Most industries keep a tight lid on the ‘secrets’ to their success. Not us. In marketing, we have the opposite problem.
The most successful strategies and tactics to follow ain’t secret. In fact, they’re commonly detailed at length on a daily basis. They’re lying in plain sight to learn from, copy, or steal.
The trouble is, not all of it is good.
And there’s so much of it, that filtering out the good stuff becomes problematic (not to mention incredibly time consuming).
Unless you’re the anti-David Allen, and you can afford to spend 5 hours a day reading blog posts, you need a shortcut.
And contrary to popular belief, many of the top A-list influencers are not the ones you want to watch.
Here’s why, along with seven other people you should pay attention to instead.
Get Outside the Echo Chamber
88% of B2B marketers ‘do‘ content marketing.
No matter. Because 76% of marketers plan on doing more of it this year too. Um. Huh?
MOST marketers use content marketing. MOST plan on doing more of it this year. Even though MOST admit, it’s not working for them.
So… where’s the disconnect here?
Too often, we get trapped in the same dangerous echo chamber. Where content marketers talk about content marketing to other content marketers. And the end result is a derivative, shallow mess that doesn’t translate to other industries or verticals.
We blindly follow so-called ‘influencers’ and ‘gurus,’ getting distracted by pretty soundbites (that lack any real substance). Many times their advice is pie-in-the-sky, “here’s what worked for Coca-Cola and why your tiny business should do it too”, stuff that’s both impractical as well as most likely impossible.
Or worse, their advice is just bad.
The especially insidious espouse falsehoods that belie a complete lack of understanding (not to mention, diligence).
Like when one ‘social media guru’ said we need to add a fifth P to the Marketing Mix to represent people. Even though, your ‘target market’ has always been in the center of the Marketing Mix since it was created back in the 60s. And negating that fact completely misunderstands what the Marketing Mix (in other words, Marketing 101) stands for or how to use it.
(Appointing yourself a ‘social media guru’ also reminds me of the funny observation about how people who say they’re ‘classy’ rarely are.)
Bad advice comes at a price. It’s like following cheap SEO advice and then being surprised when a Panda, Penguin, or another zoo animal wipes out your progress.
Beyond backfiring, it leads to wasting precious resources of time, money and energy. Of which, you’re probably already strapped.
Instead, you should start following these seven marketers who fly under the radar, to see what they do best (and how you can learn from it).
7 New Marketing Influencers to Follow
You’ve probably heard of one or two of these people. However most deserve more credit than they receive. Here’s a shortlist of some new people you should discover, read, and follow.
1. Mathew Sweezey
Marketing Automation | @msweezey
Mathew’s been around for awhile, formerly working at Pardot until it was acquired by Salesforce. He’s now the Principal of Marketing Insights with Salesforce, in addition to frequently speaking at conferences about all things related to conversion marketing. His work’s been featured in huge publications like VentureBeat, PCWorld, and CMO.com among others. Mathew’s even authored Marketing Automation for Dummies
2. Sean Bestor
Growing Websites | @sbestor15
SumoMe regularly pumps out insanely detailed (and long) articles (or ‘stories‘) focused on helping websites improve conversions. A big part of that comes down to Sean’s work, churning out step-by-step content that shows you exactly how to tackle a difficult problem, like increasing social shares or improving your marketing segmentation.
3. André Morys
Conversion-Driven UX | @morys
André’s a conversion strategist from Germany, literally writing the book on Conversion Optimierung (which means “optimization” in English — hope you got a translator handy!). His agency’s also kind of a big deal, with three European locations that manage a lead / retail volume of 7+ billion euros. (Math was never my strong suit, but I believe that’s a LOT of USDs). André also frequently speaks at top events, showcasing excellent conversion presentations that showcase his insight and intellect.
4. Johnathan Dane
PPC Advertising | @johnathandane
AdWords has never been known to be user-friendly. However, Johnathan’s approach makes it seem so, presenting complex subjects in an easy to understand (and interesting) way. This Unbounce article can literally improve your ad spend overnight, while this one on SearchEngineLand and this one on his agency’s (KlientBoost) blog present tips that are too simple and devastatingly effective to ignore.
5. Kaleigh Moore
Psychology + Copywriting | @kaleighf
The best copywriting is deeply rooted in the psychological underpinnings of what gives us fight-or-flight. Kaleigh’s writing on how psychology affects conversions has appeared on notable blogs like Copyhackers, and SumoMe. She also contributes to a few small sites like Entrepreneur and Inc. (Ever heard of ’em?)
6. Aaron Orendorff
Content Marketing | @iconicontent
Aaron’s another incredibly prolific content strategist, regularly contributing to (get ready), Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Business Insider, and Copyblogger (among others). But what sets him apart his ability to engineer successful content (you know, the kind that gets visits, views and shares). Take a gander at any of his content on the aforementioned websites and you’ll see that his articles are among the most popular for each. That ain’t no accident.
7. Jon Cooper
Link Building | @PointBlankSEO
Ok ok. So you may have heard of Jon Cooper before. If you’re an SEO nerd. (No judging.) Chances are, if you’ve Googled ‘link building’ before, you came across this post. After reading his stuff, you’ll quickly realize that the best link building is often also the best marketing promotion. Beyond the step-by-step tactical stuff, Jon can also do deep dives into the ‘black box’ future of SEO which should be required reading for anyone tasked with growing online properties (read: everyone).
Marketers everywhere are more than helpful, commonly sharing the nitty-gritty details that help them succeed on a daily basis.
But separating fact from fiction is tough. Especially when faced with the onslaught of content being published.
The surest way to avoid missteps or wasted time is to follow better people. The ones who’re interesting; down-in-the-weeds practitioners who offer up new ways to think about common problems.
These seven individuals are just a tiny sample, but are a perfect start for getting new insights on a broad range of marketing topics that aren’t the same re-hashed nonsense populating the same big marketing blogs.