Online marketing requires experience, creativity and a working knowledge of the latest trends and technologies necessary to stay competitive in the modern landscape. And while there aren’t any shortcuts to gain more experience, there is a convenient way to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and get inspiration for your creative campaigns.

Related:10 Marketing Influencers That Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From

That way? Following and paying attention to the best, smartest marketers in the industry.

With 2018 just getting started, I wanted to list some of my favorite marketing influencers, some of the most influential experts in the industry and some of the most promising creative minds to pay attention to this year:

1. Neil Patel

Neil Patel is a highly successful entrepreneur, thanks in part to his commitment to best-in-class marketing techniques. The founder of Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout and KISSMetrics, Patel specializes in web analytics and conversions, so if you want to improve your site’s overall performance, this is the guy to follow. He has his own blog, and contributes regularly to Inc, Fast Company, Forbes,TechCrunch and of course Entrepreneur.

2. Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of Awesome Motive, the company behind the popular conversion-optimization software OptinMonster and the largest Google analytics integration for WordPress, MonsterInsights. Balkhi’s growth tools are being used by over four million websites, including the likes of Bloomberg, Intuit, DigitalMarketer and more. He’s also the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site, which he started in 2009. Balkhi regularly speaks at well-known marketing events, including Affiliate Summit, Traffic & Conversion Summit, Social Media Marketing World and more.

3. Mari Smith

Mari Smith is a top Facebook marketing expert, and a thought leader in the world of social media. She’s written multiple books, and has been a keynote speaker for several pivotal events, sharing stage time with influencers like Tony Robbins, Richard Branson and even the Dalai Lama.

4. Tamara McCleary

Tamara McCleary is the founder and CEO of Thulium, a marketing company that works with artificial intelligence (AI) and social media to boost brands in the B2B space. Influential in the realms of both AI/machine learning and marketing, she offers a must-read voice for 2018.

5. Rand Fishkin

If you haven’t heard of Rand Fishkin, you probably aren’t active in the SEO community. Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, one of the biggest SEO authorities in the industry; he’s also a dedicated marketer, entrepreneur, and search-engine optimizer. He speaks at marketing- and SEO-related events regularly, and has written multiple books, including Inbound Marketing and SEO: Insights from the Moz Blog. He still contributes regularly to the Moz blog, so make sure to stay tuned to his work.

6. Sam McRoberts

Sam McRoberts is the best-selling author of Screw the Zoo, the creator of SEO Simplified and the CEO of VUDU Marketing. He writes for Inc. and Entrepreneur, and regularly consults with some of the largest companies in the world on online marketing. He regularly appears on marketing- and entrepreneur-related podcasts as a guest, where he shares his knowledge on digital marketing. He’s also a digital nomad, traveling around the world with his family while running his business remotely.

Related: 5 Ways Most Marketers Misunderstand Influencer Marketing

7. Larry Kim

Larry Kim is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising expert, and is better known as the founder of WordStream. He’s written four award-winning books, and contributes regularly to sites like Forbes, Inc, and Search Engine Land.

8. Asif Kahn 

Asif Kahn is a marketing entrepreneur and the founder and president of the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA). He hosts a podcast for the LBMA to talk about location-based marketing, including new and upcoming technologies like facial recognition and augmented reality (AR).

9. Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is the founder of Coursera, one of the most popular online education platforms in the world. He was a lead developer for Stanford University’s Massive Open Online Courses platform, and has taught machine learning fundamentals to more than 100,000 students. He’s a leading voice in machine learning, and is currently a leader in the Google Brain project.

10. Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands is CEO of Chatty People, a chatbot tool that serves customers in the United States and around the world. Newlands is also CMO of the live streaming app Tribe.  He advises entrepreneurs on various subjects from funding to growth strategies, and he gained his green card by being recognized by the U.S. government as an “alien of extraordinary ability.” Newlands is the author of Online Marketing: A User’s Manual, and he regularly contributes to Forbes and Entrepreneur.

Did your favorite online marketer make the list?

Related: 50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch

You don’t have to follow all of these people to be successful, but the more involved you are in the marketing community, and the more diverse your sources of news and inspiration, the better. Start 2018 off right, with the best online marketing influencers helping direct your campaign strategy.

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