For more than ten years, I’ve been working closely (and sometimes from afar), with many of the main Web marketing players in Quebec, but also from elsewhere. I’ve worked alongside or hobnobbed with hundreds of them over the conferences I’ve organized or attended here, in Europe or the USA. Everywhere, I’ve met influential people and long-standing experts. Marketing is now overflowing with them. These influencers take up a lot of room, not only in conversations but also in the strategies of the firms that hire them, sometimes at a substantial cost. Many seek to profit from the influencer’s audience and credibility.
I wrote a post on the subject last year to try to define the profile of these strange creatures we call influencers. And one of them, Lee Odden, a bona fide Marketing star, has done an excellent job defining the subject with an absolutely must-read blog post.
His definition of influence: “In a marketing context, influence is the ability to affect action – not attract 1,000, 100,000 or a million fans, friends and followers. To create action, you need content and relationships.”
And the ability to do this is not limited to Marketing professionals. In his words, “Beyond the professional influencers and industry experts are members of the media, customers, prospective customers and members of any communities that the brand is active in. All must be considered when developing relationships to grow your brand’s influence and the influence of those you work with”
Seeking to define them is one thing. Categorizing them, is another. There are hundreds of international or USA rankings listed in Google alone. Each year, several blogs and specialized websites make their list of the 50 or 100 greatest influencers in marketing, social media marketing or B2B marketing.
Many are based on pseudo-scientific methods like Traackr or other measurement software like Klout and there are many others …
In short, it isn’t easy to make sense of it all.
So we’re going to try another approach. On the one hand, I examined ten of these rankings published in 2016-17 to see if some influencers are unanimously considered as such, which happens to be the case. But these rankings are based on quantification and not qualification … So, I thought it would be appropriate to drop the strictly numbers-based evaluation and concentrate on ten more qualitative measurements:
- Recognized by all actors in the Web Marketing field
- Digital Identity – Structured and extensive presence in search engines
- Regular presence on a multitude of social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, Google+, Quora, etc.)
- Active Blog and other publications
- Contribution to the web community (conferences, teaching, social involvement)
- Presence in the media as a spokesperson for the community
- Visibility and international presence
- Experience in web-related areas
- A qualified audience, in terms of numbers and quality (read: no fake accounts)
- Unanimity in the other rankings
And from this perspective, here is a list of 30 names. The order in which they are presented is simply alphabetical (by surname). No ranking, no ego wars and especially, lots of links and references!
Name: Jay Baer – Twitter account: @jaybaer – Website / blog: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/blog/ President of Convince & Convert, speaker and author of the best-selling book “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not HypeZ”
Name: Michelle Blanc.- Twitter account: @MichelleBlanc Website / blog: http://www.michelleblanc.com/ Senior Partner Analyweb inc. Speaker and author “Social Media 101”, “Social Media 201” and co-author “Why blogging in a business context”
Name: Renee Blodget: – Twitter account: @magicsaucemedia – Website / Blogs: http://magicsaucemedia.com/blog/ CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, and founder of the webzine We Blog the World, blogger and speaker,
Name: Elisa Cerruti – Twitter account: @elisa_cerruti – Website / blog: http://elisacerruti.com/blog/ Consultant, coach, speaker. PhD and co-author of “Strategie di marketing applicate a differenti mercati”
Name: Marsha Collier – Twitter account: @MarshaCollier – Website / blog: http://www.coolebaytools.com/blog#.WMcr8_k1_Dc Entrepreneur, speaker, author of 48 books including “eBay for Dummies”, “Social Media Commerce For Dummies” and “The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide“: and founder of #CustServ podcasts, #techradio
Name: Bryan Eisenberg – Twitter account: @TheGrok – Website / blog: http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/ Entrepreneur, Founder and CMO of IdealSpot.com, speaker, co-author of Call to Action (2005), Waiting for Your Cat to Bark (2006), Always Be Testing (2008) and Buyer Legends : The Executive Storyteller’s Guide “(2014).
Name: Laura Fitton – Twitter account: @Pistachio – Website / blog: http://www.inbound.com/ “Inbound Evangelist” at Hubspot, formerly CEO and founder of OneForty, speaker and author of “Twitter for Dummies”
Name: Seth Godin – Twitter account: @ThisIsSethsBlog – Website / blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ Entrepreneur, blogger, lecturer and author of 18 books translated into 35 languages including “Tribes” and “The Icarus Deception”
Name: Yann Gouvernec – Twitter account: @ygourven – Website / blog: http://visionarymarketing.com/en/index.html Innovation & Marketing, Web & Social Media: Owner and CEO of Visionary Marketing @vismktg Program Director at Master Digital Business Strategy @grenoble_em
Name: Ann Handley – Twitter account: @MarketingProfs and @annhandley – SiteWeb / blog: http://www.annhandley.com/ CCO at MarketingProfs and co-founder of ClickZ, a lecturer and author of the best-selling book “Everybody Writes”
Name: Mitch Joel – Twitter account: @mitchjoel – Website / blog: http://www.twistimage.com/blog/ President of Mirum, blogger, podcaster, lecturer and author of “Six Pixels of Separation” and “CTRL ALT Delete”
Name: Pam Moore – Twitter account: @PamMktgNut – Website / blog: http://themarketingnutz.com/blog/ Nicknamed “Marketing Nut,” she is CEO of Marketing Nutz, lecturer and author of the podcast “Social Zoom Factor”
Name: Jason A, Miller – Twitter account: @JasonMillerCA – Website / blog: http://rocknrollcocktail.com/social-media-cocktail/ Jason is a B2B marketing specialist and “global content marketing leader” at LinkedIn the day and a rock ‘n’ roll photographer at night. In 2014 he published the best seller # 1 on Amazon “Welcome to the Funnel“.
Name: Lee Odden – Twitter account: @leeodden – Website / blog: http://www.toprankblog.com/ CEO of TopRank, speaker and author of “Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing“, He is quoted by publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist, And Entrepreneur.com
Name: Neil Patel – Twitter account: @neilpatel – Website / blog: http://neilpatel.com/blog/Neil is an entrepreneur known for having founded Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout, and KISSMetrics. He is also a lecturer, blogger and regular contributor to publications such as Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and TechCrunch.
Name: Chad Pollitt: – Twitter account: @ChadPollitt – Website / blog: http: //www.chadpollitt.com/Partner and VP Audience at Native Advertising Institute, an assistant professor of Internet marketing at the Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana, he is also a lecturer and author of several books, including “The Native Advertising Manifesto,” “The Content Promotion Manifesto “And” 51 Things Your Mother Taught You About Inbound Marketing. “He also writes for the Huffington Post, the Guardian and Social Media Today.
Name: Joe Pulizzi – Twitter account: @joepulizzi – Website / blog: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/Founder of Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World Conference, lecturer and author of three books including Epic Content Marketing
Name: Mari Smith – Twitter account: @MariSmith – Website / blog: https://www.marismith.com/mari-smith-blog/ Consultant nicknamed “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is one of the greatest marketing experts on Facebook. She is a lecturer and author of “The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web” and co-author of “Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day”
Name: Brian Solis – Twitter account: @briansolis – Website / blog: http://www.briansolis.com/ Brian Solis is a senior analyst at Altimeter Group. He is also a lecturer, blogger and author of several books including the best seller “Engage”
Name: Danny Sullivan – Twitter account: @dannysullivan – Website / Blog: https://dannysullivan.com/blog Analyst and journalist who covered marketing for 20 years, founder and publisher of @ MarketingLand and @SEngineLand, and speaker.
Name: Gary Vaynerchuk – Twitter account: @garyvee – Website / blogger: https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/blog/ CEO of @Vaynermedia. Investor in Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, Venmo. Vlogging every day on YouTube unsous “DailyVee”. Lecturer and author of three books: “#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness”
Name: Christine Viera – Twitter account: @ChristineViera – Website / blog: http://b2bmarketingacademy.com/ VP Global Marketing Strategy, Customer Experience & Product Marketing at Level 3 Communication, blogger, co-founder of B2B Marketing Academy and B2B Marketing Foundation
Please note that this post was about Web marketing influencers, many of which work in B2C (Business to Customers) and a few of which work in B2B. In a future post we’ll focus on influencers in B2B marketing with the same 10 criteria.