Marketing Influencers to Watch 2016

This year promises to be another fast-paced ride for marketers trying to keep up with trends and best practices in the world of online marketing. It’s no surprise that emerging trends—especially in the mobile sphere—are changing the way we consume content and communicate with one another.

Successful marketers today understand these evolutions and have their fingers firmly on the pulse of the modern consumer. Online marketing is fortunate to have a wealth of true gurus, individuals with a broad scope of knowledge and fine-tuned intuition, who influence the way digital marketing is done. They are the trendsetters, the experts who’ve racked up success after success and rank at the top of the field.

Want to know who to watch for wisdom in online marketing in 2016? Check out our list of 15 thought leaders and influencers who are shaping digital marketing this year.


1. Rand Fishkin


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If you’re in marketing, you know Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz and founder of the company, stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to SEO—and most things related to inbound marketing and entrepreneurship. He’s an author of marketing bibles such as SEO: Insights from the Moz Blog, and Inbound Marketing, as well as the co-founder of

You can follow him and get access to his marketing wisdom here:

Follow Rand on Twitter

Read Rand’s personal blog

Check out Rand’s presentations on SlideShare


2. Joe Pulizzi


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Joe is the founder of the influential Content Marketing Institute and a respected author and keynote speaker. He literally wrote the book on content marketing (Get Content Get Customers) and is one of the top influencers in the world of content marketing. His fourth book, Epic Content Marketing, was listed as a must-read business book by Fortune Magazine. He’s a prolific author, columnist, and podcaster (check out This Old Marketing  and Content, Inc.).

Access Joe’s amazing online marketing insight here:

Joe Pulizzi on LinkedIn

Joe Pulizzi on Twitter

Joe Pulizzi’s blog at the Content Marketing Institute

3. Jay Baer


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Author of five books, advisor to over 700 brands (including over 30 in the Fortune 500), and founder of Convince & Convert, a leading strategy consulting firm, Jay Baer also runs the world’s top content marketing blog, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Jay is recognized as an expert and thought leader in all aspects of digital marketing, including social media, content marketing, and customer relationship management.

Don’t miss Jay’s insights—he’s the top most retweeted person by digital marketers all over the world.

Jay Baer on Twitter

Jay Baer’s blog and podcasts

Jay Baer on the Social Pros podcast

4. Ann Handley


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Ann Handley is the chief content officer at Marketing Profs, one of the most trusted training resources for marketing pros, and the author of a Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content. She writes widely read columns for Entrepreneur, the Huffington Post, the American Express OPEN Forum, and Mashable. Ann is considered a pioneer in the field of digital marketing and co-founded, one of the first sources for news and commentary for digital marketers.

You’ll want to follow Ann and keep up with her insights at:

Ann’s Twitter page

Ann’s LinkedIn Influencer page

Ann Handley on SlideShare

5. Neil Patel


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Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout—if you’re a marketer, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the excellent blogs of these three companies founded by Neil Patel and look to them often for marketing advice. Entrepreneur called Patel the number one marketer in the world and household name brands like Google, GM, and eBay are among his clients. Colleges and universities teach Neil Patel’s marketing strategies. If you want to know what’s hot in marketing, you’ll want to follow Neil.

Here’s where you can find him:

Follow Neil on Twitter

Read Neil’s blog

Read Neil’s articles on

6. Jeff Bullas


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There’s not much about content marketing and social media marketing Jeff Bullas doesn’t know. He’s been called the number one content marketing influencer by Onalytica and ranked as the eighth best social media marketing talent in the world by Forbes. Jeff is also a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and marketing consultant; his blog consistently ranks as one of the best social media marketing blogs by Social Media Examiner.

If you want to know how to make social media work for you, or stay on top of trends in social media marketing, you should follow Jeff’s insights and opinions here:

Jeff Bullas on Twitter

Read Jeff’s blog

See Jeff’s presentations on SlideShare

7. Dan Zarrella


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If you are all about the data and the science behind marketing, if numbers and statistics are more fascinating to you than simple words, you want to follow Dan Zarrella. Dan got his start as one of the first marketers at Hubspot, but now he’s got his own following as the science guy behind online marketing. In fact, he holds the Guinness World Record for the largest webinar ever and his “Science of…” webinars draw tens of thousands of registrants (watch the Science of Social Media for free here). Zarrella has also written four books on Internet marketing, including The Science of Marketing and Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness. 

If you want to follow Dan’s data-driven insights and marketing wisdom:

Follow Dan on Twitter

Read Dan’s posts on the Hubspot blog

8. Larry Kim


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There’s not much about the world of PPC advertising that Larry Kim doesn’t know (or didn’t come up with himself). As the founder of Wordstream, Kim’s a master of online ads, and he knows SEO like the back of his hand. Kim has written four books and is a featured blogger for some of the premier business and marketing websites in the world (Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Moz blog, Search Engine Journal among others). He also wrote the most socially shared article on PPC, according to

Catch Larry at one of his many speaking events, or follow his work at:

Larry Kim on Twitter

Larry Kim’s LinkedIn page

Read Larry Kim’s posts on the MobileMonkey blog

9. Rohit Bhargava


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Rohit is the CEO of Influential Marketing Group and one of the foremost experts on corporate storytelling and branding. A former Ogilvy exec, Rohit’s new consultancy brings deep insight into marketing strategy and helping brands and brand leaders become more influential. He’s also the author of five best-selling business books (check out Non Obvious, a number one Amazon book and Wall Street Journal bestseller). As a teacher of marketing at Georgetown University and a frequent keynote speaker, Rohit is shaping and influence the next generation of marketing strategists.

Keep up with Rohit’s marketing and branding advice here:

Follow Rohit on Twitter

Read Rohit’s blog

Watch some awesome videos on Rohit’s YouTube channel

10. Shama Hyder


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Entrepreneur Magazine calls Shama the “Zen Master of Marketing,” which is highly appropriate for the CEO of Marketing Zen Group, a global online marketing and PR organization with Fortune 500 clients. Hyder is the bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing  and was named one of the “Top 30 Under 30” entrepreneurs in the country by Inc. Magazine. She’s also one of LinkedIn’s “Top Voices” in Social and Marketing. Even President Obama has honored her entrepreneurial zeal.

Look for Shama’s insights in the following places:

Shama Hyder on Twitter

Shama’s LinkedIn page

Read Shama’s blog

Reserve a copy of her new book Momentum, coming May 2016

11. Justine Jordan


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Justine is Vice President of Marketing at Litmus and an “email evangelist,” a master of the channel and winner of the 2015 eec Email Marketing Thought Leader of the Year award. She was doing email and content marketing before content marketing was really even born. She’s a frequent blogger on all things email and organizer of the Litmus Email Design Conference. Justine is one of the country’s leading experts in email design and analytics—all things email.

If you want to know what’s going on in the world of email marketing, follow Justine at:

Justine on Twitter

Justine’s LinkedIn page

Justine’s posts on the Litmus blog

12. Adam Singolda


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So…what’s the logical next step for an alumnus of the Israeli Defense Forces’ elite mathematical unit and the Israeli National Security Agency with a heavy background in analytics and computer science? If you’re Adam Singolda, it’s developing a mathematical predictive engine and launching a new company, Taboola. Taboola is the world’s foremost content discovery platform, dishing out some 300 billion (yes, billion with a B) recommendations every month to over 750 million web users. Taboola is the go-to platform for major web publishers such as USA Today, the Weather Channel and NBC. If you want to know how to drive traffic and monetize content, you’ll want to know what Adam Singolda is doing.

Keep up with Adam’s thoughts and insights:

Follow Adam on Twitter

Adam Singolda’s LinkedIn page

13. Scott Yates


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Pretty much every business has one, but not that many are living up to their promise. No, we’re not talking about Hayley, the summer marketing intern…we’re talking about the company blog, that most fundamental and basic of your content marketing channels. Scott Yates is an award-winning writer and founder of BlogMutt, one of the most successful and innovative content companies with a laser-like focus on blogs.

If you want to know what’s new in the world of blogging, just ask Scott Yates.

Scott’s LinkedIn page

Follow Scott on Twitter

Read the BlogMutt blog

14. Oli Gardner


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As the co-founder of Unbounce, Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet (or at least that’s what he says). He’s also the author of a pretty successful eBook, The 23 Principles of Attention Driven Design. So if there’s anything you want to know about landing pages, A/B testing, and conversion optimization (or the time he almost got trampled by a bison), you’ll want to keep tabs on Oli Gardner. He’s also a keynote speaker at marketing events all over the globe and contributes to highly respected sites such as Moz.

Here’s where to find Oli Gardner:

Follow Oli Gardner on Twitter

Oli Gardner’s LinkedIn page

Read Oli on the Unbounce blog

15. Mari Smith


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Mari Smith (Mari like Ferrari, as she likes to say) is a thought leader and influencer in Facebook marketing and an expert in all things related to small business marketing. Fast Company called Mari “a veritable engine of personal branding, a relationship marketing whiz and the Pied Piper of the Online World,” and Forbes named her a Top Ten Social Media Power Influencer. Look for her live training events held each year at cities all over the US, catch her at Social Media Marketing World, or register for one of her highly respected webinars.

If you’re in small business marketing, or want to boost your Facebook and social media marketing efforts, see what Mari has to say:

Follow Mari Smith on Twitter

Watch Mari’s videos on her YouTube channel

Read Mari’s blog

Check out Mari’s posts on

There are a lot of experts and influencers in online marketing who can give you great advice, but if you want to know what’s trending now, or what’s on the horizon for digital marketing, you can’t go wrong following these 15 marketing giants and thought leaders and using their insight to improve your online marketing plans.

Did we skip any of your favorite marketing influencers or thought leaders? Is there someone you’d like to add to our list? Tell us in the comments below and let us know why you follow him or her. 

Ian Blair

Ian is the CEO and Co-Founder of BuildFire. He's a visionary leader and tech-driven strategist running a team and platform that powers 10,000+ mobile apps. Ian has been building mobile apps for 10+ years. He's also an expert digital marketer responsible for millions of organic site visits and hundreds of thousands of leads.