Marketing’s 10 Biggest Thought Leaders
by Giselle Abramovich
Senior & Strategic Editor
One of the best ways to excel in marketing–and in life–is to surround yourself with smart people. And while you can’t get folks like Guy Kawasaki and Mark Zuckerberg in close proximity unless you’ve got the big bucks, you can choose to follow them online to see what they find important.
During a recent CMO.com team call, one of our teammates asked us to name some of marketing’s biggest thought leaders. We came up with a short list and then reached out to our Twitter followers and some contacts to round out the list of top 10. Here they are, in no particular order:
Mark Zuckerberg needs no introduction. He is the founder and creator of social media platform Facebook, and is currently estimated to be worth $36.2 billion. Since 2010, Time has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its “Person of the Year” distinction. The movie industry also took notice: Zuckerberg was played by actor Jesse Eisenberg in the 2010 film “The Social Network,” which portrays the rise of Facebook. You can follow him on Twitter.
Jim Stengel, often referred to as the “Godfather of Marketing,” is known for singlehandedly turning around Procter & Gamble back in the early 2000s, when he served as global marketing officer. He oversaw an $8 billion advertising budget and had organizational responsibility for nearly 7,000 people. In his seven years as GMO, Stengel helped P&G double its sales through 25 straight stellar quarters.
Stengel has been honored aplenty: He was named by Advertising Age as the No. 1 “Power Player” in marketing in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007. In 2005, he was recognized as “Grand Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek, the same year P&G was named “Marketer of the Year” by Advertising Age. Stengel was recognized in 2008 when P&G was honored as the 2008 Cannes “Advertiser of the Year” for the first time in company history. And in 2011, Stengel was named to the first-ever Fortune Executive Dream Team. Today, Stengel is an author, professor, consultant, and public speaker. You can stay up to date on all Stengel is doing via his Web site or via Twitter.
Guy Kawasaki is a Silicon-Valley based author, speaker, entrepreneur, and evangelist. He was one of the Apple employees behind marketing the first Macintosh in 1984. He’s known for preaching marketing concepts such as “evangelism marketing” and “technology evangelism.” These days, Kawasaki is chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Kawasaki is worth an estimated $30 million. For more information on his marketing philosophies, you can visit his Web site or follow him on Twitter, where he is very active.
Neil Patel is an entrepreneur, investor, and analytics expert who is best-known for the work he has done in digital marketing. Patel, who launched his very first online company when he was 15 years old, has co-founded companies such as KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, to name a few. Today, he says his passion is helping other entrepreneurs; he has consulted for companies such as Microsoft, General Motors, Intuit, Viacom, Yahoo, NBC, eBay, Amazon, and Mint.com. He speaks at more than 25 conferences per year about entrepreneurship and online marketing, and is worth an estimated $10 million. Follow him on Twitter for analytics and marketing insights.
Mary Meeker is a venture capitalist and former Wall Street securities analyst. Her primary work is about the Internet and new technologies. She is currently a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. From 1991 to 2010, she worked at Morgan Stanley and served as managing director and research analyst. She is most famous for her much- respected and anticipated annual “Internet Trends Report,” which she has been publishing since 1995.
Bob Greenberg is founder, chairman, and CEO of R/GA, and has been a pioneer in the advertising and communications industry for nearly four decades. Currently, he leads the vision for R/GA, which he and his brother, Richard, founded in 1977 with a keen focus on valued design, motion graphics, and live-action film and video production. The company created visual effects for movies such as “Alien,” “Predator,” “Se7en,” and “Zelig.”
Greenberg has evolved the company several times since its founding, transforming it from a world-class movie title shop, to a digital studio, to a major digital advertising agency, and today, to a full-service agency, product and service innovator, and consultancy. He has won almost every industry award for creativity, including the Academy Award, D&AD, and Cannes Lions. Recently, he was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.
Seth Godin has written 18 bestselling books that have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitti”ng, leadership, and, most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books “Linchpin,” “Tribes,” “The Dip, and “Purple Cow.” Godin founded companies including Yoyodyne and Squidoo; his blog, which you can find by just typing “seth” into Google, is one of the most popular in the world. He was recently inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor in 2013. Follow him on Twitter here.
Neal Schaffer is an author, speaker, and social media strategy consultant. He was named a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer two years in a row, as well as a Forbes Top 5 Social Sales Influencer. Also the creator of the leading social media for business blog Maximize Social Business, Schaffer teaches as part of the Rutgers University Business School Mini Social Media MBA Program. He is also well-known for his book “Maximize Your Social: A One-Stop Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy for Marketing and Business Success.” He tweets about all things social media. Follow him on Twitter here.
Robert Rose is a content marketing strategist, author, and speaker. Rose currently serves as the chief strategy officer for the Content Marketing Institute and is also a senior contributing analyst for Digital Clarity Group. He has worked directly with companies such as Dell, SAP, Staples, Petco, KPMG, 3M, Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Together with Joe Pulizzi, Rose wrote the book, “Managing Content Marketing,” which was the No. 1 marketing book on Amazon for two weeks. Altogether, Rose has more than 20 years of experience and a track record of helping brands and businesses develop successful Web and content marketing strategies. Follow him and his content marketing expertise on Twitter.
Bonin Bough is the vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods). He oversees all of Mondelēz’ global media, including TV, print, digital, and OOH. Prior to joining Mondelēz/Kraft, Bough wassSenior global director of digital and social media at PepsiCo, with a focus on developing digital strategy that crossed paid, earned, owned, and shared media. Before crossing over to the brand side, Bough spent time as EVP and director for IPG & Weber Shandwick’s global interactive, social, and emerging media practice, leading a 100 plus-person global team. Bough’s passion for the new and nascent, as well as his expertise in mobile and media, led him to the launch the first two corporate accelerator programs in the marketing industry, PepsiCo10 and Mobile Futures. He is often sought after for speaking gigs. You can follow him on Twitter here.