To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting some of the women who are creating new avenues for growth and innovation at the nexus of marketing and technology. From building new platforms that evolve the industry to creating unforgettable digital campaigns that give brands an authentic voice, here’s a round-up of seven digital thought leaders and practitioners to follow right now. They are challenging, shaping, and defining the digital marketing space and providing fresh insights into how marketers can move forward in the face of fast-changing priorities and technology.
If content is king, then Ann Handley is queen. From her work as chief content officer with the industry-leading site MarketingProfs to writing best-selling books, Handley has taken the conversation around content and made it accessible to marketers and non-writers alike. Her books include the WSJ best seller Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Her influence is based on deep expertise in the content marketing space, which includes cofounding the site ClickZ and spending years as a business journalist. Follow her on Twitter at @marketingprofs or at annhandley.com.
“Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid.” – Ann Handley, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
In the world of digital marketing, today’s audiences closely watch the leading brands to see how they’re innovating, experimenting, and pushing the boundaries for future campaign direction. Alex Hisaka is the brain behind many of today’s most innovative content marketing programs. She’s currently the head of global content marketing at LinkedIn and has worked at top brands such as PayPal, Salesforce, and Edelman. Her work demonstrates how to use content to humanize tech brands, while delivering massive value to the legions of users who depend on products and services. Follow Hisaka on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @AlexHisaka.
“Growing up we were asked, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ When I was six I responded that I wanted to be ‘a newspaper lady that helps people.’ Little did I know that my early passions for writing would transform into a single career of understanding human behavior, using content as a tool to change the way people feel and think about a brand.” – Alex Hisaka, LinkedIn profile
Mari Smith stands out for her deep expertise in Facebook and social media strategy. She’s been named a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Influencer. The social channel has exploded. And companies and individuals navigating the digital space that need a North Star to guide them to what strategies work look to Smith. As a speaker and author who has shared the stage with the Dalai Lama and has more than 1.5 million followers across social platforms, Smith’s focus is clear. She consistently advocates two values in building digital connections: delivering value and building relationships. Find her online here or on Twitter at @MariSmith.
“The secret to social media success is to think and act like a member first, and a marketer second.” – Mari Smith
Dorie Clark is a digital marketing leader who contributes to publications like Forbes, The Harvard Business Review, TIME and Entrepreneur. Her books Stand Out: How to Develop Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It and Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future provide actionable strategies for individuals and brands trying to solve the question of how to apply digital strategies to their own challenges. The New York Times called Clark an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.” Today she serves as an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and is an in-demand speaker and lecturer. Follow Clark here or on Twitter, @dorieclark.
“There are three foundational elements to getting your ideas understood and appreciated, elements that underlie everything else. These are social proof, which gives people a reason to listen to you; content creation, which allows them to evaluate the quality of your ideas; and your network, which allows your ideas to spread.” – Dorie Clark, The Harvard Business Review
Alison is a standout name in the digital marketing world for her work as director global social business strategy at Dell. In her role combining ownership for global social business and digital strategy for Dell, she focuses on “creating a customer-centric experience that is mapped to business impact, scalability, and innovation.” She recently led social business integration between Dell and EMC in the largest tech deal in history. Today, Herzog’s work serves as a model for digital marketers looking for ways to be intrapreneurial and to advocate for the customer within large organizations. Follow Herzog on LinkedIn.
“My responsibility is to lead and design programs that make sure our customer, both B2B and B2C, are the centerpiece and recipients of value creation… All this is done by making sure we are listening to our customers (both qualitatively and quantitatively leveraging social + big data) and treating them as partners to ensure their business scales and transforms with the next industrial revolution, technology.” – Alison Herzog, LinkedIn profile
Susan Wojcicki is helping lead the video revolution as the CEO of YouTube, the world’s largest video platform. She’s an advocate for women in the tech space, with her vision summed up in a recent Vanity Fair piece. As Google’s 16th employee, Wojcicki was instrumental in a number of the company’s core innovations, from image search to Google Analytics. Today, as YouTube’s CEO, she’s playing a leading role in shaping the future of video — which is widely acknowledged as one of the most critical forms of content in the digital landscape. Follow her on Twitter @susanwojcicki.
“Work smart. Get things done. No nonsense. Move fast.” – Susan Wojcicki
Adrienne Lofton is the SVP of global brand marketing at Under Armour. With broad experience in digital marketing across brands like Under Amour, Levi Strauss & Co., Target, GAP and General Motors, Lofton brings a unique vision to the table in building the athletic brand’s global profile. However, her experience as an athlete — including serving as captain of Howard University’s NCAA Division I volleyball team — has given her the unique ability to define Under Armour’s positioning through the lens of the athlete. Under Lofton’s guidance, Under Armour has grown to be one of the leading sports apparel companies in the world with bold campaigns like “Rule Yourself” and “I Will What I Want.” Follow Lofton on LinkedIn.
“Marketing is no different from being an athlete—knowing your path, setting it early and accomplishing it.’ – Adrienne Lofton, as quoted in a 2010 AdWeek interview.
These women’s contributions to digital marketing have been vast and deep. Make sure to follow them to continue to learn from their experience and insights.
Liz Alton writes about digital marketing and her work has been featured in USA Today, Forbes, Inc, Harvard Business Review, and Entrepreneur. Her specialties include all things marketing, technology, B2B, big data/analytics, cloud, and mobility. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and an MBA from Western Governors University. She is currently pursuing a master’s in journalism from Harvard University. Liz is a paid contributor to THINK Marketing.