10 Marketing Thought Leaders You Need to Follow

10 marketing thought leaders you need to followLook no further than these 10 marketing thought leaders for inspiration and insight.  Each one has a unique perspective that is worth your attention.   My top 10 list, in no particular order, includes:

  1. Steve Farnsworth
  2. Mark Mitchell
  3. Heidi Cohen
  4. Graham Robertson
  5. Michael Gass
  6. Timothy Carter
  7. Kim Garst
  8. Peg Fitzpatrick
  9. Mike Brown
  10. Jeff Bullas 

Below is a brief profile of each, with a link to their site, along with a screenshot and a few words usually edited right from their own About section.  I’ve also included their Twitter address.

Steve Farnsworth…The @Steveology Blog – The Forum For Marketing Geeks@Steveology

Steve Farnsworth is the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Digital Marketing where he consults mid to large organizations on communication strategies to create product preference and build customer communities that foster brand loyalty. With over 13 years as a senior executive, Steve writes, blogs, and speaks about how smart companies can effectively integrate social media, PR 2.0, and content marketing into their marketing mix.

Find him on Twitter at @Steveology.

Mark Mitchell…Whizard Strategy

Whizard StrategyMark Mitchell is an expert in helping building product manufacturers be more successful with builders, architects, contractors, dealers, distributors and big boxes. He develops simple solutions to big problems using strategy.

The distinct value of Mark is that he always attaches a unique vantage point or insight to what others settle to “know” or accept as reality, this is “wizardly smart.” The most crucial way this benefits your business is in having a visionary on your side that helps you realize how much you (and your competitors) are not seeing. Perhaps what’s most impressive, is how quickly Mark catches up to speed, begins thinking alongside of you and then shakes the foundation of what you view as possible.

Find him on Twitter at @Whizardly.

Heidi Cohen…Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Expert

Heidi Cohen.comHeidi Cohen’s blog provides marketing related insights grounded in digital and direct marketing. Served with a creative twist, Heidi includes practical tips based on her extensive experience that readers can apply to their marketing.

Heidi Cohen simplifies the complex concepts behind today’s evolving digital marketing challenges into an easy-to-understand format that facilitates readers’ grasp of new topics. Heidi’s articles provide valuable insights and tactics that readers can readily apply to their current marketing plans to better engage prospects, customers and the public.

Find her on Twitter at @heidicohen.

Graham Robertson…Beloved Brands blog

Beloved BrandsThe reason why Graham Robertson started Beloved Brands Inc. was to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand. He only does two things: 1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.

He has a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth. And he loves to make Brand Leaders better by sharing his knowledge. He’s a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.

Find him on Twitter at @GrayRobertson1.

Michael Gass…FUEL LINES Fueling Ad Agency New Business Through Social Media

Fuel LinesMichael Gass is an international new business consultant to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. Since 2007, he has led in the use of social media and content marketing strategies to make agency new business EASIER.  He is the founder of Fuel Lines, which has been rated among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world, according to Ad Age’s Power 150.

Find him on Twitter at @michaelgass.

Timothy Carter…Timothy Carter – Thoughts on Search Marketing, SEO, Social Media and Brand Building for Business

Timothy Carter siteTimothy Carter is a social media marketing consultant, speaker and trainer of individuals and companies to optimize their online personal and company presence and brand.

This blog is an outlet for him to write about all things to do with Social Media and Online Marketing which includes Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube or whatever he thinks about or what catches his interest in the digital marketing world, from search engine optimization, to social media marketing ideas.

Find him on Twitter at @TimothyCarter.

Kim Garst Boom! Social boomsocial.net Better Solutions, BIGGER Results!

Boom SocialKim Garst is the CEO of Boom! Social. She is the author of The Quick and Easy Guide to Branding Your Business and Creating Massive Sales with Pinterest and she speaks and trains business owners worldwide.

Times have changed and marketing online has hit a revolution era. Marketing is no longer about one-sided conversation where you push your sales message at your target market. Rather, successful marketing is dependent upon your ability to build relationships and have conversations with your consumers using social media.

She helps companies identify and build their personal brand online; incorporating the social media aspects and obtaining REAL results for your business in a social world.

Find her on Twitter at @kimgarst.

Peg Fitzpatrick…Positively Peggy  Social media sparkle, marketing pro and positive vibe producer

Positively PeggyRockin’ a positive attitude • passionate about social media • writer • and so much more!

Peg loves sharing her inspirational thoughts and helping others learn social media through her blog. Covering all the major social media platforms, she frequently hears “you’re everywhere!” She’s passionate about life, social media, and inspiring others to be their best.

Find her on Twitter at @PegFitzpatrick.

Mike Brown…Brainzooming Catalyzing innovative business success

BrainzoomingMike Brown is the founder of the The Brainzooming™ Group.  He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results.

Mike Brown is the author of the e-book, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation,” a guide to breaking through personal challenges to living a more creative and innovation-oriented life. Additionally, he authors the daily Brainzooming blog on strategy, creativity, and innovation.

Find him on Twitter at @Brainzooming.

Jeff Bullas…jeffbullas.com

JeffBullas.comJeff Bullas is a consultant, coach, mentor and speaker and work with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and company presence and brand with digital marketing and social media through the use of social media channels and other web and mobile technologies.

This blog is about all things to do with Social Media and Online Marketing, including Twitter, Blogging, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and inbound and content marketing.

This blog is also about using the internet to help business and individuals to market themselves efficiently not in an intrusive way through interruption marketing but engaging other people and companies in conversations that build trust and relationships.

Find him on Twitter at @jeffbullas.

Be sure to  also read the Channel Instincts blog  “10 Product Marketing Blogs You Need to Read” for more top marketing bloggers.

Is Your Marketing Thought Up or Thought Through?

Brand idea chartThe key difference between being “thought up and thought through” is to be:

  1. Driven by insights
  2. Obsessed with creativity and innovation
  3. Built on the foundation of a brand position
  4. Varying your message and method by stakeholder
  5. Focused on building long-term relationships

1.  Driven by insights

The first step to transforming your communications is to understand everything there is to know about your key consumer.  What is the demographic, mindset or other key traits that will help you understand your core consumer better?

And don’t assume that you can identify these key insights by just sitting in the office and sifting through point of sale data or old research.  Get out on store walks.

Go to every store, in multiple regions that carries your category.  Go in with an open mind and look at other categories besides your own.  Are there new, unique or interesting display or POP ideas?  How about packaging – what’s new and eye-catching?  How are others using graphics, product photos, lifestyle photos or color coding systems?

Treat this assessment process formally.  Take pictures, write-up your notes and share them as broadly as practical within the marketing, channel and brand teams.  Look for their advice as well to broaden your search for insights.

Then ask yourself what are the major drivers you uncovered?  How could you turn these into opportunities?

2.  Obsessed with creativity and innovation

You can have innovation in branding, not just in new products.  How can you be innovative with your brand strategy?  Your communication tools?  Your media strategy?  Your packaging and merchandising?

Even your customer engagement strategy can be made richer with insights.  How would your customer think of your company if you are sharing insights on:

  • How their shopper and your core customer overlap
  • How they shop
  • Why they buy the category

Try this: approach the competition’s product line with the mindset of how might they position their brand and offering at this retailer?  What would be their sales pitch to upset your placement?  Dig deep into understanding their product offering.  Is it innovative?  Is it the best value?  How does your core consumer view them relative to your brand?

3.  Brand position is the consistent foundation

Everything you do should be built off of your brand position.  Make sure you have it distilled down to the core essence.  A brand position is NOT “we are the world leaders in…”  And it certainly isn’t your tagline.

The brand position should be built from your insights – to get you from “what you do” to “why you do it.”  This is the foundation of the emotional connection you will make with your core consumer.

From the brand position, you will be able to build out your:

  • Brand promise
  • Brand strategy
  • Brand plan
  • Tagline

4.  Varying your message and method by stakeholder

How do you start the conversation?  By recognizing that you need to develop specific content for specific groups.  You will have one message for internal audiences.  Another for consumers.  Yet another for customers.  Maybe even one for the communities you are located in.

The process is the same for each group of stakeholders:

  • Understand them better
  • Invite them to start or extend a relationship
  • Speak relevantly and authentically to them
  • Motivate them to consider buying our products and services
  • Become an active part of their lives

5.  Ongoing conversations build long-term relationships

Long-term relationships and ongoing conversations with stakeholders will intensify the brand experience.  The goal is to develop a program that is based around creating a relationship between your brand and consumers.

  • Listen to the conversations that are happening around your category
  • Develop a story to link and connect with those conversations
  • Reach out to key industry voices
  • Develop a relationship with purchase influencers (bloggers and social media)
  • Create a memorable and engaging persona for your brand
  • Leverage these relationships to generate new positive content and awareness
  • Tailor the message to the audience

The goal is to build lasting, relevant relationships with your consumers.

Define your brand and slam the door on the competition

Products become commodities without brand building.  What’s more, consumers are willing to pay more for brands they love.  But the real bottom line is this: competitors will define your brand if you don’t define it yourself.

This process will help you slam the door to the competition.