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The 10 most fascinating people in B2B marketing in 2018

The top reason why I love my work is the fascinating people I have the privilege to meet.  I’ve always thought B2B marketing attracts unusually interesting professionals. People who see the potential, embrace the complexity, and relish the challenges of our field.  Today, I am happy to introduce 10 of the many fascinating people I’ve interacted with during my adventures in 2018.  All of them are high-energy contributors to the advancement of our field. And a lookback shout-out to my fascinating contacts from 20172016and 2015

I’ve known Christopher Ryan, founder and CEO of FusionMarketing Partners, for years, but this one is a standout.  Check out his new book, The Expert’s B2B Revenue Growth PlaybookIt’s practical and action-oriented, with a zillion tips on how to build sales—enhance your website, choose your key metrics, develop compelling content and more.  Chris even offers a free pdf copy.

Samantha Stone’s energy and good humor seem single handedly to keep the wheels of B2B marketing going.  She’s everywhere, providing advisory services to marketers grappling with how to go to market in an increasingly complex world.  Her website offers a treasure trove of resources to help the rest of us get a head start. 

Every year, Scott Brinker brings our attention to the growth of the martech, with his famous Marketing Technology Landscape graphic—now clocking in at over 6,800 point solutions. He’s the insightful blogger of ChiefMarTech and program chair of the informative conferences.  Great work, Scott! 

Shane Schick’s Toronto-based B2B News Network is a top source for up-to-the-minute news in our industry.  In this world of disappeared media, Shane deserves a lot of credit for running a successful publishing business.  I find his daily email newsletter one of the best around.  Somehow, Shane also finds the time to blog for Cision

A few years ago, Dan Konstantinovsky took the reins at R.H. Blake, a small Cleveland agency serving the manufacturing industry.  Since then, he has taken the lead in converting traditional industrial marketing into a modern marketing powerhouse. 

Talk about high energy. Sangram Vajre, co-founder of Terminus and FlipMyFunnel, takes the cake.  I was pleased to be invited to cover the conference this year, and shareda bunch of great ideas I picked up about ABM. With all that going on, how does Sangram also produce a daily podcast, I wonder?    

Jill Rowley, longtime martech sales leader (Salesforce, Marketo) and pioneer in the field of social selling, shared a big idea at the FlipMyFunnel conference.  She envisions a day when B2B sales are transacted entirely through ecommerce, and sales role will evolve to subject matter experts to buyers.  “I have eliminated the word prospect from my vocabulary.” She says.  Intriguing.  

Olle Leckne, a Stockholm-based LinkedIn advisor, has created a clever lead generation process for appointment setting with highly refined audience targeting.  His breakthrough: Measuring the time invested in generating and converting a lead, instead of response rates and media cost.  The goal is to get a lead from hours down to minutes to set an appointment. The icing on the cake?  Using GetAccept to track proposals as they make their way along the purchase path inside the prospective customer organization. 

Seattle-based Howard Sewell, president of Spear Marketing Group, consistently produces some of the best B2B marketing advice in the world. I am a subscriber to The Point, and recommend it to all my colleagues for its wisdom, clear thinking, and actionable tips. 

Most B2B marketers already know Bob Bly, prolific author and sought-aftercopywriter.  But this year I am extra admiring of Bob because of his unique approach to Facebook.  Instead of the throwaway comments the rest of us post, Bob uses the forum for thoughtful discussion of important and—dare I say, fascinating—topics.  Always a joy to read. 

Another great year in B2B marketing.  Happy new year to all! 

Ruth Stevens

Ruth Stevens advises clients on customer acquisition and retention. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the business accelerator in New York City. Ruth is an author and contributor to many notable business publications. Her books include B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results and Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, Trade Show and Event Marketing, and co-author of the white paper series “B-to-B Database Marketing.” Ruth is a sought-after speaker and trainer, and has presented to audiences and business schools in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff Davis, and IBM.

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