Feb 20, 2018

Spotlight: Digital Marketing Industry Leaders

by Digital Marketing Institute

There are plenty of things that you can do to kick-start your digital marketing career or enhance your digital strategy if you’re already working in the field. In this blog, you'll find tips to help you thrive in the digital industry as well as round-up of some of the best digital influencers out there.

How to Excel in Digital Marketing

The field of digital marketing is in a constant state of flux and there are plenty of opportunities for ambitious marketers to progress their career towards a digital leadership position.

If you’re just starting out and you want to know more, here are some ideas of how to position yourself to build a tribe and excel as a community leader.

Resilience & Creativity

The best business people, thought leaders, digital strategists, and content managers are always able to look at situations with a fresh lens and be continually learning. Creativity, problem-solving skills, patience and an analytical outlook are all key to building a career in this field. Whether your freelancing or working on a team, you must be willing to experiment, try new things, fail and then get back up again.

Understand the Sales Funnel & Customer Journey

If you’re going to be involved in marketing, you should have a firm grasp on each facet of the sales funnel in order to understand the bigger picture business strategy – this refers to every step of the customer journey from lead generation to conversion and brand loyalty.

While the funnel will vary depending on what you’re doing and who you are talking to, here is a general overview of what it might look like if you were working on the content strategy end:

  • Outreach: Relationship-building and lead generation (e.g., social media)
  • Conversion: Where the customer is deciding to buy or not (e.g., through an awesome email sequence)
  • Sale: The customer commits to a purchase (e.g., by purchasing your online course)
  • Nurturing/loyalty: Follow-up and relationship maintenance (e.g., through exclusive offers)

Find your Tribe

One of the reasons that the digital marketing influencers listed below are so popular is that they are leaders that people naturally gravitate to – they create their own tribes. This is a big feat and not something that everyone will be doing in the same way, but even if you don’t build your own “tribe,” you have to find them. This is not only a networking opportunity but a chance to grow and learn with like-minded people.

Having people around you who understand and support your journey is crucial in this field. Start by finding Facebook groups dedicated to your interests, aptitudes, and goals. Try to attend any conference, workshop or course that you can get your hands on.

Don’t forget that this community of people are your collaborators, not your competition.

Get Clear on Data-Driven Marketing

The top digital marketing professionals in the world understand clearly how to use data to propel a business forward from start to finish. They know that analytics are key, and though they may not be analytics “experts” themselves, they understand that having knowledgeable analytics people around is key to a business’ success.

8 Industry Leaders in Digital Marketing

A great way to build and strengthen your budding digital marketing career is by following some digital marketing leaders, business gurus and influencers in the online world. Not only will you keep abreast of the latest trends and changes, you’ll learn valuable business information.

Everyone on this list has a little bit of a different specialty, so be sure to choose one that fits your interests and focus.

1. Rand Fishkin

Rand is a prolific writer, tech guru and founder of MOZ, a software service company specializing in inbound marketing and analytics, as well as Inbound.org. Like many techies of his time, he actually dropped out of university to start MOZ.

Rand is an extremely talented entrepreneur and was once named one of Bloomberg’s Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs. Keep an eye out for his latest book on startup culture coming out this year.

And if you’re interested in learning more about digital marketing, startups, or inbound marketing you should definitely check out his Whiteboard Friday blog.

2. Ann Handley

Ann is the CCO (chief content officer) of MarketingProfs, a website dedicated to helping people learn everything about the industry. She’s a bestselling author, influential thought leader, teacher and inspirational speaker dedicated to reshaping the world of digital marketing. Her books have been translated into 19 languages, and she has over 400 000 Twitter followers.

If you’re interested in anything to do with copywriting or content marketing, you should definitely give her blog a follow.

3. Neil Patel

Neil is one of the biggest names in the industry and is best known for being the founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, though he’s done a lot more in his field. He launched his first company at the tender age of 15. He’s currently dedicated to helping young entrepreneurs and still consults for the biggest companies in the world. He’s also a popular speaker at major conferences around the world, so be sure to catch him at your next networking event.

4. Clara Shih

Clara holds an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, and besides being a brilliant tech person; she’s managed to carve herself out as a person that seriously understands how to connect businesses with customers.

As the CEO of Hearsay Systems, she knows how to design effective digital marketing systems that connect. She’s focused on client and team empowerment and is dedicated to always finding the right message in her marketing pursuits. She’s not only a brilliant digital marketing pioneer, she’s also authored two business books and holds several titles, including being one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.”

Follow her LinkedIn posts to stay in the loop with all things digital marketing.

5. Ryan Holmes

Ryan is a Canadian entrepreneur and tech specialist best known for his role as CEO of social media company Hootsuite. He’s a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc. and LinkedIn Influencers, and like many other brilliant tech specialists, he dropped out of school to pursue his career in business. In the past few years, he’s launched several programs dedicated to technological entrepreneurship. He’s also created a virtual reality space exploration program, even raising money to send a VR camera to space.

If you’re interested in any element of business, tech or entrepreneurship, you should definitely give his LinkedIn page a follow.

6. Manu Goswami

Manu is a 20-year old branding and business expert that’s recently gained a ton of attention for his TEDx talk and his work for major companies like American Express and Google. He’s done a lot at his young age and is currently the co-founder of Dunk Media. He’s won plenty of young leadership awards and was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He’s definitely going to continue making waves - follow him on LinkedIn or social now for some serious inspiration.

7. Gary Vaynerchuk

Many in the digital marketing sphere are familiar with Gary for his straight up approach: he’s definitely not shy about sharing his feelings, and has developed a unique personal brand based on this approach. Gary’s personal story is that he used his marketing chops to boost revenue on his parent’s liquor store from $3 million to $50 million. He’s been on the NYT bestseller list numerous times and is the owner of a high-end digital agency called VaynerMedia.

Gary is constantly pushing the envelope in the field of social media marketing by trying new things (and not always succeeding) and writing or talking about everything. Even if you don’t love his intense approach, he’s really a leader in this field and is worth keeping an eye on.

8. Gerard Adams

Gerard Adams is a content whiz who has a little company you may have heard of – Elite Daily. When he sold it (for a whopping $50 million), he then moved into building Fownders, a company devoted to entrepreneurial personal growth. He’s a major leader in online learning and collaboration for young business people. Give him a follow by checking out his podcast.

There are so many digital marketing and thought leaders out there that are doing incredible things. If you find a few people you resonate with and pay close attention, learning and career opportunities are bound to open up.

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