The Marketing Inspiration List is back for 2023 to celebrate the best and brightest in the industry.
As always, it’s an interesting list – a mixture of familiar faces and names you may not have heard about before. We like it that way.
We invited anyone to nominate someone who inspired them. Invitations went out to our email list (previous attendees and email list sign ups) and our social media audience. This year we decided not to promote the nominations on paid ads as we felt that this has skewed nominations in previous years.
We are still able to identify odd patterns of voting. Our verification method identified repeated nominations from the same source. After deliberating whether it would jeopardise the real result, we decided to invalidate these. It was weird. A tip for future reference: if you’re going to try and swindle it, you’ll probably have to employ a bot farm.
Valid votes were counted and totalled to produce the top 30 based on nominations.
You may not feel this list is worthwhile. We certainly would not claim that it is the thing to be upset about during this very strange world we’re all living in right now so maybe just take it for what it is: a list of interesting people that you can take some inspiration from.
Perhaps the greatest thing to take from this list is any new names that you haven’t heard of before. Go and investigate them, follow them, listen to what they have to say and engage with them. Let them inspire your own thinking and project that forward so we can hear what you have to say.
It would be great to see your name here in the future.
So, we’re not wasting time this year. Here’s the full list for 2023. Enjoy.
Just so you know, and to give credit, all images of our inspirational marketers come from their social media profiles or their website.
1 – Ann Handley
Content is king, they say. Nope. Content is Ann Handley. She is the undisputed Godmother of Marketing, and it should come as no surprise to anyone, anywhere, that Ann is numero uno on our list for the second year running. Ann is the author of the best-selling Everybody Writes which, to put it simply, is an absolute must-read, must-own for anyone in marketing. Plus, on the minuscule chance you weren’t already aware, Ann is also an international keynote speaker, has written for the Wall Street Journal , and is the Head of Content at MarketingProfs. Oh, and if you haven’t signed up for Ann’s fortnightly newsletter, we urge you to do so now. In a nutshell, Ann Handley is inspirational on another level.
What people said: “There is no one else like Ann Handley. She has taught me so much and given me the confidence that my writing doesn’t have to be stuffy or formal. OMG, LOVE her!”
2 – mark schaefer
One of the world’s leading marketing authorities, Mark is a globally-recognised keynote speaker and a prolific author, with nine books under his belt to date. While we recommend you read all of them, we will pick out these three as must-reads: Marketing Rebellion, Belonging to the Brand, and KNOWN, which is essential if you want to develop your personal brand. An exciting and engaging guy, Mark’s knack at putting the human first has proved thoroughly enticing.
What people said: “Having read his book this year, Marketing Rebellion, I was really inspired to create more than great content but to create a sense of real, tangible community around a brand. Got me thinking differently.”
3 – Rory Sutherland
Rory continues to inspire the worlds of advertising and marketing with his invaluable insights, not least on behavioural science, a subject on which he is the go-to guy. The vice-chairman of Ogilvy UK, Rory is a regular columnist for the Spectator and is the author of two books – The Wiki Man and the best-selling Alchemy, the Surprising Power of Ideas Which Don’t Make Sense.
4 – Seth Godin
This list wouldn’t be complete without Seth. The man is a living legend and has pretty much cemented his place in our top 10 year after year. If you’re in marketing, it’s almost impossible to believe you haven’t been inspired by Seth at one stage or another during your career. He consistently delivers, whether it’s via his ever-popular blog, or from the stage, or from any one of his 20 best-selling books, including This is Marketing and the ever-green Purple Cow.
5 – JERRY DAYKIN
We’re delighted to see Jerry, the Head of Global Media at Beam Suntory, appear so prominently in our list. A passionate marketer, Jerry helps global brands make media sense of an increasingly digital world. And doesn’t he do it so well? A self-styled digital evangelist and digital realist, Jerry believes in the basics of marketing but is also driven to inspire people to embrace, and capitalise on, new technologies as they change the way they interact and consume media in the current age.
6 – Thierry Ngutegure
If you think data is dull, you haven’t met Thierry. We had the great fortune to make his acquaintance at MarketEd.Live 2022 – not only is he super-charismatic, our audience absolutely loved him. The Head of Insight at Journey Further, Thierry loves all things to do with data. And the way he shares that love is all about the fun. Just follow him on social media or check out his podcast for the proof of that. While you’re there, if you drop him a picture of a sausage dog, you’ll be on to a winner.
7 – Jay Richards
Jay is on a mission to help Gen Z shape their future. He does this as co-founder of Imagen Insights (alongside Cat Agostinho – see No.29 on our list), a company that enables agencies and brands to crowdsource feedback, ideas and insights from their global Gen Z community within 72 hours. And the focus is all on the quality of information.
What people said: “Jay’s commitment to a long-term vision and creative approach to doing things differently inspires me. He encapsulates both ‘thinking long-term’ and ‘thinking outside of the box’ in the way he approaches new business ideas and processes.”
8 – JAY ACUNZO
You wait all day for a Jay to come along and you’re hit by two in a row. And hit in the nicest possible way. Jay Acunzo is an author, coach and consultant, helping professional creators and marketing leaders become effective storytellers. As one of the world’s most sought-after business storytellers, host of the award-winning podcast Unthinkable, and with a CV that includes the likes of Google, ESPN and HubSpot, Jay is right at home on our list this year.
What people said: “[Jay] is so good at storytelling. It seems every piece of content he produces, whether podcast, blog, newsletter or talk, is well structured. He definitely lives by his words.”
9 – KATY LEESON
If you haven’t heard Katy talk, where have you been? Katy is well-known for regularly discussing the challenges people face within leadership positions and, as the CEO of Relentless Media, she is in the perfect place to do just that. Our keynote speaker at MarketEd.Live 2022, Katy is a huge advocate for more purposeful and value-led social media usage. Social media really is a powerful tool in Katy’s hands.
10 – BIZPAUL
With no hint of bias whatsoever (he does, after all, pay our wages), BizPaul is absolutely a stand-out guy. As the founder and host of MarketEd.Live, he has been bringing people together under one roof for the past five years, delivering inspirational speakers, inspirational themes, and inspirational shirtwear… Truly, he is an inspiration.
11 – JENN HERMAN
If you need to know anything about Instagram, then you need to know Jenn. A Canadian now permanently based in the USA, Jenn is a global expert on all things Insta. A blogger, an international speaker, a webinar host, a podcaster, to name but several, Jenn literally teaches Instagram for a living. And she does it pretty bloody well, too.
12 – ANDREW DAVIS
Andrew is one of those people who appears to have a limitless supply of energy and fun. Does he bottle it? We think so. His energy knows no bounds, to the extent that he speaks at more than 50 events a year. And always, always, with such panache and enthusiasm as he teaches business leaders to grow their business and leave their legacy.
What people said: “Andrew Davis challenges the marketing norms, flips them on their head, and then upside down, and delivers marketing insights to help us break away from the stoic ideals of the old world. And he likes the colour orange, which is always a bonus.”
13 – Kenda Macdonald
We just don’t have enough space to talk about Kenda. Let’s see if we can squeeze in as much as possible: Business owner, author of the best-selling Hack the Buyer Brain, founder of Automation Ninjas, and Demand Generation Practice lead at MarketingProfs. Oops, and keynote speaker (see MarketEd.Live 2021). Effortlessly and skilfully combining marketing with psychology, Kenda is one of our most favourite people of all time.
14 – JONNY PREST
Also known as Brand Master Flash, we’re thrilled to see Jonny on this year’s list. As a senior brand strategist at Seed Creative, Jonny helps leaders build brand and cultural strategies with purpose, from environmental to social. His role is to consistently communicate the purpose of an organisation to its stakeholders, with a dance between strategy, branding, design and marketing, something which he really brought to life at MarketEd.Live 2022 with an emotional talk that really inspired people to be ready to fight for their beliefs.
What people said: “One of the few who uses his marketing skills for good.”
15 – JOE GLOVER
Joe is the co-founder of The Marketing Meetup, a global community of more than 35,000 marketers all as lovely as Joe himself. There is a lot of love for Joe, and deservedly so as, through TMM, he continues to provide a place for inspiration, comfort or learning, somewhere that marketers can turn to that feels meaningful and kind.
What people said: “He’s a very lovely person and very good at his work at bringing together a huge community of very lovely marketers.”
16 – AREEJ ABUALI
Areej is the founder of Crawlina, an SEO consultancy launched in 2022 that focuses on all things technical and on-site. With more than a decade of SEO experience behind her, Areej is also an international speaker and the very proud creator of Women in Tech SEO, a global community geared towards women in the technical SEO field. Welcome to our list, Areej.
17 – TERESA HEATH-WAREING
That Teresa features again on our list means that all must be right with the world. Such an inspirational marketer, Teresa is also such a wonderful person. She also happens to be an online business, marketing and mindset expert who works with business owners from across the world, helping them to build a business and life they love. Throw into the mix Teresa’s experience as an international speaker and host of the Your Dream Business podcast, and bingo!
What people said: “Such a big influence in the marketing space, yet she is so personable and incredibly generous with her time and knowledge.”
18 – NATHAN ANIBABA
Another dear friend of MarketEd.Live, Nathan has the gift of the gab, in the kindest sense. His Agency Dealmasters podcast sees him talk on a weekly basis to the CEOs and agency founders who are shaping our world, sharing with listeners as much knowledge and insight as he can muster from his guests. It is, if he doesn’t mind us saying so, quite brilliant. Nathan is also the founder of podcast agency Bridge Growth.
What people said: “Nathan is continuously developing himself to achieve greatness and bring aspirations to life.”
19 – CHRISTINE GRITMON
A self-confessed personal branding geek, Christine is one busy woman. A Twitter chat host, live streamer, social media trainer and a speaker. And that’s just in her spare time. We don’t know where she finds the time, but we’d like a little of what she’s having.
What people said: “I’ve been inspired by Christine since I first discovered her through the #MarketingTwitter community. She not only knows her stuff, but she is genuine and always looking to help others develop their own personal brand.”
20 – ELLIE MIDDLETON
A coach, a consultant, a speaker, Ellie is autistic, has ADHD and ‘loves to make noise about neurodiversity’. She is also the founder of the (Un)masked Community for Neurodivergents, where her weekly blogs and Q&A sessions help people work with their brain rather than against it. Ellie is a welcome addition to our list this year.
21 – DAN KNOWLTON
Dan is a funny guy. Funny how? You know, just funny. He’s a funny guy. He’s also very creative. And while ‘funny’ gets you so far, it was the next step, the creativity, that properly established Knowlton Marketing as serious contenders in the marketing world. Launched with Dan’s brother Lloyd, the business has not looked back, producing creative video for their clients.
22 – GUS BHANDAL
Gus is a guru of marketing, media, management… or even magnificence. Founder of The M Guru, Gus is an experienced marketer with extensive commercial experience of managing marketing, social media, events and communications across a range of industries, with some of the world’s largest companies. He’s also one of the UK’s leading LinkedIn trainers. Little wonder, then, that he takes his place on this year’s list.
What people said: “Gus is such a natural when he shares his knowledge about LinkedIn. He adds humour to all his training, which makes him approachable and memorable.”
23 – REJOICE OJIAKU
The co-founder and content lead for B-DigitalUK, which showcases and inspires Black talent, Rejoice is an SEO expert as well as an award-winning diversity and inclusion advocate. She is also a speaker, and prides herself on understanding ‘the link between natural search, paid search and all types of great content’.
24 – MELISSA LOVE
Melissa doesn’t do average. As founder of The Design Space, she has helped thousands of entrepreneurs and creative businesses significantly boost their brand and audience by building websites they, aptly enough, love. Melissa is also behind The Marketing Fix, a membership for small creative business owners.
What people said: “She is clear, concise, generous and super-encouraging.”
25 – LUCY HALL
We’re pretty sure you’ve heard of SocialDay. You’ve probably even been, at least once. It is one of the must-attend social media events of the year for marketers, and the woman behind it all is our good friend Lucy Hall. She is also the founder of Digital Women, a fantastic community doing fantastic things as it aims to help empower women through the sharing and development of digital skills. As well as being a social media trainer and consultant, and a respected speaker, it’s easy for us to simply say: We love Lucy.
26 – NIKI HUTCHISON
Welcome, no-nonsense Niki. Edinburgh-based Niki Hutchison has been helping solopreneurs, small businesses and large companies with their brand strategy and content marketing for more than 20 years. Straight to the point and full of energy, Niki tells it like it is. She is also equally at home speaking on the stage, and hosts training courses and marketing workshops.
What people said: “Inspirational and always full of amazing advice, Niki really knows her stuff!”
27 – CHARELLE GRIFFITH
Charelle is an award-winning marketer and business mentor for solopreneurs, with a soft spot for chocolate raisins. We’re with her on that. What really comes across from Charelle is her passion for marketing, she lives and breathes it. She is also the founder of PropelHer, a personal development blog and book club with the aim of helping women unlock their true potential.
What people said: “Inspirational marketeer, always so generous with her energy, knowledge and expertise. What a woman!”
28 – LIZ MOSLEY
If you could have a super power, what would it be? Fortunately for the rest of us, Liz Mosley chose design. The experienced graphic designer from Cardiff specialises in creating creative branding for small business owners. She’s also an expert with animated GIFS, so you know who to call. Liz also hosts the popular Building Your Brand podcast and shares her skills via teaching courses. In fact, the MarketEd.Live audience were recently treated to one of her webinars. Tidy.
29 – Cat Agostinho
We love a motto. And we love Cat’s: Success will come if you help others along the way. Cat has devoted her career to supporting and promoting talent, and there’s no doubting her inspirational qualities – she co-founded Imagen Insights with Jay Richards (see No.7) and was also co-founder of Dawn Media, a community dedicated to inspiring and developing women’s careers.
What people said: “A true leader who not only inspires others but listens, makes change and wholeheartedly believes that if you invest in people, your product is far greater.”
30 – SARAH mCDOWELL
Sarah is, in her own words, ‘a digital marketing geek who drinks far too much black coffee’. We can vouch for that, because she’s a dear friend of ours. Her passion is SEO, and it really is a passion, but she’s also carved out successful roles as a speaker and a podcaster – have a listen to the SEO Mindset podcast to see what we mean. Sarah is an SEO manager for Captivate Audio and a jolly good egg to boot. We couldn’t be happier to see her on this list. Way to go McDowell!
We only have the top 30 here, but there are many more people that were nominated. Here are some honourable mentions, people in the MarketEd.Live community, where people received numerous nominations, but that just didn’t make the list:
In no particular order:
The Two Lauras