All of us, including some of the greatest thinkers in the world, have turned to other great achievers and experts of their time for inspiration.
In fact, I think it’s safe to say, that the road to achieving success — whatever success may mean to you — has quite a bit to do with hearing what the experts have to say, looking at problem-solving from their perspective and hopefully learn from their mistakes.
So, I compiled a list of business experts, marketing gurus and those rising business stars that, I believe, can be of great help to small and medium business owners out there. In business, growth and marketing, these women and men are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same.
The list is broken into Top Content Marketers, Top Business Growth Experts, Top Canadian Business Experts, Top Social Media Marketers and Top Up-and-Coming Experts.
So, who are these prominent business leaders and experts in the world you should look out for?
Let’s take a look!
Top Content Marketers
Because content marketing works, yes, even for small and medium businesses. Take a look the list below and make sure to follow these experts to supercharge your learning. The best thing is that all of them put out great free content and resources so you don’t have to spend a dime to get this knowledge
- Jeff Bullas– Jeff was voted #1 Content Marketing Influencer and h.as been featured in Forbes’ Top 10 Social Media Influencer list, among his other awards. Jeff is also a speaker and author. His self-proclaimed mission is to“Inspire and educate people to win at business and life in a digital world”.
- Sam Hurley – Sam frequently published a variety of easy-to-understand articles on Digital Marketing and always pushes the value of strong relationships in business. He also shares heaps of friendly, helpful material each day across Twitter, LinkedIn + Facebook. Interact with him and you can guarantee a vibrant response in the form of emojis and GIFs! Sam’s been featured in Forbes, Inc and FastCompany Magazine.
- Kevan Lee – As the Director of Marketing at Buffer, Kevan writes about the importance of content writing and publishing. You can see more about what his thought-process are like and follow his updates here.
- Joe Pulizzi – Best-selling author and self-proclaimed “content marketing evangelist”, Jeff Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute and is often found blogging or hosting one of his two podcasts — ‘Content Inc.’ and ‘This Old Marketing’.
- Steve Cartwright – Is an influencer and content marketer, whose Twitter feed is a curated list of content marketing articles about design, social media, website design and strategy from around the web. His blog is a great resource for marketers and entrepreneurs looking to understand how good design experience can help make great content.
- Lee Odden – CEO at TopRank Marketing — a company that helps attract, engage, convert & retain more business with integrated marketing services: content, SEO, influencer marketing Author, Speaker & Consultant on B2B Content & Influencer Marketing, Social Media, PR & SEO. Proud Dad, World Traveler, Foodie, Beardie.
- Ann Handley – Ann is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs and a veteran when it comes to content creation. She is also a Wall Street Journal best-selling author for Everybody Writes, co-author of another best-seller Content Rules, and a big LinkedIn influencer. She was cited by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers, and her knowledge and experience is worth checking out!
- Martin Jones – Is a leading content marketer and currently Sr. Social Media & Content Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications marketing team. He is also a recognized writer and keynote speaker.
- Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketer, speaker, professor, journalist shares practical advice on social media, content marketing, small business & life.
- Jason Miller – As a global Content & Social Media Marketing leader, Jason leads content and social media marketing for LinkedIn. He is the author of the best seller ‘Welcome to the Funnel’.
- Jay Baer – Jay Baer is a prominent Keynote speaker & emcee. He is also the President of Convince and Convert, a marketing & social media customer service consultancy.
- Mark Schaefer – Mark is a professional keynote speaker, internationally acclaimed author and strategy consultant, He was recently voted #1 Social media keynote speaker and has five best-selling marketing books under his belt. Check out his podcast ‘Marketing Companion podcast’.
- Joanna Wiebe – Is the founder of Copy Hackers, a site that teaches — just about anyone — how to write persuasive copy that converts. She is also a prominent speaker and a social media maven.
- Aaron Orendorff – Featured in Forbes Top 25 Marketing Influencers, Aaron is an expert content writer and marketer. He writes at Mashable, Lifehacker and Huffington Post to name a few. You can read more about him here.
Top Business Growth Experts
The majority of the people on this list are from the technology world, and that’s because I firmly believe you can take away a lot from their successes in high-tech and still incorporate key learnings into your business — no matter the size.
- Sean Ellis – Entrepreneur, angel investor and startup consulter, Ellis is the “original growth hacker”, the person who both coined the term and founded GrowthHackers. He was the first marketer for EventBrite, DropBox and LookOut, and clearly a solid foundation of their successful and fast growth.
- Noah Kagan – Originally FaceBook’s 30th employee, now he’s known for founding and growing AppSumo, a web-based company trading in digitally distributes goods such as software and digital material for e-learning.
- David King – Another FaceBook-related growth expert, King is the founder of (Lil) Green Patch apps, which in itself is a growth hacking technique, as the brackets will make the apps list first in search results.
- Dave Zohrob – Currently an angel investor and working to create the perfect startup job environment, Zohrob comes from a technical background as a web engineer for Hot or Not. He started and launched, among others: Readr, Mix.io, LOLQuiz, 140 Mafia etc.
- Andrew Johns – Working with the likes of Quora, FaceBook, Twitter and Wealthfront inc., he boasts an impressive resume, dedicating his career to growth hacking, SEO management and content marketing.
- Joe Greenstein – Co-founder and CEO of Flixster and Rottentomattoes. Prior to Flixster, Greenstein was part of the startup team and Director of Product Management at Edusoft, a curriculum and assessment platform for public school districts. Edusoft grew to serve over 4M students nationwide before being acquired by Houghton-Mifflin in 2003.
- Pierre Lechelle – With a track record of helping 60+ companies reach higher goals. Pierre Lechelle is a passionate growth hacker and SAAS marketer, you can learn more about him and check out his tools on his site.
- Wade Foster – Zapier CEO and co-founder Wade Foster, built the earliest prototype of their product (Zapier) in just two days at a Startup Weekend event in Columbia, Missouri. Since then, Wade has helped Zapier become the leading automated app integration platform it is today.
- Ryan Singer Currently handling the Product strategy at Basecamp, Ryan often writes and speaks about: Product, Design and Strategy. You can find out more about him via his site.
- Clate Mask: As CEO and co-founder of Infusionsoft, Clate has been educating and inspiring entrepreneurs for over ten years. Highly popular in the small business community, he is regarded as a visionary leader by many and has also, co-authored ‘Conquer the Chaos’, a New York Times best-selling book.
- Eric Siu: Popularly know for insightful weekly interview series, where he interviews leading industry experts. Eric Sui is currently the CEO of Single Grain LLC — a digital marketing agency focused on driving scalable and predictable growth using SEM, SEO and content marketing.
- Sujan Patel: With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, Sujan Patel is now a popular name in the digital marketing and tech space. He has led the marketing strategy for Fortune 500 companies, including Sales Force, Zillow, Linkedin and Mint. He is also a weekly contributor to Inc. and Entrepreneur magazine.
- Jeremy Goldman: Jeremy is a marketing strategist and author of the book ‘Going Social’. He is also the founder & CEO of Firebrand Group, a digital branding and marketing consultancy devoted to Fortune 500 brands and high-growth startups.
- Ben Thompson: Has worked on strategy for some of the largest tech companies out there, including Apple and Microsoft. He is the author and founder of Stratechery a blog that is dedicated to strategy, technology and business.
- Guillaume Cabane: Is the marketing expert and VP of Growth at Segment, a platform used for collecting important customer data and used for effective business decisions. He currently a startup Mentor.
- Andrew Chen: Andrew Chen is a marketer that I personally look up to. His writing is practical, insightful and can almost be applied to any type of growing company. He currently works on the growth team in Uber.
Top Canadian Business Experts
We’re Canadian, so I had to include some of the top Canadian experts we follow at Signority. These people are change makers that inspire us every day. Follow them and learn about their stories and the knowledge they share.
- Mitch Joel – A communications and digital marketing visionary, Mr.Joel is often seen speaking at tech conferences on how digital technology and data are transforming the business world. He is president of Twist Image, a digital marketing agency and president and a founding partner of Distort Entertainment.
- Michael Hyatt – Executive Chairman of Bluecat, one of the leading growth companies in Canada focused on Internet of Things (IoT), he is a “virtual mentor”, open to discussing everything entrepreneurship, building and developing successful teams and how IoT is shaping up to be.
- Byron Holland – Byron Holland has been the president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and has held many other leading positions. He gives his opinions on technology and recent trends in the blog “Public Domain”.
- Tobias Lutke – He’s the founder and CEO of e-commerce company Shopify, and a the same time, a part of the core development team for Ruby on Rails. An important name in the tech industry, making Shopify one of the biggest companies in the world was definitely one of his biggest achievements.
- Ryan Holmes – Founder and CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool for businesses developed by him through his agency Invoke Media. Additionally, he is an influencer and contributor to LinkedIn’s Influencer Program, writing about tech and entrepreneurship.
- Peter Aceto – Peter Aceto is the CEO of Tangerine Bank. He is a globally recognized business leader and is the author of Weology — an insightful and practical approach to successful business leadership.
- Eli Fathi – Eli Fathi is a serial entrepreneur with several successful exits and currently the CEO of MindBridge Ai. He helps other emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, by sharing his experiences in business on his blog ‘My Take On Business’.
- Adrian Salamunovic : Founder of several multi-million dollar companies including CanvasPop.com, DNA11.com and Crated.com. He’s been featured in Techcrunch, Mashable, CNN, The Verge, WIRED. He loves working with and helping entrepreneurs like you kick ass. You can connect with him on Clarity.
- Mathew Ingram: Mathew is a senior writer at Fortune and a former columnist for the Globe and Mail. He is also an active player in the Canadian technology space and co-founded the Mesh Conference in Toronto.
- Rick Spence: As a former editor of Profit magazine, he has an extensive career helping entrepreneurs and SMBs evolve into revenue-generating powerhouses. He’s a columnist for the National Post and regularly publishes on LinkedIn.
- Sarah Prevette: Sarah has a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to the SMB market. She was the co-founder of Sprouter, an online community that helped connect small businesses with helpful advisors, as well as, founding BetaKit, an online magazine about tech startups. She’s currently a managing director at BrandProject, a venture capital firm looking to help push innovation within Canada.
- Andrew Patricio: Andrew is the CEO of BizLaunch, a company that specializes in webinars for small and medium businesses. With a bevvy of knowledge in search engine optimization, email marketing and other areas of marketing operations, Andrew has a wealth of knowledge, having started seven businesses himself, written two books on running a small business, and has a YouTube channel, BizlaunchTV.
- Victoria Lennox: The co-founder of Startup Canada and is one of the most recognized young entrepreneurs in Canada, as recognized in 2012, where Victoria was one of Canada’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs by PROFIT Magazine. She is also the first Canadian and one of the youngest recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion thanks to the work she did in the UK with the founding of NACUE.
- Erin Bury: Erin is the Managing Director at 88Creative, a creative communications agency in Toronto, as well as a columnist at the Financial Post and part of the founding team for Sprouter. With experience as the Managing Editor at BetaKit and Marketing Advisor for Abacus.Agency, her knowledge and skill set have made her one of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Marketing Pros in 2012.
Top Social Media Marketers
It’s very likely that you found this list via social media and that you’re active on it, so I’m not going to sell you on the benefits of having your business being present there. Read on to find out about the top minds in this category and take your social media business account to the next level.
- Kristin Maverick – Director of The Barbarian Group, she’s one of the top social media marketers in the world. She has led social media campaigns for the likes of Samsung, General Electric, Attention and BBDO.
- Laura Olin – If you think you don’t know Laura Olin, think again. She’s the moving hand behind President Obama’s social media campaign. Except from overseeing the social media presence of no-ex POTUS, Michelle Obama and Joe Biden, she also has created a ton of Obama-memes circulating around the internet.
- Sarah Hofstetter – As President of 360i and leader of one of the coolest social shops of the moment. Her company was behind Oreo’s viral response to SuperBowl blackout, and this was successful not because of dumb luck but because she had a team waiting to live comment on any occurrence during transmission.
- Jeff Greenspan – Now a freelancer, his most notable stints include BBDO, FaceBook and most recently being Chief Creative Officer at Buzzfeed. He is one of the few creatives who has experienced social marketing from every end of the spectrum. He has worked inside agencies, experimented with native advertising on one of the most viral publishers out there, and even has insider knowledge of what works on social media from his days at Facebook.
- “The Squirrels” – DraftFCB has a group of four creatives (Jared Isle, Noel Hamilton, Michael Lubrano, Jackie Anzaldi) who worked together on one of Oreo’s most successful FaceBook campaigns: Oreo’s Daily Twist. They did some pretty memorable, culturally relevant posts, such as the one for Gay Pride, or celebrating the landing of the Mars Rover.
- Ram Krishan – He’s the one leading Lay’s and Doritos’ “Do us a flavor” and “Crash the SuperBowl” social media campaigns. His speciality is engaging users; they were asked to choose the Lay’s flavor that would get to go on markets on a very successful FaceBook campaign.
- Michaela Alexis – Michaela is an Ottawa-based content marketing specialist, turned Linkedin influencer. Her first viral article garnered over 120,000 views, shares, likes and comments to followers in less than a year! Her writing has been published on Yahoo! Finance, PR Daily, The Muse, Job.com, CNBC, and other large publications.
- Ryan Biddulph – Besides being a social media master, Ryan’s writes and manages his blog ‘Welcome to Blogging From Paradise’, an active community to help people build a full time, professional blogging career. As his blog’s title suggests, he primarily blogs as he travels the world. If travelling is your passion, then his blog is a must-read for you.
- Neal Schaffer – Neal is the founder of Maximize Your Social and a three-time award-winning author, most notable for his definitive book “Maximize Your Social”. His success has awarded and recognized him as a leader in social media, being named as CMO.com’s top 10 biggest thought leaders, Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, and Forbes Top 5 Social Sales Influencer. His wealth of knowledge and success is tremendous and definitely worth checking out!
- Mike Kawula: Michael is the CEO of Social Quant, a top ranked Twitter Marketing tool by Hubspot, and ranked as one of Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2012. He is the author of “Twitter Marketing That Sells” and has great experience and knowledge when it comes to all things social media.
- Sandi Krakowski: Sandi is the founder and president of A Real Change International, Inc., that deals with helping businesses with marketing strategies, as well as working together to help bring faith and cohesion into workplaces. She has been featured on the Forbes Top 20 Online Marketing Influencers, Top 20 Women Social Media Influencer, and Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer lists.
- Ian Cleary: Ian is a huge player in the world of influencers. Founder of RazorSocial, he helps businesses understand social media tools and how to leverage them to be more efficient and effective. Ian’s credentials are outstanding, especially with blog content, becoming one of Social Media Examiner’s top 10 social media blogs within 6 months of the start of RazorSocial.
- Pam Moore: Pam is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Nutz, a full service, social media and digital marketing agency and has helped businesses develop and integrate digital marketing, social media, and content marketing strategies. Pam’s success hasn’t been unnoticed. She is one of Forbes’ Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and Top 10 Social Media Women Power Influencers for her influence in the marketing world.
- Michael Stelzner – Michael Stelzner is a social media champion and founder of Social Media Examiner, the absolute resource for everything social media and online marketing. Besides this, he is also an author and speaker.
- Kim Garst – Through Boom!Social — a consulting firm that Kim Garst founded — she trains, educates, inspires and motivates entrepreneurs on how to use social media for personal branding. Kim is also the author of, “The Quick and Easy Guide to Branding Your Business and Creating Massive Sales with Pinterest”.
- Chris Brogan – As CEO, of Owner Media Group, Inc. Chris uses his expert background in business strategy to provide actionable skills to businesses to grow their capabilities and connections for businesses of all sizes.
Top Up-and-Coming Experts
Like the name implies, these experts are not widely known yet, but they will be, trust me. Read and follow their stories from now on so you can get inspired and informed.
- Nathan Lands – CEO and co-founder of recently emerging Blockai, or else artificial intelligence that protects the copyright of your Instagram photos with only the use of a hashtag. This is such a genuine way to avoid copyright infringement that the general public can’t help but love.
- Rob May – Characterized by a fresh way of looking at things, except for being a blogger and publishing his own articles, Rob has founded chatbot startup Talla. He’s expected to be one of the biggest names in the industry in a few years time.
- David & Orion Hindawi – This father-son pair have founded Tanium together, a cybersecurity firm that offers a new approach to endpoint security systems.
- Marcy Boyle – feature filmmaker and founder of HotBit VR, a virtual Reality startup aiming to bring virtual reality stunt and make it the next thing.
- Noah Kraft – Founder of The Doppler Labs, he’s also a business expert to watch out for. He’s behind all this “augmented reality for the ears” thing, that sooner or later will have to bloom in between us common folks. This guy’s such a visionary, that he’s bringing it to us in the “sooner” part of the spectrum.
- Melanie Pinola – Melanie is a former Lifehacker writer and current Zapier editorial team manager. She writes on various topics, from technology to investing. You can view her work here.
- Lisa Sicard – Is a social media marketer and blogger. Her blog ‘Inspire To thrive’, contains some great material about social media today, blogging and SEO tips.
- Kimra Luna – Kimra is a personal brand strategist and a must-follow for 2017, according to Forbes. She exploded into the industry just a few years ago and built a multi-million business through her brand ‘ Be True Brand You’ from scratch.
- Jason Stone – With over 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Jason is a true social media maven and his motivational posts are great picker-uppers if you’re in need of it. He is also an internationally recognized sales trainer.
- Reach Branding – Another branding and personal branding to look out for is Reach Branding. William Arruda, founder of Reach Branding gives tips, tricks and expert advice on how to build your personal brand. Aside from blogging, William delivers workshops on the power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies.
Bonus: Top Content Marketing Platforms
We covered experts in business, now here’s a look at brands and platforms that have put content marketing at the forefront of their marketing strategy and executing it almost flawlessly. Take these learnings and inject into your small business for a 2017 full of success and growth.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn is today’s social media leader as far as content marketing goes. With its long-post feature and promotion for its users, the possibilities are endless, hence it getting first place.
- Salesforce – With its myriad of webinars, whitepapers and expert opinions on industry matters, Salesforce is another winner of the content marketing game.
- Stanford Graduate School of Business – Stanford publishes Insights, which is very well received among students and professionals alike for its in-depth articles, research and documentation on a range of topics such as finance, social innovation, energy, all with well-known and established authors and researchers.
- IBM – This is another example of how tech companies are leading in the content marketing matters. By regularly posting tutorials, research and whitepapers on specific issues, this company has built quite a following.
- Adobe – Adobe’s strong point regarding content marketing is their digital magazine CMO.com. It contains slideshows, digital marketing news and insights, interviews and general articles on a variety of categories such as technology, research, strategy, management, etc. The real gem though, is their interview section, with original and straightforward expert opinions.
- Cisco – Cisco made waves with their documentary-style video sessions: My Networked Life, consisting of personal stories of young engineers and technology people showing how they used hardware and software to improve their lives. It was both inspiring and helpful for the careers of many young people featured there.
A quick shoutout to Danny Schreiber (Zapier), Cody Jones (Zapier), Adrian Salamunovic and Sam Hurley for the help!
In case you missed our massively-helpful post on ‘The Ultimate List: 100+ Tools & Resources For Skyrocketing Business Growth in 2017’, you can read it here.