digital marketing universe.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Holland Webb.