Best of Online Marketing

The 15 Most Influential Educators In Digital Marketing: 2015


The digital education landscape is ever-changing and ever-intricate. Teaching marketers, brands and businesses of all sizes how to get more ROI from digital is an exciting and innovative task. Because of that, we’ve seen lots of great marketing coaches, teachers and mentors helping people learn more about all the different niches in digital marketing.

digital marketing

On the half year mark, we’ve measured the most influential educators in the industry. We’ve taken a look at conferences, course engagement, activity and engagement with the audience, and are highlighting the 15 most influential educators in digital marketing for 2015 thus far.

The influencers highlighted in this year’s list are known for the following areas:

  • Concept innovation
  • Marketing relevance
  • Course penetration
  • Course comprehension
  • Practical application

With digital evolving so much in specific niches like social media, cross-platform marketing and agency services training, our education evolves as well. Adapting to change and learning new things is the theme underlying these marketers’ mantras. The leaders on this list show the most advanced, relevant ideas and practical education material in the industry.

Their taught marketing strategies help marketing professionals and brands, globally and at a constant, always-on speed. These leaders are known for their innovation and ease of application, and are a combination of bloggers, brands, teachers, mentors and speakers. Here’s the list of the 15 most influential educators in digital for 2015.

 Digital Marketing Educators 20151.  Neil Patel

Co-Founder | kissmetrics

Neil is one of the top marketers in the world, and walks the talk with 3 major influencer brands in digital. He was one of the leaders who preached the effectiveness of blogging (and content marketing in general) as a tool, long before it was mainstream. As the years have gone by, his personal brand’s blog has evolved into one of the best blogs on the internet.

A master of pushing the edge of marketing efforts and measuring their effectiveness, Neil always brings things back to ROI. From testing out lifestyle marketing, social media, and personal branding, Neil has a masterful way of writing that motivates you to market and leaves you feeling like you’ve learned a ton.

Digital Marketing Educators 20152.  Ryan Holiday


Speaker, Author & Teacher | @ryanholiday

Ryan’s worked with some of the most successful projects in the industry and is known for launching projects with large success. He understands the media, and knows how to gain loyalty quickly and get users to stick to the brand. He’s also one of the most sought after teachers in the industry.

We’ve been watching his work for years, and in 2015, he’s been teaching fellow marketers how to break through the never-ending content overload, and how to stay focused. He’s got one of the most respected book lists out there, and we LOVE all of the books on it.

Digital Marketing Educators 20153.  Phil Pallen

Brand Strategist |

Phil was holding strong on our last marketing strategy ranking because he’s helped many people without digital backgrounds to build their brands. Today he’s on the list again, because of the new strategic direction he’s moving toward on his blog,

His coaching is a masterful combination of teaching personal branding, understanding the audience and motivating each brand to gain media attention, and how to recover from crisis, too. These areas aren’t much of a focus in the general digital population, but Phil understands how critical they are.

Digital Marketing Educators 20154.   Neal Schaffer

President | Maximize Your Social | @nealschaffer

Neal’s a dynamic teacher who works great in front of crowds. It’s a skill set not everyone has and it’s extremely valuable. Noted as the LinkedIn expert, Neal’s 2015 strategies so far are cutting edge. He talks recently, in a post on his curated marketing strategy, about how carefully choosing your LinkedIn network can benefit you in a big way.

Neal moves around a lot, but if he’s ever near you, listen carefully about how to leverage making connections on social networks to extend your real network’s reach. Neal is one of the hardest working leaders this year, and offers podcasts and just about every other form of marketing communication to learn from.

Digital Marketing Educators 20155.  Mari Smith

Speaker, Coach & Author |

Mari is one of our most inspirational teachers in the business. She’s constantly doing a blog, podcast or coaching session about how to market better on social media. Facebook is her specialty and, coming up in the next few months, Mari will be helping Facebook by teaching at a series of pop up events. What can you expect? It’s all about practical advice.

The last time I heard Mari on a topic, I took a full page of notes. No one matches Mari when it comes to understanding timing, messaging and the technical details needed to get as much ROI as possible out of your social efforts. This year alone she’s been more innovative than anyone else in social, with a series of game-changing author pieces about the new marketing on Facebook – and it’s this that helped secure her spot on our list.

Digital Marketing Educators 20156.  Martin Shervington

Chief Singularity Officer | Plus Your Business      @MartinSherv

Martin’s got a knack for teaching and training at a level that few can operate on. It’s in his delivery and mindset on new marketing strategies that we find the innovation that lands him on this list. In addition to his site, he evangelizes at and is a dynamic speaker. If you ever get the chance to see him at a conference, listen and take plenty of notes. Until then, check out his many eLearning classes via OMI.

Martin’s the Google+ guy, and in the remaining half of 2015, it will be a more competitive space than ever. Following Martin’s principles on his blog will give you more reach, and teach you how to market with your audience (or create one) on Google+. Too many businesses and marketers are overlooking Google+, and Martin is there to explain why that’s a big problem.

Digital Marketing Educators 20157.  Kevin Popovic

Founder | IdeaHaus | @kevinpopovic

Kevin is hailed as the ‘King of Social Media’ by some heavy hitter brands in the industry, and has been teaching social media to brands relentlessly this year. His recent advanced teaching, about curating your brand before deciding to invest in social media, shows a new trend in an old stigma in the industry. Social media just isn’t for every brand.

Kevin teaches businesses that understanding when and how to achieve your marketing goals is the second part of the digital marketing marathon. The first part, for many, is knowing if social media is for you or not. Kevin’s style of education shows that careful strategy, with thought to brand image and audience, is the only way your business can reach its goals. Watch out for more of this type of teaching in the future from Kevin (and others if they’re smart!).

Digital Marketing Educators 20158.  Jessica Lee

Founder | BizBuzzContent | @BzzContent

Jessica’s eLearning courses with us on content marketing are some of the most informative and actionable pieces out there (and there’s more on the way!). Practical and engaging, Jessica provides the right formula for using great content for inbound marketing. Her Web Content Playbook feels like a practical guide to 2015 content strategy.

Before Jessica started her content boutique, she worked with top expert Bruce Clay. She’s one of the most innovative, forward-thinking strategist today, and has the background to support it. Some of her strategy is even featured in a college textbook, and we’re proud to have her strategy available on the OMI site.

Digital Marketing Educators 20159.  Bernie Borges

CEO and Founder | Find and Convert | @BernieBorges

Bernie has one of the most unique teaching abilities in the industry. He’s recently been teaching about one of the most interesting topics for me in the industry, influencer marketing. There are niche social media stars in every industry on YouTube, Facebook and everywhere. Connecting these influencers with the right brands, in front of the right audiences, is one of the keys to digital success in 2016 and beyond.

If you want to get ahead of this shift, start doing your research and listen to Bernie, because he’s onto something. Renowned as one of the most respected teachers in digital, we’re happy to highlight what Bernie’s taught this year.

Digital Marketing Educators 201510.  Chad Pollitt

Co-founder | | @chadpollitt

Chad’s experiences span both content marketing and social. He’s made the Forbes Top 100 list for Ad Agencies in Social Content, and is an all-around great teacher. We’ve enjoyed our partnership with him, featuring his eLearning classes, and our subscribers have as well.

This year, he’s on our list for teaching fresh strategy on how to make content work to drive traffic quickly, and how to incentivize brand loyalty. You’ll find his authored pieces in numerous large media publications and his courses on our website.

Digital Marketing Educators 201511.  John Lee Dumas

Founder | Entrepreneur On Fire | @johnleedumas

John has been one of the industry’s most active marketers for a long time, and this year, he’s been especially on fire (pun intended). We’ve been following his podcast, where he’s got an incredible knack for discussing practical, relevant teachings that help you achieve your business goals.

As a host, he’s got a ton of knowledge and is one of the best for leading by example in the industry. Anyone can learn valuable takeaways from John, specifically in building a loyal audience that keep coming back for more. His podcast is one of the most popular in the industry, so listen and learn.

Digital Marketing Educators 201512.  Chris Boggs

Chairman | | @boggles

Chris specializes in design and conversion, as well as both paid and organic marketing. He’s got years of valuable experience in understanding a brand’s audience, and knowing what to recommend for specific goals. It’s something no marketer should miss in his eLearning course – he masters this flawlessly. His 2015 strategy is cutting edge because he teaches cross platform strategy.

Chris serves as a board member on a number of industry-leading search brands. You can hear Chris’s 2015 strategy in his OMI eclasses with your membership, and his All Star summit session (coming soon!).

Digital Marketing Educators 201513.  Courtney Herda

 President | Smarter Searches | @courtneyherda

Courtney helps small businesses by teaching them how to drive traffic to their site. She’s got 8 years of experience in optimizing local businesses for search engines, and doing the same for national brands as well. Her OMI eLearning classes take a deep dive into how to leverage optimized technical and off-page assets to drive traffic.

This specific niche of the industry is the fastest changing, and Courtney’s 2015 principles are some of the most innovative in the industry, probably because she’s worked in some of the most competitive industries online.

Digital Marketing Educators 201514.  Ouali Benmeziane


Ouali runs one of the top conference events in the industry currently, and also takes the time to instruct marketers in an often-neglected area. He’s an expert in all things organization, events, and promotion online. What’s little known is that he often can give more practical advice than many other speakers.

Located in Los Angeles, Ouali is constantly organizing some of the best teachers in the industry for his events. He is easily someone we all can learn more from, particularly when it comes to the exploding niche of virtual and in-person learning and marketing events.

Digital Marketing Educators 201515.  Mary Wallace

VP Marketing Services |

Mary teaches some of the most popular courses in the OMI catalogue. For 2015 she’s focusing on business to business marketing campaigns. In this little-covered niche, Mary is a huge help to B2B focused brands, and teaches how to take something boring and drive traffic through storytelling and other strategy.

She’s been in the industry for over 25 years and uses a fresh look at consistent testing and analytics to prove her marketing model. She’s one of the most advanced analytics teachers around.

There it is, your list of innovators in the industry halfway through 2015. Since things change so quickly in our industry, you’ll want to follow these industry leaders and learn as much as you can from the course material. Our instructors are here to help you achieve marketing success.

With so many voices in the industry, we want to give some added direction into niche, leadership, format and dynamic of who we know will benefit you the most. We’d love to hear from you as well, contact us for any questions or sign up now and start getting more out of digital.


3 Macro Trends Driving Massive Growth for Digital Coaches


Here are the Top 3 Macro Trends that are creating incredible opportunities for digital coaches around the world. Following that are my 4 proven tactics that top experts are using to accelerate their personal brands and launch powerful businesses.

Trend 1: Business Economics Work aka Proliferation of the Collaborative Economy

Giving consumers direct access to products and expertise is where it’s at. By skipping the big corporations and going right to the person selling the service or product is the way of the future. From eBay to Kickstarter, PopExpert to Craigslist, this is evident. The emergence of great Business-to-Business-to-Consumer platforms like Uber, Kickstarter, and even Amazon further sets the tone for this paradigm shift.

These are all lining the path to giving an outlet for those with great products/services to reach the masses. And this will only accelerate in 2015.

Related Class: Social Collaboration: Turning Loyalty into Demand


Trend 2: Video Above All Other Content

It’s clear. Video is where most everyone spends their time. 70% of online time is spent viewing video. Not even Facebook can match that. Consumers are ready, willing, and able (to pay) to engage with either live video or on-demand in a massively adopted way.

3 Macro Trends Driving Massive Growth for Digital Coaches Video Coaching


Trend 3: The Mass Movement of Entrepreneurial Empowerment

The need to run your own business, control your own destiny and just have the gumption to do it is here .. and in a big way.  So with so many offering their knowledge as service on it’s own, the market has just gotten a lot bigger and critical mass of options for consumers is now in place.


The question then becomes… How do I take advantage of these macro trends and grow my business?

As an expert in any discipline, from Digital Marketing to Mindful-Life Coach, Yoga Instructor, and Nutritionist, it’s simply the cost of doing business to have a good plan to capture and ride this big wave of change.

The formula is simple:

1.)   Have a powerful digital presence that creates opportunities to discover and engage with new clients.

2.)   Create a strong reputation for yourself and back that up with credibility online.

3.)   Provide compelling ways to engage with your knowledge.


Here are the top 4 tactics that successful digital coaches are using to drive more customer acquisition in 2015.


1. Capture Google - Blog

Creating high quality, meaningful blog content is the most important component to being great. It's a simple, easy, and highly achievable tactic. Having the discipline to write every week and build a great series of posts that demonstrates your knowledge and thought leadership will go miles for building your online reputation.

The key is doing research to the topical pain points you want to help people with, and then build a content publishing calendar for yourself that you stick to.


2. Capture Apple - Podcast

An incredible amount of traffic comes through iTunes. If you can create a good podcast series that aligns with your blog calendar, you will build a set of subscribers and followers that engage with multiple content mediums from within your arsenal. Good audio equipment is a must. 

3 Macro Trends Driving Massive Growth for Digital Coaches

3. Online Video

This is the secret sauce. Once you have great written content, video is the next logical step, and it gives you an opportunity to connect with your audience on a much deeper level. Your personality, your passion, your energy. Only video captures that completely.

Creating a series of high quality videos (consider renting a nice camera or partner with someone willing to co-create quality video that has a crew) goes much further to demonstrate your knowledge. You can utilize the existing presentations you already give at conferences or clients, and turn it into a video series that someone can actually purchase. This will show that you can provide a high amount of value for your clients.

There are 4 general types of video formats to consider:

  • On-Demand eLearning
  • Studio Quality Video Teasers
  • Good Ole Webinar (screen share video)
  • Live Video Coaching

Be careful to not to get lulled into thinking Google Hangouts or Skype is the answer to doing live video coaching well. It's now scalable and isn't very professional. Scheduling, payment systems, and a great user interface (my favorite example is PopExpert’s video coaching platform), will make you stand out from all that say “let’s just get on Skype” chatter and will save you an awkward ask for their credit card information.

Related Class: How to Engage Top Experts Using Video


4. Third Party Validation (the Online Referral)

Getting customers and other reputable experts to talk about you and share their great experiences with the world is the final leg in the stool. You need to get people to rate, review, and write about you & your work. Not just on Facebook and Twitter but across all web domains.

Third party credit building sites that drive good ratings and reviews are imperative. LinkedIn for the B2B side is critical. Yelps style platforms like the aforementioned PopExpert, will get you listed and allow you to host some good client ratings and testimonial style reviews.

Socially Shareable content is a must. The social proof of people sharing your content, retweeting it, and doing it all on your own profile, blog, or website is key. When folks see a blog post and notice that 100 other people have already tweeted it and 30 more shared it on facebook, your reputation will instantly jump. More importantly, Google SERPs love social validation, and this will push you up dramatically in the rankings.

In summary, get on the front end and top of these macro-societal trends. Build a great online presence with the Content Marketing tactics above, and you'll be on the fast track to growing your digital coaching business.


The Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015


The Online Marketing Institute is proud to recognize the Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015, chosen for their innovative contributions in the digital marketing community and dedication to creating online education opportunities for business owners, marketers, and students around the world. 

The list is comprised of distinguished OMI educators, authors, business owners, digital marketing professionals, contributors, and speakers, known for:

  • Creating and leading the adoption of the newest, most effective digital marketing strategies
  • Presenting incredible education opportunities through speaking engagements, blogging, and teaching
  • Delivering high-impact, positive results for their clients and organizations

With new technologies and trends the likes of retargeting, content marketing, mobile adoption, and video content all moving into the forefront of digital marketing for 2015, the landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace. It's crucial that marketers around the world embrace changes, stay current with proven best practices, seek new opportunities, and take calculated risks to stay ahead of the competition. Through their involvement in the professional community, whether speaking, blogging, or teaching, these leaders are empowering marketers to do exactly that. 

In conjunction with this announcement, we asked these top online marketers to share the #1 area of digital marketing that all businesses need to be focusing on for 2015. We'll be releasing their insights in a series of upcoming blog posts over the next few weeks. Several of these experts are also participating in our Free Virtual Event, the First Annual Get Better @ Week starting on Jan 19, 2015!

Here is our annual list of Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015 in alphabetical order:


1. Kim AlbeeKim Albee, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President and Founder, Genoo Marketing Automation | @kimalbee

Among many other contributions to the digital marketing space over the past 23 years, Kim Albee is the President and Founder of Genoo, LLC, a software-as-a-service suite of tools that allow marketers to generate messaging, drive traffic, create demand and pass intelligent lead information on to their sales departments to build relationships. Kim has also been a longtime proponent of creating eLearning opportunities and sharing her experience in the digital marketing industry with aspiring marketers, through her Digital Marketing Certification curriculum.


2. John Baker John Baker, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President at dotJWT Worldwide | @jmbak

As the President of dotJWT for J. Walter Thomas, one of the world's best known marketing communication brands with over 150 years in the business, John drives strategy in digital technology adoption for the company. Pulling from over 25 years of international marketing experience and consulting, John is a regular blogger and educator on industry trends and analysis.


3. Susan Baroncini-Moe

Executive Coach, Marketing Strategist, Author, Business in Blue Jeans | @suebmoe

Susan Baroncini-Moe is the author of the bestselling, Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style. She is an executive coach and a marketing consultant for B2B and the wellness and hospitality industries. She regularly speaks to audiences of all sizes and has shared the stage with business giants like Michael E. Gerber, Bob Burg, and Larry Winget, among others. Susan and her businesses have been featured in Redbook Magazine, USA Today, MSN Living, Investor’s Business Daily, Yahoo Finance, and American Express Open Forum, and she is a Guinness World Records® titleholder.

4. Rohit Bhargava Rohit Bhargava, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO & Founder, Influential Marketing Group | @rohitbhargava 

Rohit is an author of five best selling books on digital marketing, including Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity and How Great Brands Get it Back, featuring contributions from Guy Kawasaki. As the founder of the Influential Marketing Group and over 10 years of experience at digital agencies, Rohit has advised global brands the likes of Intel, Lenovo, Unilever, Novartis, Pfizer, and Marriott on communications strategy, storytelling, and how to build an authentic image. Rohit is also a professor at Georgetown University, where he's renowned for his signature course on Global Marketing in the Age of Social Media.


5. Bernie Borges Bernie Borges, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO and Founder, Find and Convert | @bernieborges

Bernie is a longtime speaker, blogger, and educator in the online marketing space. As the CEO and Founder of Find and Convert, a digital marketing agency and HubSpot partner of over 12 years, he has become well known in the industry for his digital tv show and podcast, The Social Business Engine which showcases practitioners and thoughts leaders succeeding on their social business journey. Bernie also participates in regular speaking engagements and presentations around the US, and is a former faculty member of the American Marketing Association.


6. Lisa Buyer

CEO, The Buyer Group@lisabuyer

Social PR author, evangelist, journalist and publicist. Author of Social PR Secrets and named one of the top 40 Digital Strategists for 2013, Lisa Buyer is passionate and ambitious about how public relations, social media and online marketing influence each other. She is president and CEO of The Buyer Group, an interactive public relations and social agency located in Celebration, Florida and editor for Social #PR Chat covering trends in social PR, mobile PR, brand PR and SEO PR. Lisa writes for several industry publications covering how public relations influences search and social and is a regular speaker with PubCon, SMX, ClickZLive (formerly SES) and OMI. She is also an instructor of the University of San Francisco’s online Advanced Social Media certificate program. Lisa graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism. Go Gators! Her favorite hashtags are #yoga, #sunsets and #surfing. 


7. Thom Craver Thom Craver, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Vice President of Development & IT, Internet Marketing Ninjas | @thomcraver

Thom is a technology innovator at Internet Marketing Ninjas, one of the world's best quality link building companies. He currently leads a team of 16, including web designers, developers, programmers, and system engineers in driving strategy and creating more efficient processes. Thom is a regular contributor to Search Engine Watch, speaker at ClickZ Live Conferences around North America, and was the keynote speaker at a Tedx Event in 2013. Thom also has over 20 years of classroom experience and creating curriculum for the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.

8. Courtney Herda Courtney Herda, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President, Smarter Searches | @courtneyherda

What are you doing to improve the value of your website? If you have the opportunity to chat with Courtney about your business, you're definitely going to hear that question. Courtney has more than seven years of experience in content creation, optimization, sales, and retention of successful PPC, SEO and social media campaigns for companies of all sizes. After running search engine marketing for TV personality and financial speaker Dave Ramsey, Courtney launched Smarter Searches, her digital marketing consultancy. She has rapidly become an authority on search engine strategies and landing page optimization. Courtney was also recently interviewed in Forbes on how to get started with Google+ for Beginners and Businesses Alike.


9. Victoria Ipri Victoria Ipri, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Founder, Learn LinkedIn Fast | @victoriaipri

Victoria is an independent marketing consultant, focusing on teaching LinkedIn strategy and works largely with small B2B businesses to improve online marketing and lead generation results on LinkedIn. She is the founder of many successful LinkedIn groups, representing thousands of active members, and is regularly cited as a Top Influencer on Linkedin. Victoria is a sought-after speaker and author of the popular ebooks “Social Media for the Clueless,” "LinkedIn For The Clueless," and “How to Sell Your Book Using LinkedIn.” She holds a masters certificate in Advanced Internet Marketing from the University of San Francisco, and lives in Philadelphia, PA.


10. Thad Kahlow 

Thad Kahlow, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO, BusinessOnline

Thad has been in the internet marketing industry for over 16 years and has developed a wealth of experience in Search Engine Optimization, Web Analytics, and Interactive Marketing. Since being featured on the Inc 5000 list in 2011 and 2012 with his digital marketing agency, BusinessOnline, Thad has become a regular contributor to iMedia, ERA and B2B Magazine. He has also presented on how to drive meaningful and highly targeted web traffic at industry and executive conferences including the DMA, HTMA, AMT and Online Marketing Summit.


11. Kent Lewis Kent Lewis, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President and Founder, Anvil Media | @kentlewis

Kent founded Anvil Media, an integrated marketing agency specializing in analytics, search engine & social media marketing 19 years ago. Under his leadership, Anvil has received recognition from Portland Business Journal & Inc. Magazine as a Fastest Growing & Most Philanthropic Company. Kent regularly speaks at digital marketing industry events and has been published in several books and publications including Business2Community, iMedia Connection, Online Marketing Summit, and Portland Business Journal. Kent was also recently recognized as a Top 25 Most Influential Pay-per-Click Expert and the Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association, Oregon chapter.


12. Phil Pallen Phil Pallen, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Brand Strategist, Phil Pallen Collective | @philpallen

Author of the acclaimed, Shut Up and Tweet, Phil Pallen represents a new breed of digital brand strategists. In a world of interconnectivity, Phil's approach is that social media and visual identity are now truly co-dependent, essential pieces of a brand. Phil builds brands for TV personalities, public figures, and entrepreneurs around the world. As an avid writer, podcast publisher, and twitter aficionado, Phil keeps a pulse on the latest technologies and trends that determine what success looks like online. Join his new e-series and change the way you think about branding today.


13. Chad Pollitt Chad Pollitt, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

VP of Audience, Co-Founder, | @chadpollitt

Chad co-founded, the world's first online publication dedicated solely to highlighting the content marketing industry. A member of the Forbes Top 100 list for global ad agencies in social content, Chad also authored "51 Things Your Mother Taught You About Inbound Marketing." He has contributed to industry media outlets, including the Guardian, Huffington Post, Social Media Today, Business2Community, and LinkedIn. In his free eBook, The Content Promotion Manifesto, Chad lays a foundation for content marketers to have successful and profitable campaigns in a short amount of time, while simultaneously building a lasting audience.

14. Kevin Popović 

Founder & CEO, Ideahaus | @kevinpopovic

As the founder of Ideahaus, Kevin drives strategy for one of the world's leading creative communications agencies, serving B2B, B2C and Non-Profit organizations that want to build their brands and increase sales. In 2010, Kevin was ranked #43 in Fast Company's The Influence Project measuring the "most influential people online." His latest book, 20YEARS Communications is looked to as an authority on the evolution of communications, and provides insight as to where communications was, is, and will go in the future.


15. Neal Schaffer Neal Schaffer, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President, Maximize Your Social | @nealschaffer

Neal has been a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer for two years in a row. Also recognized as a Forbes Top 5 Social Sales Influencer, he has made an incredible impact on social media education through eLearning opportunities online and through his consultancy, Maximize Your Social. Neal is a global social media speaker who has spoken at over 200 events across three continents since 2009, and is a regular contributor to leading online publications. Neal also teaches as part of the Rutgers University Business School Mini Social Media MBA Program and is soon launching his Social Media Center for Excellence to continue down the path of offering meaningful online learning opportunities in the digital marketing space.


16. Miriam SlozbergMiriam Slozberg,Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute.png

Social Media & SEO Consultant, Gemini Rising | @msmir

Over the past 4 years through her digital marketing consultancy, Miriam has worked with Sears, Whirlpool, and Hero Burgers on social media management and modern SEO techniques, including blog writing and keyword-driven unique content. With a Klout score of 79, it's safe to say Miriam knows what works and what doesn't when it comes to social media engagement. She runs an online coaching course, Social Influence University, to help entrepreneurs harness the potential of social media. Miriam was also named one of AGBeat's Top 50 Influencers of 2014 for social media evangelism and expertise. She's a regular contributor in The Boston Globe, Fortune, Worth, on radio shows, podcasts and blogs as a social media expert.


17. Debra Smallman Debra Smallman,Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO, Kaberg Consulting | @debras

Debra Smallman has over 20 years of media experience in both traditional and digital marketing. Debra has held several roles as Senior VP in major media agencies around the United States, and started her own consulting agency, Kaberg Consulting, 15 years ago. Through her consultancy, Debra leads strategy and focuses on providing consultation to numerous agencies and clients across a variety of industries and demographics.

18. Jamie Smith Jamie Smith,Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

VP of Growth, | @jamiesmithnow

Jamie founded Engine Ready Software, a strategic marketing service, and just recently successfully sold the business to another digital agency. Jamie has over 10 years of Internet Marketing experience, continually staying on top of the newest opportunities in the ever-changing Internet business landscape. He now also works with, a search marketing competitive intelligence provider. It's used by business owners, marketing managers, and agencies to quickly optimize SEO, AdWords and other PPC campaigns using information from what their top competitors are doing.


19. Brian Solis Brian Solis, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group | @briansolis

Brian is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders, speakers, and published authors in new technology and digital anthropology. He's the Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, his research and consulting firm that helps companies understand and act on digital disruption. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. One of his most popular books, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.


20. Jeannie Walters Jeannie Walters, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO & Chief Customer Experience Investigator, 360 Connext | @jeanniecw

Jeannie is a world renowned customer experience speaker, writer, and consultant with more than 15 years experience in assisting all types of companies, including Fortune 500 to better empower and satisfy their customers. Jeannie has spoken at TEDx conferences, and has been awarded the Businesswoman of the Year by the Business Ledger and as An Outstanding Woman of Achievement by the Girl Scouts of America for her active leadership in numerous women's organizations.


Know someone else who should be on this list? Share your pick for the top digital marketer by tagging them in the comments below.


7 Game Changing Marketing Trends to Engage Customers and Build Your Brand


Given the need for speed and agility, a critical priority for marketers is to reevaluate your current marketing strategies to determine if they are achieving two key objectives; competitively differentiating your brand and engaging customers across the multichannel mix.Lays - Do Us A Flavor

Here are 7 game changing marketing trends you need to consider as you reevaluate your strategies. As you read these trends you’ll see that they address these key customer needs and expectations:

  • Empowering the buyer to become an active participant in their experience
  • Increasing relevance
  • Increasing differentiation and engagement
  • Solving problems and needs.

#1 Extreme Creativity

Extreme creativity is now required to help you achieve competitive differentiation in an increasingly cluttered and distracted market.

To target business decision makers and reinforce their message of big technology and big data to increase efficiency, GE used extreme creativity in the form of popular Sci-Fi movies in their “Brilliant machines” campaign. The TV spots use creative approaches to show how GE can solve major problems. GE also launched an innovative social campaign which generated 200,000 social engagements across #GEInstaWalk posts, 3.5 million unique viewers and over 3,000 new followers to the GE account.

#2 New Technology

There is a constant stream of new technology to enhance user experiences at every touch point. What’s key is to understand how your specific customers want to use technology to improve their experience with your brand.

HDFC Bank, winners of the Gartner CRM Excellence award, used technology to unify sales, service, and relationship management processes for a concerted CRM experience across all channels and devices, including branch, internet and mobile banking. This integrated, technology-based solution covered more than 40,000 users and its entire 3400+ branch network. The bottom line is that this new use of technology resulted in many improvements including reducing customer complaints by 30%.

#3 True Personalization

According to the 6th Annual Personalization Consumer Survey“consumers expect and desire personalization throughout their online shopping experience. And, 83% see value in being recognized with personalized experiences across channels.”

LE TOTE, an online shopping platform that launched in 2013 breaks new ground in the online fashion shopping experience through true personalization. The company’s personalization algorithm presents merchandise to each customer based on their supplied personalization elements such as measurements, age, location, as well as the items placed into their online “dream closet.” It has achieved rapid success because it provides a uniquely personalized online shopping experience.

#4 Leveraging the Power of Community

The power of community has taken consumer participation to a whole new level by empowering traditionally passive buyers and turning them into active brand contributors.

A powerful example is Quirky, which provides potential inventors with an online “store” to bring merchandise “made by real people” to audiences of “real people.” The concept of empowering the community to vote on which new product ideas have potential and should go into manufacturing, resonates. This community wants to participate in every facet of the process; from idea to development, marketing and ultimately buying these products. This very active community of over 200,000 people is able to vote, rate, and comment on potential new products.

Other notable community marketing campaigns are Lays, “Do us a Flavor”,Crocs social media contest (to vote on new products) and Sharknado2 ‘s fund raising efforts. All of these work because they actively engage fans by allowing them to become participants in the experience. Additionally, it gives brands relevant consumer insights about market preferences.

#5 Embracing the real customer journey

The path to purchase of your buyer is one that every business needs to understand in order to offer necessary education and a seamless experience. Understanding the path to purchase lets you make it simple and easy for people to do business with you.

Online travel site, TripIt believes that the customer journey is not a series of events, but a continuous experience. “It’s about the journey we’re on with the customer,” director of marketing Elisa Haidt. The company gives customers a way to make real-world journeys easier by organizing a trip into a master itinerary. A recent promotion for customers with one-year anniversaries offered a trial version of the premium version which resulted in a 900 percent increase in adoption because it integrated the buying journey into the fully-rounded customer experience.

#6 Multiscreen communication

Whether B2B or B2C, customers are accessing content on a multiple screens. According to new data from Usablenet; mobile traffic to BtoB sites will soon outpace B2C traffic and 52% of business people reported that they are using mobile devices to research products for their businesses.

Microsoft Advertising’s Cross-Screen Engagement study found that 68% of consumers engage in “content grazing,” multi-tasking using several devices at once. This leaves marketers with the challenge of rethinking how they present marketing messages so they deliver a good user experience no matter how the customer is digesting online content. At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity the company showcased a campaign by Lexus using Microsoft solutions for a multi-screen consumer experience.

Related Class: Video and Multiscreen Strategies

#7 Location based marketing

Though this trend is still somewhat controversial, there is no doubt that location-based marketing is here to stay. The ability to use location to target consumers with messages based on not just who they are, but where they are, opens up tremendous opportunities for marketers.

An innovative example is a geo-based deal engine that connects merchants and consumers via a mobile marketing platform. The service lets 8,000 restaurants publish over 10,000 deals “real-time” and “instant offers” to nearby consumers, who download the app to use the service. The company recently ran its first media awareness campaign which increased traffic by nearly 250 percent, showing that consumers are warming up to the benefits of sharing their location info in exchange for a discount at a nearby business.

Additionally, many online location-based price comparison services, have embraced the popular consumer trends of location-based mobile shopping as well as the phenomenon of “showrooming” (checking prices on a mobile device while in a brick and mortar location.) RedLaser, lets shoppers access current deals at local stores or scan the product’s barcode, to discover if a better price is close by. This works because rather than being targeted, customers are offering up their location to seek out helpful information.

We live in exciting times. Innovation is marketing’s best friend. We hope you’ll think about how these 7 marketing trends can transform the quality, relevance and ROI of your marketing.

For more on the latest digital marketing trends, visit Online Marketing Institute's eLearning library of over 400+ classes on digital marketing - from Intro to Social Media to Advanced Retargeting and everything in-between.


Report Takeaways: 5 Questions to Ask Every eLearning Provider in Digital & Social Media


A Second Look: The Initial Findings of the eLearning Vendor Landscape Report 

OMI’s full report on eLearning vendors will be out in the coming weeks – but until then, I’m sharing some of the initial findings, in hopes that they’ll prove useful for decision-makers in this critical area. You’ll find the first half of this report preview here on the OMI blog; it focuses on the 5 categories of eLearning vendors, and the benefits and drawbacks of choosing each for your business.

Here, we’ll look closer at our major takeaways from the early stages of the report, and sum them up with critical questions you should be asking any eLearning provider before you commit to their services. For some businesses, choosing an eLearning provider feels a bit like checking off a box, necessary but not a priority. These questions should help connect your business with the provider that can really engage your employees and create the results you’d like to see in your team.

1. Customization is the Killer.

Q: Can you customize (and to what degree)?

It’s not great news – we’ve definitely noticed that customization is completely missing from most eLearning subscription providers. Those who do offer it charge exorbitant fees for the privilege of tailoring your service. There are few businesses that wouldn’t benefit from customized eLearning over a general subscription to a vast library of classes, but it’s unfortunately hard to get.

The Numbers: 9 out of 11 eLearning providers offer little to NO customization.

2. Nice Dress, but – How Deep is Your Soul?

Q: How focused on digital are you? Can I see a full course on _____<fill in blank>?

Lip service from trainers is still the common denominator in eLearning. Every provider will show you a flashy demo to wow you into opening up the checkbook – but have you really seen what they offer below the surface? Many have nothing at all in the way of depth when it comes to content, offering only limited libraries. Ask careful questions (and ideally watch a few classes yourself) to see if they are more than a pretty face. Ask how many classes they offer that are ‘how to’ vs. ‘strategy,’ or ‘101’ vs. ‘advanced,’ and go into sub-topics like Facebook Analytics for Social Media.

The Numbers: 8 out of 11 eLearning providers don’t have more than 20 online classes (as a video of 15 minutes or more).

Related Class: Metrics that Matter in Social Media

3. Don’t Host a Party if Nobody’s Going to Come to It.

Q: What’s the typical Engagement Rate for your customers?

If you’re investing in an eLearning provider, you should expect that they’ll help you achieve your goals. This should definitely include getting your employees engaged with your program. Many businesses try to create excitement and engagement in-house, but be realistic – doing this internally will kill you (and we’ve seen the bodies to prove it). Without a team to see it through, your investment will end up in the LMS License Graveyard.

The Numbers: 100% of all LMS providers told us they really don’t specialize in how to create a great learning environment to drive engagement and demonstrate success. They are just a platform to place content. 

4. Allowance is for Kids. 

Q: Will my employees actually learn something if I give them $1000 allowance?

Allowances are for teenagers, not a professional education program. You can’t just give your employees a stipend to take classes or do a course, and feel good about providing for their career development. Without goals and measurable achievements, it won’t go anywhere.

The Numbers: 7 out of 10 folks said that this is how they solve the need for learning and development (agenices were 8.5 out of 10).

5.  One Man Band vs. a Full Orchestra.

Q: How have you done this successfully before, and what resources did you use?

Many businesses are hiring a Learning & Development Manager, or relying on an HR/Talent Staffer. The results are pretty underwhelming. One trainer or talent professional is not going to bring company-wide learning and engagement, and certainly can’t provide certificate programs or other measurable successes. A provider that can cover all your bases – rather then just one – is better in almost every case.

The Numbers: Of all learning, training, and talent professionals, almost no one has built a successful program start to finish that has shown clear results.

And don’t forget the biggest rule of all…

You Get What You Pay for… Times 10!

Your options are not exactly endless, unfortunately. Often decision-making between eLearning providers can feel like choosing the lesser of two evils. If you buy a license or subscription to pre-canned classes and courses, it’s affordable but you’ll have a hard time getting even the most minimal engagement from employees. Or, you can pay the big bucks for bespoke, totally custom content – but with no parameters to define an outcome, you’ll get an initial uptick without long-term results to show for it (besides that big hole in the budget and some explaining to the boss!). Semi-custom solutions like digital eLearning providers exist and can be a great, economical solution, but they’re few and far between.

These initial findings show a lot of the limitations (and possibilities) of eLearning providers in general. It’s up to us, at the end of the day, to ask the right questions to be sure we get what’s best for the business, employee development, and the budget.

The full report is on its way – in the meantime, feel free to connect on LinkedIn, or email me ( for a copy of the report or to discuss the findings.


The Social Video Starter Guide [infographic]


When Susan Boyle performed her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent in 2010, she did more than “dream a dream.” She became an Internet sensation. Overnight, her Youtube clip’s views were boosted by 500% in less than 12 hours after the TV show aired. By the end of the year, the Susan Boyle clip had over 120 million views. But the mysterious intrigue of the clip wasn’t just about Susan’s Boyle’s talent – it was about the magical video sharing that occurred. Video has the power to connect to audiences in ways Facebook posts or Tweets simply can’t get across.

Related Class: Video Marketing & YouTube 101

So if you’re looking to expand your company’s online following, and you’ve set up all your major social media accounts, your work is only half done. Online accounts like YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo and Google Hangouts are great ways to catch viewers’ attention and tap into their emotional side. In the ever-developing field of digital evolution, it is fundamental now to try and catch your targeted consumers’ attention spans for as long as it takes to get them to re-share your content. Here are some tips to maximize your social video success online in a respectful and creative manner:



It's clear that video offers customers a different platform to engage and learn about your brand. In this Online Marketing Institute class, Best Practices for Business to Business Video, you'll learn how to create, implement, and launch videos that drive B2B engagement. Successful B2B video marketing strategies often include; calls to action on YouTube, engaged informative video content, and fully optimized video pages. Optimized video content on various platforms like YouTube, for example, can increase organic visibility and brand awareness. Best Practices for Business to Business Video, instructed by expert in marketing, Leslie Drate, provides the tools necessary to properly optimize videos that will lead to increased video engagement and greater brand awareness.


Your Ultimate “Back-to-School” Class Schedule, Part I


New & Trending Digital Marketing Classes for your eLearning Education

What’s all this hype about going “back-to-school”? Here at OMI, we like to think we are always in school and we’re lucky enough to have access to the latest on digital marketing trends and best practices from the best and the brightest teachers in the industry. We’ve identified the top trending classes in OMI’s eLearning library to help you prep your Fall class schedule.

4 Must-Take Digital Marketing Classes

Class #1: Building Your Mobile Strategy

Teacher: Joseph Kershcbaum, 3Q Digital @JoeKerschbaum

Overview: There’s no doubt that mobile is where it's at. How many of you are even reading this post off of your smart phone right now? It’s time marketers of all shapes and sizes – small businesses and start-ups, B2B, agencies and big consumer brands – think in all shapes and sizes. Mobile is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must have. This Building Your Mobile Strategy class will give you the know-how to stand out in the most coveted location of all – your customer’s smart phone devices.


  1.       How to utilize Google Adwords to effectively run PPC ads via mobile devices and grow your business
  2.        How to set up mobile ads via AdWords
  3.        How to approach mobile bid modifiers
  4.        How to create a mobile-friendly web experience

Level: Intermediate

Class #2: How To Use Big Data to Predict Sales and Forecast Revenue

Teacher: Amanda Kahlow, CEO & Founder, 6 Sense @AmandaKahlow

Overview: No, this is not a magic class. It’s a math class. By predicting when leads are ready to buy, you can leverage that information to deliver the most relevant and effective marketing, alert sales of leads and opportunities, and better measure marketing effectiveness. You’ll get hands-on experience to start to develop your own predictive analytics program by learning a proven model that works. Think of it as your very own “cheat sheet” for maximizing sales!


  1.        How Cisco predicted $300M net new opportunities last year and how you can too
  2.        How to use data to optimize and predict the success of your marketing spend, deliver more relevant marketing, and alert sales with leads and opportunities
  3.        A proven formula for identifying purchase intent
  4.        How to put your data to work for you without relying heavily on IT resources

Level: Advanced

Class #3: An Introduction to Social TV

Teacher: Carri Bugbee, Social TV Strategist, Big Deal Digital @CarriBugbee

Overview: This class is one of those classes that will get you out of bed in the morning as it uncovers the exciting ways brands that don’t technically advertise on TV can begin marketing to TV viewers. So, sit back and relax, because in under an hour, you will learn how connected devices, T-commerce, TV-centric social networks, interactive TV, transmedia storytelling, TV ad retargeting, and new ratings methods are changing how marketers can find and interact with consumers and prospects. Prepare to be “wow-ed”!


  1.        What social TV is and how it got started
  2.        Consumer trends and user behaviors driving social TV opportunities
  3.        Technologies that open up new venues for advertising, sponsorships and storytelling
  4.        Examples of social TV initiatives
  5.        How to get started in social TV marketing

Introduction to Social TV: Class Preview

Level: Basic

Class #4: The How-To’s of Using Google+

Teacher: Martin Shervington, Community Manager, Plus Your Business @MartinSherv

Overview: For those on the forefront of social media, Google + has by far changed the way we think about Search Engine Optimization. With the combination of Social and Search, you can now build a loyal community who will engage on your content, signaling to Google it deserves to surface in Search. In this class, you will learn the best practices for building a strong community on Google+ to improve your organization's search rankings. You’ll definitely want to be a part of this club!


  1.        How to build trust, reputation and authority in your niche
  2.        How to distribute structure posts for your content when distributed on Google+
  3.        How to increase engagement you receive for your on content, and in turn give HUGE uplifts to your web traffic
  4.        How to find, and build up relationships with key influencers (who will help to distribute your content)
  5.        How to build 'opt in' lists that will help with campaigns for key content

Level: Basic

Ready to take these classes on and learn more to stay ahead of the class? Enroll today in the Online Marketing Institute and you'll have access to hundreds of e-Learning classes.


40+ Ways to Improve Your Digital Strategy in 2014, Part Three


The Online Marketing Institute's Annual List of Top Digital Strategists Share Their Best Advice for Driving ROI.

Welcome to part-three of the top digital educators series. This part is focused on digital marketing as a whole, including data, search, and integrated strategy. If you missed part one and two, read about what top OMI strategists had to say about the future of social media, and part-two focused on best practices for B2B marketers in 2014.

To help marketers discover new opportunities for driving ROI, the Online Marketing Institute identified the top 40+ digital strategists, and asked them for their best advice for 2014. These are the digital leaders that are:

  1. Embracing the latest integrated digital strategies and technologies
  2. Advancing the industry through education — speaking, blogging, and teaching
  3. Driving game-changing results for their clients and organization



26. Focus on a user-centric approach

"The focus on a user-centric approach in marketing has never been more important than now. Yet it remains a formidable challenge for marketers to measure the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives in today’s always-on world. Here are some pointers to attain actionable insights, in our multi-channel/multi-screen world, on how your prospects interact with your brand, how you convert these prospects into customers, and how to retain your most profitable customers:1. Focus on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and know your customer segments. 2. Measure across channels, especially upper funnel activities and their impact on awareness and engagement. 3. Pay keen attention to your personas and content consumption, 4. Finally, tie all of the above to outcomes and conversions, that’s what really matters!"

– Feras Alhou, E-Nor, Inc.

Feras Alhlou is the principal consultant and co-founder of E-Nor, Inc., a digital analytics and marketing optimization firm serving some of the world’s most recognized brands and is a leading authorized reseller of Google Analytics Premium. Feras is a blogger and a frequent speaker at industry events including eMetrics, Google Analytics User Events, Tableau User Conference and others. He is a Certified Web Analyst and a co-chair of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) San Francisco Bay Area chapter.

27. Start with a face-to-face connection

"Digital Marketing is often thought of as a replacement for advertising. If you really want to make the most of your digital communications, start with a face to face connection, and continue the conversation online. You can do that through networking, presentations, workshops and simple coffee meeting. True, you can't meet everyone, but for the ones you do meet - Digital Marketing truly enhances those connections."

- Brian Basilico, B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc.

Director of Directions at B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc., Brian Basilico is a nationally recognized speaker, author, trainer and adjunct professor. He brings over 30 years of marketing experience to his award-winning Internet marketing company, B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc. Brian is a syndicated blogger, and has been featured as a guest expert in Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines, as well as various news articles, radio shows, and podcasts.


28. Create a digital marketing roadmap

"Our research shows that nearly 50% of marketers don't have a defined digital marketing plan - either separate or integrated into their marketing strategy. They are also "marketing in the moment" with no look a head beyond the current quarter or campaigns. You can certainly get results without a longer term roadmap, but you will miss out on the opportunities from strategic initiatives like Conversion Rate Optimisation, Marketing Automation and effective content marketing and which need a business case and implementation plan."

- Dave Chaffey, Smart Insights

Dr Dave Chaffey is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights, a digital strategy advice portal that helps businesses manage their online marketing activities to compete more effectively through practical guidance in templates, ebooks, video training, free blog posts and the weekly Emarketing Essentials newsletter. Dave is author of five bestselling books on Ecommerce including Emarketing Excellence has been recognized as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have shaped the future of marketing.

29. Learn from the way software developers work

"1. Look at how growth hackers are testing and breaking things to learn and improve performance. 2. Adopt Agile Marketing techniques to remain responsive and focused on highest value activities. 3. Get protoypes/creative in front of your targets early in the creative process to capture and incorporate real-time feedback."

- Frank Days, Correlsense

Frank Days is the VP of marketing at Correlsense, leading the marketing team for the Application Performance Management (APM) software company. Frank received his MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.




30. Develop metrics to express motivations behind consumer behavior

"With changes in platforms, algorithms, and technology, inbound digital marketing is growing up and brands need to step up their game. One area where brands really need to improve is analytics. Brands now must understand not only where visitors go on their own sites and what brought them there, but WHY. Metrics for sentiment analysis are not enough. We need to develop metrics to express digital influence and motivations behind consumers’ online behaviors."

- Angela Hausman, Hausman and Associates

Angela Hausman, PhD is a marketing professor at Howard University in DC. She also owns Hausman and Associates, a full-service firm operating at the intersection of marketing and social media. She blogs at Hausman Marketing Letter, where she shares marketing expertise with businesses and brands. Dr. Hausman has written over 100 scholarly articles, contributed to several books, and written an eBook on how to create social media marketing success, available free. She is a frequent contributor to Business2Community.


31. Think unbound marketing

"Unbound Marketing: Forget inbound vs. outbound. Instead, think UNbound. Move beyond a campaign mindset and focus on the essence of your story—the human truth that is useful, helpful or entertaining. Consider all the ways people could be exposed to your content and remember that they, not you, choose the adventure. Create a collection of micro-elements that flow freely across channels, formats and devices. And finally, get down to the brass tactics of connecting your audience to your content."

- Carmen Hill, Babcock & Jenkins

Carmen Hill is the Content and Social Media Director at Babcock & Jenkins, a leading B2B marketing agency, where she manages an award-winning content marketing practice and avidly pursue the best new ways to tell and share brand stories. Carmen has two decades of experience as a journalist, writer, marketer and content strategist. She is a SXSW speaker, webinar and industry roundtable presenter, guest blogger and active Twitterphile.


32. Optimize your site for mobile

"With 56% of all Americans owning a smartphone and 34% owning a tablet (as of June 2013), it is harmful to your business to not have an optimized website that automatically detects the user's browser and device and automatically accommodates. And I don't mean an website that only has 4 pages. It's worth it to spend the time and money to build an optimized website that allows users to access all your content, from whatever device they want. The conversion rates for tablets are double those of smartphones, so this is even more key for e-commerce websites. For local businesses, making sure your website is easily found via mobile devices can lead to instant customers. And this means regular revenue and visibility for your business online."

- Kelsey Jones, Search Engine Journal

Kelsey Jones is the editor of Search Engine Journal and owner of MoxieDot, which helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. Initially going into journalism and print writing, Kelsey’s B.A. in English and creative writing from Kansas State University has helped her craft content and internet marketing strategies for companies of all sizes. She has written for and worked with brands like Yelp, Gazelle, HeyWire, Under Armour, and Mizuno. Kelsey’s columns have been published on Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, BlogHerald, SEMRush, ToDoist, and more. She enjoys consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.

33. Expand your thinking beyond historical norms and boundaries

"We live in a digital world… a big data gold mine for marketers. Imagine a world where your data finds your customers, tells you what campaigns to run, what channels to reach your target, exponentially increases conversions, quality and quantity at every stage of your sales cycle. Imagine your data predicting sales, closing deals, forecasting your business. The data is at your fingertips, easily accessible and technology has finally delivered on the promise of "data driven". The challenge lies in todays' marketers to expand their thinking beyond historical norms and boundaries."

- Amanda Kahlow, 6Sense Insights

Amanda has run an Enterprise B2B consulting company for 13 years. 6Sense Insights built a multi-channel B2B predictive modeling methodology called “ESP”. ESP predicts when companies are going to buy (from our clients), what products they are going to buy, how much they are going to buy (relative to past purchase history), and when they are going to buy.




34. Embrace data

“Whether you’re a mathlete or fear spreadsheets, tracking and analyzing data is a requirement for 2014 and beyond. For those lacking Big Data repositories, expensive predictive analytics platforms or fancy sentiment measurement tools, there are always affordable alternatives. Start with the basics: Google Analytics, and build from there. If Excel spreadsheets look like The Matrix to you, consider affordable data visualization tools. Regardless, your digital marketing strategies should be founded in quality data and associated insights."

- Kent Lewis, Anvil Media

Kent LewisWith a background in integrated marketing, Kent Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his career in search engine marketing. Since then, he’s helped grow businesses by connecting his clients with their constituents via the Internet. In 2000, Lewis founded Anvil Media, Inc., a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine and social media marketing for Fortune 2000 companies. Under his leadership, Anvil has received recognition from Portland Business Journal and Inc. Magazine as a Fastest Growing and Most Philanthropic Company. Kent reveals best practices for social media analytics in this OMI class, What to Measure in Social and Why.


35. Organic is good. Paid is better.

"We all want to believe that organic posts are all we need to spark engagement, but your promotional strategy must include paid placements as well. Relying only on organic strategies to drive results is analogous to hanging out with the same high school group your entire life. To grow, you have to expand beyond your immediately-familiar community and break through to those coveted second-degree connections."

- Jason Miller, LinkedIn

Jason Miller is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn leading the content marketing and social media strategy for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Previously he was the Senior Manager, Social Media Strategy and Content at Marketo where he led the company’s global social media and content strategy driving over 1 million dollars in pipeline annually. He is the author of How to Optimize Your Social Media Channels for Lead Generation, The Big Marketing Activity Book, and co-author of The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing and The Definitive Guide to Event Marketing. Jason is a regular contributor to top marketing blogs Copyblogger, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Social Media Explorer, Convince and Convert, and more. Before Marketo, Jason spent more than 10 years at Sony Music entertainment developing and executing marketing campaigns around the biggest names in music.

36. Adopt a data-driven approach and use it to guide marketing investments

"In today's world, marketers are seeing greater revenue responsibilities than ever before. In an industry where changes are happening rapidly, it all comes down to letting the numbers be your guide. Marketers need to adopt a data-driven approach to improving their brands and use it to guide their marketing investments. It's also about understanding what the right questions are before you ever begin trying to answer them. Keep an open-mind and allow the data & analytics to lead you."

- Jon Morris, Rise Interactive

With more than a decade’s worth of digital marketing experience, Jon Morris, CEO and Founder of Rise Interactive, launched the business in Chicago in 2004. Since its inception, the company has seen triple digit growth every year. Morris is recognized as an industry thought leader who has pioneered a new discipline of online marketing—Interactive Investment Management (IIM). He has presented on main stages, workshops, webinars and more for groups such as Search Engine Strategies (SES), The New Media Optimization Summit, Chicago Association of Direct Marketing, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Online Marketing Summit, iStrategy and Vistage. As the CEO of Rise Interactive, Jon Morris brings to bear more than 15 years of IIM experience, including client relationships with Lexmark, Dale Carnegie Training, ULTA Cosmetics and Allstate Motor Club. Morris also serves as Instructor of Web Analytics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

37. Deliver messages that are contextually relevant and highly personalized

"Advertising must change from interruption, intrusion and disruption to delivering messages that are contextually relevant and highly personalized that consumers actually value---based on who they are, where they, what they’ve purchased before, etc. We need to start seeing the clear intersection of data (where consumers are, where they have been), media (is the consumer on a phone or tablet?), analytics (what will the consumer care about?) and technology (make a decision, get the media, get the creative)."

- George Musi, DG-MediaMind

George Musi is DG-MediaMind’s Head of Cross-Media Analytics and is responsible for developing and leading DG-MediaMind’s proposition, capabilities and offering for data analytics and insights solutions for the purpose of supporting multi-screen campaign strategy and planning, measuring campaign effectiveness and impact, and optimizing campaign dollars.




38. We still love Video, but Podcasting will rule in 2014

"In 2014, podcasting is going to give video a run for the title as the King of Content. Audio, unlike other mediums (video, books, websites), has the unique ability to light up our lives while we multitask. We can drive, shop, run, eat lunch, or walk the dog, all while listening. So why are Podcasts in particular going to rule? Because music isn’t the only thing we can listen to on our iPods, and there’s a whole world out there on audio. Podcasts enable us to follow a particular broadcaster and become more intimately engaged because they are talking directly to us in our ear. We can choose which broadcasts we subscribe to, whether for business or entertainment, and download them for replay anytime. Podcasts add to our lives by running parallel, being mobile and on-demand, and not requiring total focus while we absorb their content."

– Susan Newman, Susan Newman Design, Inc.

Susan Newman is celebrating 20 years in business as a brand visibility designer and marketing director. Susan Newman Design Inc., specializing in innovative branding and design for businesses, entrepreneurs and creatives, opened in fall 1993. For the past several years, this New Jersey-based businesswoman has defined herself as a brand visibility designer – a hands-on master communicator who shows companies and individuals how they can build their presence globally across all media.


39. Millenials are taking over the world

"And that’s a good thing. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. They are the social media generation. More importantly, they already are your customers, your vendors and your up and coming sales rock stars.They grew up communicating in a digital world. This means that we need to be speaking their language in the platforms that they are using. Doing this the right way guarantees that you will attract and retain them. Their infusion of passionate, creative and fresh thinking will not only ensure your marketing strategies are relevant and effective, you’ll automatically refresh your culture and brand at no extra charge."

- Philip Paranicas, ThomasNet

Phil thrives in the fast-paced world of digital media where ThomasNet is serving a new generation of B2B professionals by helping their businesses connect, collaborate and grow. As the Director of New Product Development, Mr. Paranicas is responsible for creating new products and services that support the ThomasNet’s mission to help bring buyers together with sellers. His team is focused on innovating Internet-based solutions to address real-life business challenges. Completely at home in this new role, Mr. Paranicas brings 20+ years of expertise in both traditional and online B2B marketing, quality management and communications. Prior to this, Mr. Paranicas spearheaded ThomasNet’s Digital Media Team which develops effective social media, SEO and email marketing programs for the manufacturing community. He is a well-known speaker and author on all areas of digital media. Before joining ThomasNet, Mr. Paranicas was president of a leading digital marketing agency, specializing in website design, SEO and social media. Mr. Paranicas has a M.B.A. in Quality Management, and a B.A. in Management and Communications from Dowling College, Oakdale, New York.

40. Everything you need to know for the digital future you can learn from the analog past

“ Every type of media has followed the same path: innovation, experimentation, adoption, commercialization, fragmentation. Print, outdoor, radio, telephone, television, and now the Internet. Many want to view digital as something completely unique: it’s not. It’s still just people trying to communicate using technology. Print moved from the commercial press to the personal printer. Outdoor from a barn to transit. Radio from AM to satellite. Telephones from the house to the hand. TV grew from the Big 3 (ABC, CBS, NBC) to hundreds in HD. The Internet got all of America online (AOL) and now splinters – like all that have come before it – from the desktop to the smart phone providing a growing number unique channels for a continually fragmenting audience. The task remains: getting enough of the right people to hear your message.”

– Kevin Popovic, Ideahaus

Kevin Popović is the founder of Ideahaus®, a creative communications agency that helps businesses figure out what to say and how to say it to their target markets. He is a nationally recognized sought-after speaker and author of 20YEARS Communications: 20 Leaders, 20 Questions, 100’s of Lessons, 20 leaders from different corners of the industry answer 20 questions on the evolution of communications, providing insight to where communications was, is, and will go.


41. Understand how digital is impacting your business model to truly leverage digital

"The current hyper-communication in this 'Age of Correction' is a result of the gap between the product/service positioning and the real customer experience. There is too much focus on the communication/engagement layer of 'digital' and marketers are missing out the structural changes that will impact the business model and the industry. Once the industry changes and the company is not prepared for it due to short-term gains, marketing will be pushed onto a defensive mode, the rest is history! First understand how digital is breaking the barriers for new entrants/start-ups and also how it is re-aligning how value is created and distributed within the enterprise and outside. Only then one can truly leverage Digital, else it will be an isolated exercise that will increase the value positioning/customer experience gap and in turn create more negative hyper-communication."

– Ramesh Ramakrishnan, RR Marketing Advisory

Ramesh Ramakrishnan, a marketing and organization culture enthusiast, is the Founder of RR Marketing Advisory and author of He focuses on marketing/ad/social media technology, IT industry and emerging business models. He has held various leadership positions across EMEA marketing, 3rd party advisory and analyst relations in the enterprise information technology products and services sector.


42. Take advantage of “small data” for your SEO campaigns

" “Big Data” here, “Big Data” there; seems like you can’t escape “Big Data” these days. But are you taking advantage of “Small Data” that’s freely available to you? Start here: The “Search Queries” section under “Search Traffic” in Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see the keywords that actually drove traffic to your site. You’ll also see your average rank for these keywords and the click-through rate (CTR). Get those low hanging fruits: Identify important keywords where you’re currently not on page number one and build an SEO campaign around those keywords to improve your rankings; that where the money is. Here’s some more info on “Big Data” vs. “Small Data.””

- Chris Raulf, Boulder SEO Marketing

Chris Raulf is founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique online marketing agency located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. The company assists local, national as well international clients with all of their SEO, social media and content marketing needs. Chris recently co-founded Piste Group, a business planning, marketing, sales and communication strategy consulting company and frequently presents and hosts and moderates marketing and business related events. Chris has two amazing kids, plays soccer, loves to ride the trails around Boulder, is an avid yogi and enjoys everything that Colorado has to offer. He has over two decades of hands-on online marketing consulting experience and gets a kick out of working with smaller and ambitious companies.

43. Start your digital strategy with an assessment

"Gaps in talent, technology and strategy are leading to the most significant gap of all—the performance gap. To achieve digital marketing success, first perform an honest assessment of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate core business and marketing strengths, digital strategies executed, technologies used and internal team capabilities. Pinpoint areas in which you excel, zero in on weaknesses that hinder performance, and compare findings to industry benchmarks. Use the insight gleaned to guide your 2014 digital marketing strategy and accelerate improvement within your organization. "

- Paul Roetzer, PR 20/20

Paul Roetzer is founder and CEO of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency; author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint (Wiley); and creator of Marketing Agency Insider, the hub for a more open and collaborative agency ecosystem, and Marketing Score, a free assessment tool and marketing intelligence.




44. Preference-driven personalization is essential for 2014

"Companies think that they are currently doing in depth personalization. Most are not. The ability to deliver true personalization depends on evolving from transaction-driven "personalization" to true personalization. This cannot be accomplished without the deep insights and accurate information provided by customers who opt-in to providing their preferences. In-depth personalization of experiences, communications and offers is the most frequently stated expectation which has emerged from six months of Voice of Customer (VoC) research conducted by our firm, ERDM, with customers of Fortune companies. Their customers (BtoB and BtoC) are very clear in defining personalization as much more than “those old-fashioned” transaction-based communications.

Here is a representative research quote, “With today’s technology, I expect the experiences and emails to reflect my preferences”. Our research indicates that notwithstanding privacy concerns, if consumers trust the brand and receive a useful value proposition, they will opt-in to sharing increasingly detailed preference information in exchange for the marketer’s promise to deliver relevant information and offers. This reframes data privacy concerns into a valuable exchange of information which improves the customer experience. This exchange benefits the consumer and the marketer. Clients have found that this preference-driven information exchange results in uniquely accurate databases which consistently drive 25% to 50% increases in revenue. "

- Ernan Roman, ERDM

Recognized as a marketing thought leader, Ernan Roman, was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer (VoC) Relationship Research, Opt-In Marketing and Integrated Direct Marketing. He was named by Crain’s BtoB Magazine as one of the “100 most influential people in Business Marketing”. ERDM specializes in conducting Voice of Customer research to identify Customer Experience strategies that generate significant increases in response and revenue. Clients include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC Universal, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp. As a leader in providing VoC research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with clients’ customers and prospects to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships. Ernan’s latest book on marketing best practices is titled, “Voice of the Customer Marketing: 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay”. Ernan writes the widely read and Huffington Post published blog, “Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices”. His other books include “Opt-in Marketing” and “Integrated Direct Marketing.

45. Adopt marketing automation

"In 2014, more B2C companies will start to adopt marketing automation. Historically, B2C companies have embraced Email Service Providers (ESPs) to send communication to their customers in the form of impersonal (and often manual) batch and blast emails. It has been the B2B companies, with a longer sales cycle, that have traditionally used marketing automation technology. However, in today’s new buyer landscape, B2C companies will need much more than traditional email marketing to truly engage customers on a more multi-channel and personal level. There is so much competition, and so much buyer self-education, that companies will need to be heard through the noise. With marketing automation, companies can now send triggered emails in real-time based on specific buyer behaviors across online and offline channels, increasing customer engagement and ROI. Marketing automation also enables B2C companies to evolve from manual campaigns to more automated and timely campaigns that deliver relevant content to buyers, effectively managing the large amount of communication B2C companies participate in with their buyers. And lastly, marketing automation provides the ability to measure campaign engagement and marketing’s impact on sales, not just vanity metrics like clicks and opens. The significance of marketing automation was certainly proven in 2013, with many acquisitions and a lot of buzz in the space. Marketing departments in every industry will evolve and invest in more sophisticated technologies that help build relationships and measure results."

- Dayna Rothman, Marketo

Dayna Rothman is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Marketo, a leader in the marketing automation space, and author of Lead Generation for Dummies, coming out in March 2014. Dayna leads content creation and strategy at Marketo and is the managing editor for the Marketo blog.



46. Educate yourself on the basic laws and understand the data you want and how you plan to use it

"Digital marketing is both liberating and fraught with peril. Digital tools and the Internet have revolutionized the way we communicate, but have also made it very easy to infringe others’ trademarks, copyrights, privacy, publicity, or other rights. They have also ushered in a new era of big data, analytics, and the Internet of things. So, if you want to optimize your campaigns, educate yourself on the basic laws and rules governing these areas and understand the data you want, how you plan on using it, and with whom you plan on sharing it, and craft your strategies accordingly."

- Matthew Savare, Lowenstein Sandler, LLP

Named as one of Variety’s “Best and Brightest” upcoming entertainment and media attorneys, Matt Savare is a trusted and dedicated advisor to his clients regarding all things digital: content, data, and advertising. Matt is a partner at Lowenstein Sandler, LLP, and he focuses his practice on whatever his clients need, which most frequently involve new and social media, digital advertising, intellectual property, technology, privacy, and entertainment issues. He is a frequent author and speaker in those areas, and has founded a technology startup in the entertainment, sports, and technology space.

47. Venture beyond dashboards

"Venture Beyond Dashboards: Marketers need to move beyond "current state" reporting, which all too often passes for analytics, to discover the actual levers of change in their increasingly complex environments. They need to ask clear and specific questions to gain the insights to make time-sensitive business decisions. Why you say? Because current-state reporting tells you what has already happened, but does not reveal what the marketer really needs: insights into why consumers make the buying decisions they do. You need your analytics to not just identify the “what,” but also the “why,” the “when” and the “what if” for true decision support and right-time marketing."

- Pelin Thorogood, Anametrix

Pelin Thorogood, a new media marketing and analytics expert, is CEO and a board director of Anametrix, the first cloud-based, real-time marketing analytics platform. Previously Pelin served as CMO of WebSideStory (acquired by Omniture/Adobe). She was named one of the ’20 Women to Watch’ in sales lead management both in 2011 and 2012. Pelin holds a B.S. in Operations Research, Masters in Engineering and MBA degrees, all from Cornell University, where she also serves as Executive-in-Residence for the Johnson Graduate School of Management.


48. Connect search and social to build effective cross-channel strategies

"A consumer’s path to purchase is no longer a neat, linear process and with touchpoints spanning across various channels and devices, it has become harder for marketers to connect with the right consumers, at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. To see the full picture, marketers must leverage channels such as search, where there is stated intent, and social, where you can drive deep interaction. Be sure to track consumer activity holistically to understand the path-to-purchase and attribute credit accordingly. And also understand that insights from one channel can be applied to another. If you're a retailer with a list of top-performing products on search, why not make product-specific ads for those on Facebook? Bottom line: you must take an integrated approach in this multi-channel, multi-device world and search + social is a great place to start."

- Kelly Wrather, Kenshoo

Kelly Wrather is the Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Kenshoo, a digital marketing technology company that engineers premium solutions for search marketing, social media, and online advertising. Prior to joining Kenshoo, she helped launch the Accuen brand, the trading desk of Omnicom Media Group. A graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, her previous experience also spans social media and online community management. Kelly contributes a monthly column on covering topics across search, social, and beyond.


OMI is committed to bringing forth the insight of industry leaders. Look for the full list of classes from these top digital educators on the online learning center’s class topics page.


40+ Ways to Improve Your Digital Strategy in 2014, Part Two


The Online Marketing Institute's Annual List of Top Digital Strategists Share Their Best Advice for Driving ROI in the New Year.

Welcome to part-two of the top digital strategists series. This part is focused on B2B marketing and how to use content to improve your digital strategy. If you missed part-one, read what top OMI educators had to say about the future of social media in 2014.

To help marketers discover new opportunities for driving ROI, the Online Marketing Institute identified the top 40+ digital strategists, and asked them for their best advice for 2014. These OMI online learning center digital educators were selected because they are:

  1. Embracing the latest integrated digital strategies and technologies
  2. Advancing the industry through education — speaking, blogging, and teaching
  3. Driving game-changing results for their clients and organization


In the second installment of this three-part series,  17 digital strategists well-versed in the area of B2B marketing share their best practices, predictions for the future of business to business marketing, evaluation of industry trends and share the know-how to deliver thought provoking insight that will lay the groundwork for you to build an effective, holistic digital marketing strategy in 2014.

9. Rediscover the humanity in your digital communication

"Rediscover the humanity in your digital communication and make sure your team is listening, paying close attention, and taking action to build a relationship between your brand and your consumers. Whether you’re on the front lines of consumer service or in the boardroom making company-wide decisions, whether you're online or face-to-face, listening and responding accordingly is paramount to success. Sometimes that means engaging with the consumer, sometimes it means delivering what they’re really after. But it always means responding with exceptional service and creating an unparalleled experience with your brand at every touchpoint."

- Susan Baroncini-Moe

Susan Baroncini-Moe is the author of the bestselling, Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style. She is an executive coach and a marketing consultant for B2B and the wellness and hospitality industries. She regularly speaks to audiences of all sizes and has shared the stage with business giants like Michael E. Gerber, Bob Burg, and Larry Winget, among others. Susan and her businesses have been featured in Redbook Magazine, USA Today, MSN Living, Investor’s Business Daily, Yahoo Finance, and American Express Open Forum, and she is a Guinness World Records® titleholder.


10. Deliver more contextual content

"Content management will become increasingly valuable to marketers who are looking to ramp up their efforts to deliver more contextual content offers. By establishing a strategy to conceptualize, produce, launch, and measure content, organizations can optimized content delivery and programs. Marketers also should embrace new metrics to quantify engagement. Understanding content consumption and sharing habits enables marketers to segment audiences. This strategy helps improve internal effectiveness and integrated planning; deliver contextual content offers; and understand which key performance indicators matter to content marketing. A shared process for content management also helps other marketing stakeholders to collaboratively support development and maximize launch initiatives."

- Amanda Batista

As part of the Oracle Eloqua Marketing organization, Amanda Batista, drives Eloqua's major content initiatives to support thought leadership, team enablement, and educate customer communities. She also manages the award-winning 'It's All About Revenue' Blog, crafting content that helps marketers and salespeople bridge their gaps and rethink technology to meaningfully engage with their communities. Amanda also is a freelance music writer, and her passion is helping modern marketers find inspiration in engaging pop culture. Follow Amanda on Twitter @AmandaF_Batista.



11. Take a journalistic approach to content

It's an editorialized and blended world of owned, earned and paid! Brands that take on a journalistic approach to content and treat their blogs and social networks like individual publications will build strong communities and ever lasting relationships; ultimately converting into business.

- Lisa Buyer

Lisa Buyer is President and CEO of The Buyer Group, an interactive public relations and social agency located in Celebration, Florida and editor for Social #PR Chat covering trends in Social PR, Mobile PR, Brand PR and SEO PR.  Lisa writes for several industry publications covering how public relations influences search and social and is a regular speaker with PubCon, SMX, ClickZLive (formerly SES), OMI and an instructor of the University of San Francisco’s online Advanced Social Media certificate program. Lisa graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism. Go Gators! Her favorite hashtags are #yoga, #sunsets and #surfing. Follow @lisabuyer for more. 


12. Start acting as publishers

"Businesses everywhere will start acting as publishers. Instead of using content just for lead generation, companies will start creating more specific, targeted content pieces to be used as a sales tool. B2B companies, in particular, will up their targeted and niche content marketing campaigns to assist buyers during the decision making process. Companies need to focus on creating original and branded content that they can push our to both their potential and current clients in order to build thought leadership in their respective industries."

- Alessandra Ceresa

Alessandra Ceresa is the Director of Marketing at GreenRope. With an iPhone, MacBook and iPad on hand at all times, Alessandra’s enthusiasm for marketing and social media landed her the position as the Director of Marketing for a leading software company, GreenRope. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Alessandra gained years of experience as a Public Relations executive in both San Diego and Los Angeles. She was responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns, both online and offline, for numerous companies across multiple industries. Her passion for small business and online marketing led her to her current position, Director of Marketing for GreenRope, and as a freelance marketing consultant, content creator, and overall marketing strategist. Alessandra has since developed her expertise to include CRM, marketing automation, and email marketing.


13. Create content that means something

"Touch people. Get it out of your head that what you're doing is "digital" and never treat anyone as a number. Create content that means something to them. Understand them. Help them. Invoke emotion. You don't want followers, fans, users, or any such frigid thing. You want new friends. Sure, your relationship might exist largely on a rectangular piece of glass. Aim to "kiss their glass.""

- Barry Feldman

Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative is a veteran copywriter, creative director and content marketing strategist. He works with clients of all sizes to create effective online marketing programs. In addition to publishing his tips and tactics at the "The Point,", Barry contributes articles to many of the web's leading publishers of marketing and social media advice.




14. Customer is the King or Queen

"We marketers are in the throws of finalizing our yearly plans. Here are three predictions for 2014.

1. CONTENT IS NOT JUST KING OR QUEEN: It’s still all about content. But not just about the creation of it. We have to enhance content strategy into more than just demand generation campaigns and form fill outs. Excellent content is not the measure of success — but rather now the standard.

2. CUSTOMER IS THE KING OR QUEEN: 1000% agree — we need to take the same approach to our existing customer base as we have with net-new logo acquisition. It is not just about customer communication but more so about added revenue generation.

3. SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES WILL IGNITE INTEGRATED MARKETING: And not just social media, but leveraging social behavior. How do we get things done more effectively by leveraging how people consume information and how people work? We will see a rise in more social-centric applications that connect desperate systems, functions and organizations."

- Christelle Flahuax

Christelle Flahaux is the Senior Director of Global Demand Generation at Jive Software. A senior Marketing professional with over 15 years experience in various marketing management and sales operations roles. Expertise is in sales and marketing alignment for large enterprise software teams. Management of Telemarketing teams with a focus on generating highly qualified net new inquiries for the field and building programs post inquiry to nurture and warm leads that are not ready to purchase. Extreme focus on conversions to pipeline and revenue, not just inquiry creation. Responsibility for all marketing operations, proposals, sales forecasting, sales database maintenance, tracking and reporting. Performed market analysis on various industries as a basis for targeted sales programs and lead generation. Leading cross function teams to implement and manage customer satisfaction programs for key clients. Coordination of all external and internal communications, i.e., press releases, newsletters, e-mail blasts, event management for tradeshows, conferences, seminars, webinars, and corporate hospitality programs at sponsored events. 


15. Collect social proof

"B2B buyers are spending more time educating themselves before they contact sales. Instead of sales pitches, they want social proof that your products and services deliver results. For example, technology buyers on a Spiceworks panel cited that they want to see unbiased reviews from people who have used your products. Meanwhile, a hawkeye study revealed that 71% of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage cited testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content. If you want to engage customers, then collecting testimonials, case studies and five-star product reviews should be at the top of your marketing “to-do” list this year."

- Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter who helps her clients improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages and generate high-quality leads. Rachel has shared her insights on B2B marketing in presentations for The Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and Business 2 Community. You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter (@CopywriterTO) or check out her B2B marketing resources and blog.


16. Brand advocacy is the new digital marketing goalpost

"For the last two decades, much of digital marketing has focused on generating impressions, traffic, clicks, and conversions. The new goalposts for digital marketing are about building an army of Advocates for your brand and products. It’s not difficult to get more clicks. You can do this by slashing prices or running splashy promotions. But this is the “fast-food” approach to marketing.You may get filled up quickly but it’s not very nutritious. Even worse, this approach – if you rely on it too much – can ultimately damage your body (or your brand.) A more valuable and sustainable approach is to create and nurture relationships with Advocates, who will promote, support, and defend your brand and products for years. Apple,, Trader Joe’s, and USAA (a financial services company for the military and their family members) are among the world’s most recommended brands. These companies didn’t build their brands through price-cutting and short-term promotions. They delivered customer experiences worth talking about. And helped nurture relationships with Advocates, who then spread the word among their social networks. Are you still obsessing about yesterday’s goalposts and metrics? Or are you building a movement around your brand and products?"

- Rob Fuggetta

Rob Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that manages and powers Brand Advocate programs for leading brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account. Fuggetta has spoken at dozens of industry conferences and seminars including events sponsored by the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), TedX, the Online Marketing Summit, the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and more. Fuggetta also has published articles about brand advocacy in AdAge, Forbes, iMedia, AMEX Open Forum, McKinsey’s Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Forum, and elsewhere. A resident of San Carlos, CA, Fuggetta is an avid tennis player, a rabid San Francisco Giants fan, and proud father. 


17. Add social science to your marketing arsenal

"Add social science to your marketing arsenal: Today, terrific targeting, content and offers only get you so far. To increase your engagement and conversion rates, study the social scientists. They, along with behavioral economists, have proven that people take cognitive shortcuts when making decisions. And they’ve shown these shortcuts can be prompted – resulting in automatic behaviors. Now you can stack the deck every time you craft a subject line, write an email, lay out a landing page, design a call to action, etc. Tap into proven human behavior triggers like the Scarcity Principle, Cognitive Fluency, Loss Aversion and dozens more to prompt the behaviors you want."

- Nancy Harhut

Nancy Harhut is Chief Creative Officer at Wilde Agency, where she combines marketing best practices with behavioral science in order to get people to act. She and her teams have won over 200 awards for digital and direct marketing effectiveness, including two 2013 International Echo Awards for Nationwide Insurance and A sought-after speaker at industry events, Harhut has shared her expertise with audiences ranging from Moscow, Russia to the US Department of Defense. 


18. Test with new channels to build new audiences

"In 2014, it is all about distribution. We've all heard the quality or quantity debate for some time and now it is more important to market our marketing, in the words of Jay Baer. Digital marketers should opt to create stellar content and dedicate the same amount of resources, if not more, to ensure their target audience engages and acts upon the content. Test with new channels to build new audiences:
-Build relationships with internal and external influencers to extend your reach
-Experiment with paid campaigns to ensure your content is getting consumed
-Get close with demand generation to plan larger campaigns rather than one-off email blasts
-Repurpose existing content in new formats to help increase shareability on social channels"

- Amanda Maksymiw

 Amanda Maksymiw is the content marketing manager for Lattice Engines, a Big Data for sales and marketing company in Boston, MA. She is responsible for setting and managing the Lattice’s content marketing and social media strategies including creating, producing, and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she has advised and worked with several technology startups on their content strategies. In 2012, Amanda was named Content Marketing Tactician of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute. 



19. Create a balance of messaging across channels

"Don't throw away the "exploration" broadcast messaging with the "targeted conversion" messaging. It's the proverbial baby in the bath water. Advanced data management and campaign automation - coupled with the new marriage of content marketing and analytics -- make targeted messaging - display, CRM retargeting, triggered email, social, mobile and even offline mail - so easy, multi-channel and powerful, that it's tempting to ignore the power of the good old broadcast message. Consider the latter as a way to uncover new truths about various audiences, and to improve your segmentation. Often, the unexpected, generic message will reveal as much about a person's habits and interests than the uber-targeted one. Create a balance of messaging across channels to make all your content marketing work harder."

-Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP and “Chief Listening Officer” at DMA


20. Enter a branded content channel

"Branded Content will be a game changing for many businesses. Why? Does your businesses want more traffic, leads and thought leadership? Most businesses do and trying to generate these are some of the greatest challenges they face. Enter a branded content channel. It is one of the quickest ways to generate more traffic, leads and thought leadership by accessing a channel in which your target audience is already participating in droves. It generally costs a “reasonable” amount, but the value (i.e. cost for new leads) is generally in the ballpark of $5- $20. Would you pay that for a new lead?"

– Chris Muccio

Chris Muccio is the Chief Technologist at SFGI/Catapult Interactive Inc. He is a seasoned executive with a pattern of success in large businesses and start-up companies. Today, as a Hubspot Certified Partner, he has evolved with the digital world to be a leading voice in digital business development and branded content. Among his various achievements, he wrote one of the first books on LinkedIn that became an Amazon Best Seller.

21. Create content that solves business problems

"Just because we produce more content doesn't mean we can digest more. In fact, we can't digest any more information than we did 100 years ago. With the increase in content, the need for high relevancy is critical. Use Big Data to truly understand your audience and then create content that solves their business problems and reaches them on the channels they use. Stop selling and start helping. I'll live by this in 2014 - will you?"

- Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson is manager of content for, leading a team of writers to create sales, service, marketing, and mobile content that’s helpful, relevant, and lead-driving. She has a background in account management from interactive and full service advertising agencies. Amanda has spoken at over a dozen conferences and has won awards from the Direct Marketing Association, Content Marketing Institute, Publicity Club of New England, American Banker Association, New England Direct Marketing, University of Hartford and the Advertising Club of Connecticut. Amanda is passionate about content marketing, community management and border collies. 

22. Focus more resources on content quality

“Only 36 percent of content marketers feel they use content effectively. Why? Because most brands don’t have a substantive audience to consume it. Every minute of every day 100,000 tweets are shared, 571 new websites are created and over 347 blog posts get published. It’s noisy out there. So how do most marketers address this problem? By focusing more resources on content quality and/or quantity. Those marketers without existing prudent audiences who want to use their content effectively in 2014 must develop a content distribution and promotion plan backed by robust audience and media research. According to Ryan Skinner of Forrester, brands can actually step down content production and step up distribution to get better results. Truly converging owned media with paid and earned media empowers marketers to get their content in front of millions of eyeballs every day and expedite the growth of their own audience.”

– Chad Pollitt

Chad Pollitt is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and former Army Commander; a member of a Forbes Top 100 List, and the Director of Marketing at DigitalRelevance. He’s a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and other websites throughout the world.




23. Choice your voice carefully

"Standing out amidst the escalating online noise and clutter is key. Ensure that the voice sharing your content rises above the din to create a connection. The voice is a combination of the person and the message. Who’s telling your story? Is he relatable? Is she the best choice or an easy solution? Does he or she have followers that will share your message on a wider basis? Is the message relevant and different? Does it translate as genuine and authentic—or, does it proffer thinly-veiled marketing speak? Will it compel others to share your story? Choose your voice carefully. It can mean the difference between rising to the top or disappearing into the fray."

- Denise Roberts McKee

Denise Roberts McKee is the Chief Operating Officer at AboutFace Media, which creates branded documentary videos for the web. Denise’s decades of work within mobile media, gaming, and independent film industries includes teaming up with, and creating award-winning initiatives for, leading brands such as Time-Warner, NBC Universal, Bravo TV New Media, and Rachael Ray. Also a speaker, Denise brings her years of experience to conferences and seminars worldwide, with a focus on content development and marketing.  


24. Create visual content for the best ROI

"2014 will see a rise in visual content, and a decrease in the reign of heavy text-based blog articles. Visual content is shared more, gets more engagement on social, communicates information quicker and easier than text, and, as a result, is worth more in SEO. Because of this, visual content has the best ROI currently available to content marketers. The top three types of content will be short-form videos, infographics and slideshares."

- Nick Steeves

Nick Steeves, Chief Product Officer, Wishpond: Nick is Chief Product Officer at Wishpond. Wishpond makes it easy to run contests and promotions on social networks. He and his team discuss social media for small business at




25. Make your message relevant

"Your message must be relevant to your buyers! All successful marketing programs have one thing in common: messages that speak directly to specific buyers. Why? Because relevant messaging establishes an important emotional connection between a business and its buyers, which, in turn, spurs future purchases. Messaging is a large part of the branding process and can drive visuals and campaign themes. Therefore, it is critical to carefully research and develop a thorough buyer profile prior to crafting marketing messages. It doesn’t matter if you’ve developed an amazing concept and launched via the latest digital or traditional marketing channels; if your message doesn’t speak to targeted buyers, your marketing is worthless!"

- Bonnie Taylor



Bonnie Taylor is the VP of Strategic Marketing with the Washington D.C. Metro based marketing firm, CCS Innovations, LLC. Her close to 20 years of experience spent growing companies and generating large-scale awareness has included working with some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Coca-Cola, Revlon, Deloitte, as well as countless mid-size and smaller companies in local, national, and international markets. Ms. Taylor has taken two companies from a single office without a marketing program to worldwide growth in just a few years, earning Inc. 500 and Business Journal ‘Fastest Growing Company’ awards along the way. Not one to always work behind the scenes, she is an internationally published authority on marketing, branding, and corporate growth and performs extensive work with nonprofit organizations. 


The Online Marketing Institute is honored to have the same industry experts leading various online learning center classes and crash course programs throughout the year, share their best advice on what to do in the ever-changing online marketing environment.

OMI is committed to bringing forth the insight of industry leaders. Look for the full list of courses from these top digital educators on the online learning center's class topics page.

Stay Tuned for our next installment on overall digital marketing.


Best of Online Marketing: Week of August 10, 2012


Twitter TipsBefore you head out for the weekend, take a spin through my favorite online marketing posts from the past 7 days. This week, learn how to get more ReTweets, use Storify for compelling content, build relationships through social media, and more.

10 Tips for Getting More ReTweets

Getting people to ReTweet your content is a great way to drive traffic and grow your audience. Over on QuickSprout, Neil Patel shares 10 surefire ways to drive more ReTweets. Learn the top 20 least ReTweeted words, the best time to Tweet, the type of content that gets shared the most, and more.

When It Comes to Landing Pages, Think Big

Think landing pages are just for PPC campaigns? Think again. Scott Brinker explains that when it comes to landing pages, the potential to drive remarkable experiences with landing pages goes far beyond PPC and search campaigns. In fact, Brinker suggests the real opportunity with landing pages is at the intersection of paid and owned media.

How to Use Storify to Create Compelling Content

Want to engage your audience with content? Try Storify. Discover 10 creative ways you can harness the curation tool to quickly and easily develop content that engages customers and ignites your business.

What Gift Economies Can Teach You About Social Media

Do you use social media to cultivate deep relationships with your customers? Or do you use it to drive transactions? According to Mark Bonchek of the Harvard Business Review, marketers should strive to build gift economies, where the focus is on relationships, instead of market economies, where the focus is on transactions.

How to Build a Pinterest Following with Facebook

Want to grow your Pinterest following, but not sure where to start? Try integrating your Facebook efforts with Pinterest. On Social Media Examiner, discover 5 quick and easy ways to build a Pinterest following by creating a Pinterest tab, posting links, and more.

Ready to accelerate your social media and digital results? Join OMI September 17-28, 2012 at the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit#OMISummit is a flexible (attend anywhere from 1 to all 36 sessions!) online event designed to help marketing professionals acquire the skills and knowledge needed to generate higher revenue and ROI from their digital investment. Join us!