The Marketing Inspiration List is back for 2022 to celebrate the best and brightest in the industry.
There has been some change from last year so keep an eye out for your favourite marketers. Yes, some familiar names remain in the top 30, but the new stars of 2022 give us new voices to investigate.
We invited anyone to nominate someone who inspired them. Invitations went out to our email list (previous attendees and email list sign ups), our social media audience and via paid ads.
Unexpectedly were able to identify some 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.
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.
We’ll be revealing one person on the list each day, starting at 30 and going until we reach the top spot. Exciting, right?
1 – Ann Handley
It had to happen at some point. Consistently in our list, Ann continues to inspire the MarketEd.Live community and many others. Is it too much to state Ann is at god-tier in the marketing world? Not according to voters, who highlight how Everybody Writes has helped them become better at writing and who state that her fortnightly newsletter is the best they receive. A master at story-based narrative, Ann is an in-demand international speaker who brings joy to an audience. It’s about bloody time Ann Handley was our top marketer that inspires.
What people said: Her fortnightly emails are inspiring, interesting and often challenging. Oh and funny! And her books are good too. Oh, and I am living for her dog content.
2 – Katy Leeson
Katy is managing director of Social Chain, one of the leading social media agencies in the UK. A strong advocate for women in leadership, mental health and wellbeing, Katy lets you in to her world through her social content and podcast I Shouldn’t Say This But… where she talks to a terrific mix of guests about topics ranging from how to create change through to why it’s okay to feel shit sometimes. Honestly a breath of fresh air.
What people said: Basically I consume everything Katy publishes. Great podcast, great Instagram, genuinely thought provoking on LinkedIn.
3 – Rory Sutherland
Vice-Chair of Ogilvy Group, Rory’s insights into the world of advertising and marketing help those of us in the trade understand everything from consumer behaviour to analytics. Writing in multiple publications, but particularly The Spectator, his ideas and suggestions on how things could work better reminds us that part of a marketer’s role is to challenge what is accepted and be brave with our ideas.
What people said: Always focusses on what matters, no matter how detailed the subject, and that is ‘why people do what they do’.
4 – Seth Godin
Legendary is an understatement when describing Seth Godin. Consistently in our top ten, Seth continues to inspire marketers across the world with his succinct blog that questions everything we do. An author of multiple books, ranging from This is Marketing to the seminal Purple Cow Seth’s work is a must read for every marketing student (and by that we mean any marketer that wants to keep bettering themselves – which should, of course, be everyone).
What people said: Seth Godin’s work is some of the earliest stuff I read in my career. He keeps delivering and is by my side as that career develops.
5 – Mark Ritson
Mark is not known for holding back on his viewpoint. Indeed, the quality that voters in this poll seemed to admire the most was his straight talking and ability to articulate what people were actually thinking but were possibly afraid to say. Unafraid to call out the stench of terrible marketing practice, listening to Mark Ritson will have you questioning why you went along with something in the first place and motivate you into simply being better.
What people said: I’ve watched a number of online sessions over the last year where Mark Ritson was speaking. He’s reminded me that the circumstances in which we’re marketing don’t really change, it’s just some of the external influences shift.
6 – Andrew Davis
If you don’t know who Andrew Davis is, you need to correct that immediately. Drew is an energetic and masterful speaker who teaches business leaders how to grow their business and leave their legacy. From meeting Drew in person for the first time last November, what struck us was his ability to listen and target his advice to the things that will make the greatest difference. He’s also immense fun.
What people said: He is my marketing hero – his YouTube channel is incredible, his emails are amazing, and his energy is infectious.
7 – Karen Blackett
A real powerhouse of the marketing world, Karen shows leadership in our industry, often publishing or contributing to content about what it’s like to move into management. She shares her own lessons from her career and offers valuable insight into topics such as inclusive leadership and the gender pay gap.
What people said: I’d love to emulate Karen Blackett’s career. As a young, Black woman in marketing I don’t always see myself in senior positions even though senior female POC exist. That needs to change.
8 – Teresa Heath-Wareing
We love Teresa – she’s definitely a friend of MarketEd.Live and clearly has a big fan base. With a strong pedigree in marketing in many different industries, she uses this to help and coach smaller businesses through a mix of marketing and, importantly, mindset with a no shame policy.
What people said: Whatever your query or concern Teresa can come up with the answer, inspiration or motivation, and all done in a way that doesn”t make you feel inadequate, silly or stupid!
9 – Joe Glover
The clue is in the name. Could anyone in marketing outwardly show more love to a community than Joe gLOVEr? The Marketing Meetup community is full of ‘positively lovely people’. Throughout the pandemic, TMM continued to bring some of the best marketing minds to its audience, and still does with a series of weekly virtual events.
What people said: Joe’s attitude, and whole demeanour, represents the best in what it is to be a human in business. I’m genuinely grateful for the events he puts on.
10 – Kenda Macdonald
Our 2021 closing keynote speaker, Kenda has been a friend to the MarketEd.Live community for a number of years and fits nicely with our idea of bringing the best marketing minds to the audience. And the consideration of how buyers’ minds work is what Kenda does best. Author of Hack the Buyers Brain Kenda makes buying psychology accessible to those of us who do not have a psychology degree.
What people said: She’s an absolute ledge. I found her talk so helpful; it allowed me to truly understand how my customers could interpret my content and I was struggling with that before MarketEd.Live
11 – BizPaul
We need to be independent when we discuss this next one. Leading MarketEd.Live since its inception, BizPaul is responsible for curating the best event for marketers, business owners and creatives on the planet. He seems to be able to bring together the right people for the right time and introduce us to discussions that can sometimes feel uncomfortable but that are necessary.
What people said: He has his finger on the pulse of the marketing world and is great at sharing his knowledge.
12 – Debbie Clarke
Another of our 2021 speaker alumni that has inspired MarketEd.Live attendees, Debbie has moved up the charts from previous years to the heights of number twelve. We admire her for her no bullshit stance on issues like authenticity (‘a bit wanky’) and women’s rights. We hope Debbie continues to challenge our perceptions and call out the nonsense.
What people said: I thought it was just me who thought authenticity was a load of bollocks, but Debbie’s talk made me think about how it’s more about being genuine.
13 – Pat Flynn
Founder of SmartPassiveIncome and, more recently, SwitchPod, Pat is an accomplished entrepreneur and speaker who is extremely open with his audience about his life and his thinking about business. He’s also a gamer and author. Superfans will teach you how to build a group of fans that can help build your business.
What people said: Still continues to amaze me how he evolves his business, and maintains such an incredibly strong community at scale.
14 – Mark Schaefer
An author of nine books, there’s no looking back for Mark. A marketing futurist, he leads the conversation in what the industry needs to think about. A fun guy who is fantastic to talk to, we love the way he places humanity at the centre of this thinking and philosophy. Mark’s book, Known, is a must read for anyone considering using their personal brand as part of their strategy.
What people said: He has a genuine common sense attitude to marketing where putting humans first is the focus.
15 – Alexa Heinrich
Alexa is a social media accessibility trailblazer. Consistently advocating inclusivity as the default when it comes to content, she has recently created accessible-social.com, a free resource hub for digital marketers so everyone can reach a higher standard in the level of content that is available to everyone.
What people said: Alexa breaks it down into what we as marketers need to pay attention to in order to ensure our content can be comfortably consumed by all.
16 – Thierry Ngutegure
The legend that is Thierry Nguteguere, Head of Insight at Journey Further, is a total revelation for anyone who thinks data is dull. Often putting out content based on trending topics or news items, Thierry is on it and is a great follow for anyone looking to make their content more concrete without making it boring.
Also, check out his beer.
What people said: His session at MarketEd Lite in 2020 made me realise that I could use data to back up an argument for buying my products.
17 – Jay Richards
Alongside Cat Agostinho (who, incidentally just featured outside the Top 30), Jay Richards is the co-founder of Imagen Insights, a company producing content, feedback and insights into the Gen Z audience. It’s a unique approach that clearly focuses on the quality of information and viewpoints from a key market and one with increasing decision making authority.
What people said: I’ve gained a view of an audience I don’t know much about myself through Imagen’s services but Jay also addresses some of the issues we need to consider – like social injustice and diversity.
18 – Finola Howard
Finola has built many brands in her time, from a wide range of sectors. So she knows a thing or two about brand building and how businesses can use marketing to scale. One of Ireland’s top women in digital marketing, Finola is an avid sea swimmer – we’re not sure if the two are connected, but if we need to get in the sea to replicate some of her success, we’ll get our speedos.
What people said: Five words I’d use to describe this remarkable lady: genuine, generous, wise, warm and inspiring!
19 – Mark Masters
Look, we’re huge fans of anyone who runs events and communities – it’s hard work. If you want a lesson in what marketing leadership looks like, look no further than Mark Masters. You Are The Media is a hugely popular community, full of bright sparks. A well-connected chap, Mark has managed to bring the big names to share their ideas that YATM so that people can learn together.
What people said: He’s just bloody awesome. So kind spirited, generous, funny. Does things differently from everyone else.
20 – John Espirian
Being ‘relentlessly helpful’ is very much in John’s DNA. In fact, such is his helpful nature around how to be consistent with content, he named his book after his ideology (actually we don’t know that was why he specifically named it ‘Content DNA’ but if fits for us. John very much embodies what he talks about; you can learn lessons from John on the art of intelligent engagement on platforms and we love his experiments that he conducts and shares the results of.
What people said: He gives so much of his time to learn things and develop processes, and then shares this in his incredible blogs and LinkedIn group.
21 – Nathan Anibaba
Another of our fantastic 2021 speakers, Nathan is the founder of Bridge, a growth focused podcast agency. He’s also the host of Agency Dealmasters and one of the best interviewers around. He dives into conversations with leaders in the marketing world and leaves the listener with a deepers knowledge of the subject, representing the audience while he has precious time with some exceptional people.
What people said: The Agency Dealmasters podcast has introduced me to people who are pushing boundaries in marketing. His interview technique brings out the best in his guests so we can all learn lessons.
22 – Rachel Pederson
Described as the ‘Queen of Social Media’ Rachel focuses on teaching busy parents to find freedom by becoming successful social media managers without having to sacrifice the things that matter most. How empowering! What stands out by looking at her content is how much of it there is, from fast track TikTok training to income studies to allow social media managers to benchmark their revenue.
What people said: She’s done the work, is real and authentic, and is supporting freelancers and social media managers who come behind her.
23 – Grace Marshall
Described in her bio as ‘Chief Encourager, Productivity Ninja’, Grace’s book ‘Struggle’ is a beautiful read that gives you permission to lean into the experience of struggling and feel the power of it in order to release you from its grip. We actually read this book and loved it, so it is wonderful to see Grace in the Top 30 this year.
What people said: Grace combines modern productivity techniques with understanding that we are human beings with thoughts, emotions and lives that get in the way of being super-productive Robots!
24 – Ryan Deiss
From Austin, TX, Ryan Deiss is a marketer turned entrepreneur turned investor. He speaks frequently about ‘customer value optimization’ and can be found leading the conversation on marketing and specifically conversion, an element that sometimes gets lost in the noise of brand awareness – we all have to sell, remember?
What people said: I’ve been following Ryan Deiss for years. I don’t think I’d have a business if it weren’t for his knowledge that he freely shares.
25 – The Two Lauras
Laura Davis and Laura Moore (both referred to as ‘Laura 1’) are a duo of social media marketers who are pushing their members to remain one step ahead of the very busy industry. Focusing on not just what’s happening in the space, but providing advice on how to win and retain business, they are helping hundreds of freelance social media managers, often women, to think about social media as a psychology-driven discipline.
What people said: The thing that stands out is that they’re always on top of their game when it comes to knowing the latest marketing trends and implementing them ASAP.
26 – Laura Robinson
Laura is a copywriting coach with specific expertise in the online services space. On her website, she talks about her love of tongue-twisters, alliteration and writing in general but clearly has an aptitude for copy for sales pages, something that her audience needs and uses a lot. A recent appearance speaking at ATOMICON21 clearly impressed those who attended and nominated her for our list.
What people said: She spoke at Atomicon and it was fabulous! She shows up for her audience and her work inspired me.
27 – Tim Elliott
Our Tim! A highly consistent voice in UK marketing and ever-present in his native East Midlands, Tim challenges the standard viewpoint in marketing. These days you’ll find Tim talking about how to be more ethical in marketing and how our industry needs to wake up to its contribution to the climate emergency and do better. You’ll also find him trail running somewhere.
What people said: Someone I’ll always look up to for what’s going on in marketing and how we can use our own energy to be more creative.
28 – Christina Garnett
Christina is a community builder, digital strategist and, apparently a data nerd – we love nerds! – that works at popular CRM solution HubSpot. One person described her as ‘the Godmother of #MarketingTwitter’, a high accolade indeed. Christina’s dedication to spotlighting others and working that community is hard to surpass.
What people said: Christina is a community person through and through; she has used her voice to boost the voice of countless others in the marketing space.
29 – Hannah Drake
With one of the best domain names ever (writesomeshit.com) Hannah describes herself as ‘a Black woman with a pen, notepad, computer and an opinion’ and is an activist and poet profiled last year in the New York Times. If you feel uncomfortable reading Hannah’s work, then good, this is not a time to be comfortable.
What people said: She’s a culture-changing visionary, spoken word artist and beloved activist who is never afraid to speak the truth about America’s difficult history and equally difficult present.
30 – Nicole Osborne
Our favourite German, Nicole Osborne helps digital agency owners establish their brand and attract the right clients. A chartered marketer for over 20 years, she’s seen it and done it across the European continent, creating a band of wunderstars as she goes. Her YouTube content offers practical advice for the modern agency business owner, although there’s not enough content about David Hasselhoff on it.
What people said: Nicole is awesome for consistency and keeping to relevant content for her audience.
Supportive, knowledgeable & generally the motivating Wunderstar that you want in your camp