Digital Thought Leaders We Should All Be Following

My own philosophy in marketing stems from a strong grounding in sales: door-to-door, retail, and online. Regardless of your experience, though, you might learn some things (as I have!) from these influential thought leaders.

HEADS UP:

Because this blog is designed to land me a job, I’ll spend significant time relating each thought-leader back to myself and my work.  Normally, I wouldn’t do that, because it reflects a level of self-absorption that I abhor.   In this case, though, I think it’s valuable for hiring professionals to see my thinking, so I’ll share a little about my experience with each, and also how they’ve affected my work.

Chris Brogan 

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I first started following Brogan before I began my graduate studies at SNHU.  At the time, I was focusing primarily on developing the marketing for my DJ business, and I appreciated Brogan’s very laid-back, affable approach.

Although I don’t like to sound like a fanboy, in my mind Brogan embodies the ideal of marketing:  he provides a ton of real value, is great at building personal relationships, and is straightforward about when he’s selling.  He is a master of the email list, and inspired me to develop a video-email approach that I used to capture more clients.

Ann Handley

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Storytelling is something that I get excited about.  I wrote and directed a few one-acts as an undergrad, and have always enjoyed writing short fiction.  I was never able to connect it to marketing though, until I heard Handley say, “Great content isn’t storytelling; it’s telling a true story well.”

Personally, I thrive in that paradigm.  It allows me to think creatively, which I enjoy, while providing a scaffolding of truth.

Neil Patel

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I only recently began following Neil Patel.  I was looking for new ideas to promote Sonoran Schools, the charter school for which I run the marketing program.  His approach is overwhelmingly value-based.  In feature-length informational webinars, he lays out practical strategies and best-practices for increasing traffic and conversion.

Based on his recommendation, I developed a remarketing program that we used to reach prospective students and their families.  I was rather proud of that campaign; its relevant metrics were significantly higher than the industry average.

Gary Vaynerchuck

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Whenever you need some motivation, Gary Vee is the man to turn to.  To start off a long day I like to get pumped at the gym; to get into a productive headspace, I like to listen to Vaynerchuck’s podcasts.  In addition to doling out valuable insights, he has a common refrain: success is something you work towards.

His steadfast belief in Snapchat as a powerful platform inspired me to explore the platform.  At first I was doubtful.  The only people that I know it are my wife’s middle-school students.  But the data doesn’t lie – Snapchat has overtaken Twitter to become the third most widely used social media site among 18–34 year olds and is the single most popular social media among teens according to a study in Computers in Human Behavior.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if there are any thought-leaders that you think deserve a spot on this wall.  Share your thoughts in the comments below, or hit me up on LinkedIn.

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