In a time when everyone is a self-proclaimed influencer, it can be hard to spot the real deal. And when it comes to the marketing industry, thought leaders are a dime a dozen, each claiming they know what the next marketing trends and tools are.

Knowing who’s actually got the goods to share and is worth following isn’t always easy. And with the time constraints of running a business and all of the content out there, it can be tough to read every blog and social channel to find the best guidance.

That’s why we’ve assembled 16 real-deal thought leaders that are great resources. Check them out and make sure you follow them on social media for the latest tips.

16 Marketing Thought Leaders to Follow

To put you on the path to success, we’ve created a list of the nine marketing thought leaders you must follow:

1. Bryan Kramer

Bryan Kramer believes that “social media is so popular because it allows us to control our personal brand: aligning the perceptions others have of us with our perception of ourselves.” He is the CEO of one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing companies, PureMatter, a TedTalk, and keynote speaker, and a bestselling author.

He focuses on the value of human-to-human interaction through sharing stories on social media and is shedding new light on innovative ways to connect with your audience. As you build your small business social media strategy, Bryan Kramer is one to watch.

2. Adam Grant

Adam Grant is the author of two bestselling books, including “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.” He proposes that the purpose of thought leadership is to craft and distribute content that improves others’ lives.

When you focus on promoting yourself, you don’t gain influence or trust. As content marketing becomes a foundational part of an effective marketing strategy, keep in mind that sending your customers self-promotional content is not the best way to serve them.

3. Dorie Clark

As a regular Forbes and Harvard Business Review contributor, Dorie Clark has become an authority on building a community centered on thought leadership.  Her strategies for building a following and creating thought leadership content are a great resource for any small business owner. If you’re looking to be an influencer within your niche, Dorie Clark is the perfect example to emulate.

4. Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds is a renowned digital marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and author. He’s the CEO and founder of Foundation Marketing and Hustle and Grind eCommerce store. Ross mostly tweets about marketing and SaaS.

5. Gary Vaynerchuk

As a serial entrepreneur and early backer of Twitter, Gary Vaynerchuk knows what’s up when it comes to building a business. As a strong proponent of the value of content marketing, Gary hosts an extremely useful podcast alongside inspirational (and educational) posts and Q&As on all of his popular social accounts. Building and running a business isn’t easy work. Give him a follow if you’re looking for a daily boost.

6. Carson Tate

Carson Tate is a renowned business coach who prides herself on the expertise to deliver the best productivity training. Carson is also the founder of Working Simply, a consultancy agency that serves executives at Fortune 500 companies. If you want to learn new productivity hacks, you should follow her on Twitter, where she posts bite-sized productivity tips.

7. Jay Baer

Jay Baer’s claim to fame (besides his successful online publication, Convince & Convert) is being “the most retweeted person in the world among digital marketers.” He’s a well-known speaker, marketer, and customer service guru and could teach you a thing or two about building a blog. If you’re interested in learning more about creating thoughtful content that will connect with your audience and build a following, Jay’s your guy.

8. Flavilla Fongang

Flavilla Fongang is an award-winning brand strategist, honored as one of the top two most influential women in tech by Tech Brians Talk. She is a keynote speaker and brand advisor for BBC — that’s a hallmark of a true thought leader. Moreover, Flavilla is the founder of 3 Colours Rule — a branding agency that serves reputable brands such as Meta, Vodafone, and Toyota.

She shares nuggets of wisdom on advertising, and you should follow her if you want to learn how to get the most out of targeted online ads.

9. Larry Kim

As founder & CTO of WordStream, a pay-per-click (PPC) management and services company, Larry Kim’s knowledge of PPC, Adwords, and digital marketing run deep. Larry is also the CEO of MobileMonkey, a Facebook Messenger marketing solutions provider.

One of the industry’s brightest minds, Larry is regarded as the most influential PPC experts and has the most socially shared PPC article ever. So, if you are looking for marketing thought leadership and helpful advice on how to drive more online traffic and convert more customers, his blog is a great place to bookmark.

10. Anthony Johndrow

Anthony Johndrow is the reputation management king. He worked at the Reputation Institute for years and has drawn a clear connection between thought leadership and reputation management. As a small business, your reputation will make or break you. Anthony Johndrow’s site provides insights for small businesses on building a reputation roadmap and leveraging technology to make your brand stronger.

11. Dave Kerpen

Dave Kerpen is the founder of Likeable, a social media content agency.  His goal is to help small companies transform into #LikeableBusinesses by automating their social accounts and saving time to be put toward making sales and growing businesses. Social media is a must for small businesses these days, so check out Likable if you’re strapped for time!

12. Patrick Ambron

Patrick Ambron is the founder of BrandYourself, a reputation management tool that allows “you to control what people find when they Google your name.” When it comes to personal branding, he’s ahead of the curve. If you’re looking to improve your search results (or your branding overall), check out BrandYourself as a starting point.

13. Seth Godin

Seth Godin is often referred to as the “godfather of modern marketing” for his extensive work in the industry. Inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 2013, Seth Godin has been the shining light for many in the marketing sector.

Follow Seth if you’re looking for a resource to help you learn to market your business effectively. His blog — Seth’ — imparts great marketing insights that help individuals hone their marketing skills. In addition, he has authored 19 books — including best sellers “Tribes” and “Purple Cow.”

14. Mel Carson

If you’re looking for a thought leader to help you improve your personal branding, look no further than Mel Carson. Mel began his career as an editor for LookSmart — a U.S. search engine, and has gone on to play instrumental roles in digital advertising.

He’s the founder and CEO of Delightful Communications — an award-winning B2B technology marketing agency. Mel is a renowned expert in the personal branding realms, and he’s one of the most sought-after speakers at digital PR, personal branding, and digital marketing conferences and events.

Follow Mel if you want to broaden your understanding of digital PR and personal branding.

15. Dana DiTomaso

Dana DiTomaso is an award-winning speaker and digital marketing expert who teaches brands to prioritize online engagement over offline ads. She’s the president and partner at Kick Point — an agency that helps businesses do better digital marketing.

Follow Dana if you’re getting started with digital marketing, as she shares actionable advice to help brands smoothly transition from offline to digital. She’s also a valuable resource for brands that are looking to build personas for targeted campaigns.

16. Mari Smith

Mari Smith is often known as the “queen of Facebook” for good reasons. She’s a premier Facebook marketing expert who has made a name as a social media thought leader. She’s also a keynote speaker and a live video host.

If you’re looking to produce quality social media content that followers can’t resist reading and clicking on, you need to follow Mari. She imparts evergreen advice on how to improve social media outreach and engagement.

If you want to unlock your content’s potential through distribution, follow Ross Simmonds. He’s a great advocate for proper content distribution and often shares effective content distribution hacks on Twitter.

Author Bio:

by Benchmark Team

Occassionally, the worldwide Benchmark Email team will collaborate on a post to deliver the latest and greatest news, tips and feature updates to all of you.