Marketing thought leaders in the digital industry are known for driving innovation and sharing new ideas. They are runners, advocates and, above all, sources of information for their audience. Thought leaders or influencers believe, of course, that “influence marketing” is now a term that many digital professionals are now familiar with.

Opinion leaders have the power to convert different segments of consumers across industries: 70% of young YouTube subscribers trust the opinions of influencers when making a purchase decision – above that of celebrities, whereas 86% of women turn to social networks to do their research before purchasing.

Being an influencer can generate a lot of money for you and your business, but there’s more to it than going on Twitter and declaring yourself a thought leader. By learning a few important skills, you will be able to prepare yourself to succeed in the digital space.

What Are Digital Thought Leaders?

We’re going to start at the beginning by defining what a thought leader is. Simply put, thought leaders are experts in their field, are knowledgeable and reach out to people in their area of expertise.

The important concept here is “knowledge”. The unique selling point of thought leaders is that they are beacons of knowledge within their industry and sector. And what sets them apart, even those with the same skills and knowledge bank, is their ability to identify opportunities and business opportunities to capitalize on them.

In terms of available opportunities, they are no bigger than digital – and as an industry, as a space, and as a strategy, the digital potential will be greater. We are long past the time when digital was an optional extra; now it is important, that this digital transformation should enter all aspects of the company, from processes and culture to customer service.

For maximum impact and results, marketing thought leaders must use digital to effectively reach their existing audience, attract new ones, and to influence and create. There are many examples of so-called experts in all areas of life and business using digital to build brand power and promote their message. Due to the abundance of technology and platforms, it is not difficult to do so. But what’s more difficult is to reach out to thought leaders at once, with a clear purpose and quickly.

20 of the Top Marketing Thought Leaders in 2023

More than that, even when employing a digital marketing agency, taking a digital approach saves you money and brings in higher conversions and ROIs. Look at it this way, with traditional marketing you can take out an ad on a local paper that will be seen by a limited audience, but with digital marketing you can post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and much more, reaching a much broader audience with a much lower cost.

For this, you need to know what’s what in the realm of digital marketing. And who better to turn to than the top tech influencers 2022 has seen?

Exactly, here are 20 of the top famous marketing thought leaders you should be following.

Influential Content Marketing Leaders

1. Shane Snow – Contently

Shane Snow - Influential Content Marketing Leaders
Image Source : Shane Snow |
Shane Snow, the founder of Contently, is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur and author of Smartcuts, The Storytelling Edge (2018) and the upcoming Dream Team (June 2018). Shane has been an advocate of authenticity in storytelling and content marketing and GQ has called his work “highly addictive”.

Shane has a knack for simplifying complex subjects and uses his thought-provoking research to enlighten the audience.

2. Joe Lazauskas – Contently

Joe Lazauskas - Influential Content Marketing Leaders
Image Source : Joe Lazauskas |

Joe Lazauskas is a world-renowned author, keynote speaker, journalist, digital marketing leader, and chief content strategist at Contently. He has given impromptu speeches at marketing conferences around the world and provides advice to hundreds of Contently company clients.

He is the author of two books, including this year’s The Storytelling Edge, a highly respected and published three-country media study, as well as thousands of articles, podcasts, letters, videos, films and quizzes.

3. Allen Gannett – Track Maven

Allen Gannett - Influential Content Marketing Leaders
Image Source : Allen Gannett |

Allen Gannett is the author of The Creative Curve (June 2018) as well as the CEO of TrackMaven. He is a well-known startup developer and, in particular, has made his mark as a thought leader in the LinkedIn video space.

His video interviews, vlogs, updates and lectures are interesting, informative and unique. He is dedicated to making the world a more creative place, and his stories about how to make reality a key part of content strategy have made waves.

4. Randy Frisch – Uberflip

Randy Frisch - Influential Content Marketing Leaders
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Randy Frisch is the founder, chief marketing officer and CEO of Uberflip. His vision for a unique customer experience led to the development of the Uberflips Content Hub Builder, making Uberflip the first content experience platform.

Randy has given numerous keynote addresses and facilitated lectures and conferences around the world. He is also the co-founder of Content Content – a podcast created with Jay Baer’s team at Convince & Convert.

5. Aaron Orendorff – Shopify Plus

Aaron Orendorff - Influential Content Marketing Leaders
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Aaron Orendorff is the editor of Shopify Plus and one of Forbes’ Top Ten B2B Content Marketers. He has contributed to Mashable, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Inc., The Fast Company, Business Insider, Success Magazine, The Next Web, The Content Marketing Institute, Copyblogger, MarketingProfs and many more.

He speaks around the country and frequently shares content marketing tips, tricks and ways to use LinkedIn videos.

6. Seth Godin – Squidoo and Yoyodyne

Seth Godin - Influential Content Marketing Leaders
Image Source : Seth Godin |

Seth is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. In addition to starting one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written over 20 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes and What to Do When He Turns You On (And He Does) usually Your Time).

His book, This is Marketing, is a global bestseller. The latest book, The Practice, has been made a bestseller by producers around the world. Although known for his writing and speaking, Seth founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne (owned by Yahoo!).

By focusing on everything from effective marketing to leadership to spreading ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to inspire and motivate many people around the world.

7. Andrea Fryrear – Agile Sherpas

Andrea Fryrear - Influential Content Marketing Leaders
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Andrea is the President and Leader at AgileSherpas and the author of “Death of the Customer”. She has delivered numerous national and international keynotes at schools and has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Content Marketing, Top 60 Marketing Speakers at Rock Your Event, and Top 50 B2B Marketing Influencers.

Social Marketing Thought Leaders

8. Melanie Deziel –

Melanie Deziel - Social Marketing Thought Leaders
Image Source : Melanie Deziel |

Melanie Deziel uses her journalism background to create branded content that is authentic and inspiring. She has given many keynote speeches around the world to promote the belief that content should not be boring.

During her time as a reporter for The New York Times, she co-wrote a feature with Netflix and Orange is the New Black called Women Inmates.

9. Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media Studios

Andy Crestodina - Social Marketing Thought Leaders
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Meet the founder of Orbit Media Studios and content marketing leader Andy Crestodina. He has shared his insights at national conferences and provided web design and consulting for over 1,000 companies.

Crestodina was named Forbes Top 10 Online Marketing Professionals to Watch in 2015 Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 50 Marketing Influencer in 2016 and is also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Book of Content Marketing.

10. DiMercurio Dust – Autodesk

DiMercurio Dust - Social Marketing Thought Leaders
Image Source : Dusty D. |

Meet the Director of Social Media and Content Marketing at Autodesk, Dusty. He is a renowned B2B and B2C marketing expert and sought-after speaker.

His fascinating keynote was accepted at the 2018 Content Intelligence Conference and emphasized the importance of creating a context for content and creating model information.

11. Jay Baer – Convince and Convert

Jay Baer - Social Marketing Thought Leaders
Image Source : Jay Baer |

Jay Baer is the founder of a five million dollar company that includes recognition and conversion and is the New York Times bestselling author of ‘Youtoolity: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype’ a globally recognized speaker, emcee and thought leader.

He has brought a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to conference giants such as Content Marketing World and Social Media Marketing World. He has worked for the United Nations, Oracle and many other Fortune 500 companies. Baer is also the host of the Social Pros Podcast, named the best marketing podcast.

12. Pam Moore – Business Nutz

Pam Moore - Social Marketing Thought Leaders
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Pam Moore is the founder of Nutz Marketing. As an international speaker, trainer, consultant, organizer, and Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer, Pam helps business leaders and event planners increase their ROI.

She is the creator and host of the Zoom Factor Podcast and has consulted for many high-profile brands, including Loreal, Adobe, GE, Sony, and Chic-Fil-A.

SEO Thought Leaders

13. Barry Feldman – Feldman’s Creative

Barry Feldman - SEO Thought Leaders
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Barry’s the founder/owner of Feldman Creative, a content marketing consultancy where Barry provides online marketing advice to hundreds of businesses.

He is also the author of SEO Simplified for Short Attention Spans and The Road to Recognition. He is a creator of articles for online translation and has written and designed many e-books.

He has been named a social media and content marketing expert by LinkedIn and has been recognized as a marketing leader by Inc., Entrepreneur, CMI and many others.

14. Michael Brenner – Marketing Insiders Group

Michael Brenner - SEO Thought Leaders
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Michael Brenner is an internationally renowned author, author and speaker. He is the CEO of the Marketing Insider Group, the best-selling author of “The Content Formula”, and his work has been featured in The Economist, The Guardian and Entrepreneur Magazine.

In 2017, he was named Top Business Speaker by Huffington Post and Top CMO Influencer by Forbes. Michael hosts many conferences and keynotes around the world and often gives keynotes at World Content Marketing.

15. Neil Patel –

Neil Patel - SEO Thought Leaders
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Neil Patel is a Wall Street Journal Top Influencer, Forbes Top 10 Online Marketer, and was named one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs Under 30 by President Obama.

Patel has written hundreds of articles, given countless numbers, and frequently uses LinkedIn videos to share his insights. He provides advice on SEO, internet marketing and search engine optimization.

16. Evan Bailyn – First Page Sage

Evan Bailyn - SEO Thought Leaders
Image Source : Evan Bailyn |

Evan Bailyn is an Internet entrepreneur and best-selling author of three books on SEO and social media. He is well known as an expert in marketing ideas, having used his ability to attract visitors online to build and sell five businesses, including one of the largest children’s websites on the Internet.

17. Robert Rose – The Content Advisory

Robert Rose - SEO Thought Leaders
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Robert Rose is the founder of The Content Advisory, an educational and consulting organization related to the Content Marketing Institute, where he and his team help large companies transform the use of independent advertising into a powerful customer experience. It works with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100.

He has provided marketing advice and leadership for global brands including Capital One, Dell, Ernst & Young, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Abbott Laboratories, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UPS. Robert has written and co-authored three books, including Killing Marketing, Experience: The Seven Times of Marketing, and Content Management. Robert is a former host of PNR’s Old Marketing Podcast, which is often listed as one of the top marketing podcasts on iTunes.

18. Pam Didner –

Pam Didner - SEO Thought Leaders
Image Source : Pam Didner |

Pam is a B2B marketing consultant and global marketing expert. Having been in the corporate world for more than 20 years and holding various positions from accounting to financial management and marketing, he has a comprehensive view of how business works.

She thinks critically and translates the big picture into plans and actionable steps. His book, “Global Content Marketing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) is the first marketing book to provide a comprehensive approach to creating global content.

19. Ann Handley –

Ann Handley - SEO Thought Leaders
Image Source : Ann Handley |

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal columnist, keynote speaker, content marketing thought leader and the world’s first Chief Content Officer. Handley talks and writes about how to rethink how your business markets.

She was named by Forbes as the most influential woman in social media and recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 bloggers. Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and delivers over 40 compelling keynotes each year.

20. Ed Bréault – Aprimo

Ed Brault - SEO Thought Leaders
Image Source : Ed Breault |

Thought leader Ed Breault leads the global marketing team at Aprimo, a marketing software company that provides comprehensive business performance solutions that deliver effective campaigns throughout the marketing cycle.

For 13 years, he helped transform Aprimo from a start-up into a market-leading company that is recognized and trusted worldwide. During his 15 years in the marketing industry, Ed has made significant contributions to the business training of the overall marketing function working in more than 100 markets around the world.

Thought Leader Roundup

Got all of that? No worries if not, here’s a tidier list of the top tech influencers on Twitter you should be following:

  1. Shane Snow
  2. Joe Lazauskas
  3. Allen Gannett
  4. Randy Frisch
  5. Aaron Orendorff
  6. Seth Godin
  7. Andrea Fryrear
  8. Melanie Deziel
  9. Andy Crestodina
  10. DiMercurio Dust
  11. Jay Baer
  12. Pam Moore
  13. Barry Feldman
  14. Michael Brenner
  15. Neil Patel
  16. Evan Bailyn
  17. Robert Rose
  18. Pam Didner
  19. Ann Handley
  20. Ed Bréault