Marketers are storytellers.
But how they tell their story differs - some loud and proud on a billboard, others subtly on packaging, others on an office whiteboard.
Regardless of how the story is being told, the story of marketing today has dramatically changed. Companies around the globe are reimagining their marketing strategies, adapting to emerging trends that are shaking the internet, including but not limited to the following list.
Where we're at today:
10 Technology Trends Flummoxing Traditional Marketers Right Now
- The meteoric rise of AI technology — half (48%) of experts felt that robots and digital agents will displace a significant number of jobs while the other half (52%) expect robotics and AI to create more jobs than they take.
- The increase of AI chatbot UX interfaces. For example, ChatGPT from OpenAI achieved over 100 million users within two months. 53% of people fail to identify ChatGPT written content as AI-written.
- The disruption of organic SEO by Google’s Generative AI Search Results.
- The rise of Community-Led Growth resulting from Product-Led Growth.
- Surging email newsletter platforms like Beehiv and Substack for creators.
- 10+ new or expanding social platforms including Instagram’s upcoming Twitter competitor, Whatsapp Communities, Discord Audio, Bluesky Social from Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, et al.
- YouTube officially enters podcasting.
- TikTok is expected to reach 1.8 billion users in 2023, rapidly gaining on Instagram’s 2 billion users.
- Authenticity and personality-based content perform better than classic business brand campaigns. Example: Mr. Beast’s new video hit 47 million views in one day.
- Apple’s foray into the post-iPhone era of spatial computing with VisionPro.
If you were to time travel from 2015 to today, you'd probably feel like an alien in a strange land. Technology works as an accelerator pedal, fast-forwarding the marketing industry into a whole new world.
Fortunately, there are marketing leaders who are at the cutting edge of these advancements. We’ve compiled a list of them below — from founders to corporate marketing executives, these award winning professionals are known for their voice, their strategies, and their impact on today’s marketing trends, changing the way we do business.
Join us as we dive into their fascinating profiles, mapping the present and future of marketing. Note these are not in any particular order as they all come to the table with something unique.
Who we can turn to:
The 30 Marketing Leaders Creating the Future of Marketing
1. Kieran Flanagan, CMO Zapier
Prior to his role at Zapier, Kieran served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot, one of the world's leading inbound marketing and sales platform. In this role, he honed his expertise in creating and leading effective marketing teams, positioning him as a credible and knowledgeable authority in this space.
Kieran's experience goes beyond the corporate world. As an active startup advisor and investor, he has played a significant part in guiding many early-stage companies towards substantial growth, specifically by helping them generate increased traffic, users, and revenue. His track record includes working with various SaaS companies, adding millions to their overall numbers in terms of traffic, users, and revenue.
Kieran is also cohost of the top marketing podcast Marketing Against The Grain along with his cohost who is #30 on this list. Again, this list is not ranked or ordered in any way.
Lisa Ames, CMO, Norwest Venture Partners
With a keen understanding of high-growth environments and an unwavering dedication to mentorship, Ames' focus on demand generation and account-based marketing have proven instrumental in supporting Norwest's portfolio companies.
She has navigated the dual role of CMO and Operating Executive, working closely with multiple companies, optimizing their marketing organizations, strategies, practices, and resources, all the while translating insights into shared knowledge across Norwest's portfolio.
Lisa's role as a mentor for Women in Revenue and Santa Clara University Bronco Venture Accelerator and her distinct approach as a 'business therapist' underscore her dedication to fostering success in others.
Trevor (TJ) Johnson, Head of Marketing for Global Business Solutions, TikTok
Trevor Johnson has helped shape the social digital landscape. With 12 years at Facebook and Instagram, where he impressively contributed to the establishment of 12 commercial offices across EMEA, LATAM, and APAC, and helped run operations for Instagram in EMEA.
At TikTok, he oversees Creative Lab, B2B Marketing and Comms, Brand Strategy, and Partnership Solutions, and played a key role in launching TikTok for Business amidst the pandemic. Beyond his commercial success, Trevor actively champions diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry and advises numerous organizations within the sector.
Giles Rhys-Jones, CMO, what3words
At what3words, Jones created the company's vision, positioning, and go-to-market strategy, taking it from a nascent idea to a powerful tool used in over 170 countries by organizations, individuals, and governments alike.
His leadership earned the brand prestigious accolades like the Cannes Lion Grand Prix and a D&AD black pencil, alongside coverage from major global media outlets. Jones's acumen in team building and strategy is evident in his expert maneuvering of a "hybrid model", blending key in-house skills and specialist agency expertise. With his commitment to making what3words part of popular culture, Jones exemplifies a marketing leader whose innovative approach reshapes the way society communicates about location.
Ellie Norman, CCO, Manchester United
Ellie Norman is probably best known within her field for revitalizing brands and creating impactful customer experiences. Her expertise spans various consumer-centric sectors, including media, telco, automotive, and sports entertainment.
As the former Global Director of Marketing and Communications at Formula 1, she significantly contributed to the growth of its fan base, defined its vision, value, and purpose, and steered sustainable growth. In 2022, Ellie joined Manchester United as Chief Communications Officer with a commitment to recentering fans at the heart of the Club. She oversees the brand and content, manages press and broadcaster relations, and leads digital and social media channels, shaping the brand's overall identity.
Pat Walls, Founder, Starter Story
Walls' approach to marketing includes a focus on community building, as demonstrated by the vibrant community of entrepreneurs he has built through Starter Story. His ability to foster a sense of belonging and trust among his audience is a testament to his strengths in effective marketing.
Walls also pioneered innovative distribution strategies, such as leveraging Reddit's potential despite its aversion to self-promotion and encouraged entrepreneurs to share their features on their social media. We all know content is king, and so did Walls, as he made a strategic shift from traditional interview-style pieces to SEO-friendly content to drive organic traffic.
Steph Smith, Podcast Host, Andreessen Horowitz
Steph Smith recently joined the prestigious venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), as their podcast host. Known for her leadership at The Hustle and as the Director of Marketing for Hubspot Creators, she carved a niche for herself in the marketing and content creation world. Her side projects, such as her book 'Doing Content Right' and the podcast 'Sh*t You Didn’t Learn In School,' further bolster her image as a content creator and personal brand builder.
Since 2018, she has been nurturing her personal brand by actively creating engaging content.
Steph's personal brand's secret to success lies in her relentless curiosity, thoughtful intention, and transparency. She successfully amassed a Twitter following of over 118 thousand followers, kickstarting her journey by sharing her progress in learning to code.
Martin Gontovnikas, Co-Founder, HyperGrowth Partners
Martin Gontovnikas, or "Gonto," is a software engineer turned marketing maven who currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing at Auth0.
With an inherent passion for engineering, Gonto made a switch to marketing, where he has found an exciting way to combine his engineering thinking model with strategic marketing. His analytical prowess forms the bedrock of his data-driven approach to marketing strategy and experimental design, ensuring decisions are evidence-based and results-oriented.
Gonto's journey extends beyond the realm of marketing into product development. In this role, Gonto applies his engineering mind to the field of product innovation, cementing Auth0's position as a leader in identity and access management. He has previously built a popular framework for AngularJS called Restangular, now used by renowned companies such as weather.com, Reuters, and CNN. Interestingly, Gonto discovered his affinity for marketing when he realized that he enjoyed promoting Restangular through blog content, StackOverflow discussions, and event speaking engagements more than building it.
Robin Daniels, Founding member, ByFounders
Robin Daniels is seriously impressive. Over the course of his career, Robin has held executive leadership roles in high-growth companies of all sizes, including Matterport, where he served as the CMO and guided the company through an IPO. He also held pivotal roles at WeWork, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Box (which also underwent an IPO during his tenure), Veritas, and Vera (which was later acquired).
He specializes in growth, marketing, go-to-market (GTM) strategies, and leadership development. Known for his innovative and engaging approach, Robin focuses on delivering outstanding results while empowering individuals and teams to produce their best work. Currently, he provides fractional and consultative Growth, Marketing, and Leadership Advisory services, taking on board roles and short-term assignments.
Mark Curtis, Head of Innovation at Accenture Song
A renowned entrepreneur and visionary, Mark Curtis has trailblazed the confluence of media, digital, mobile, and design over three decades. In 1994, he co-founded CHBi to delve into the burgeoning field of interactive and new media, and his efforts yielded notable innovations such as Yell for Yellow Pages, interactive retail games for Allied Domecq, and the first global online traffic news and route planning for the RAC. After CHBi became part of Razorfish, Mark led a transformative change management program for all 2,000 employees, redefining the company's approach to clients and projects.
His significant contributions extend to the mobile dating industry, as he steered the mobile dating start-up Flirtomatic, pioneering and marketing the freemium revenue model in mobile for the first time. An esteemed speaker, commentator, and author, Curtis’s efforts have revolutionized how businesses market and interact with the digital landscape.
Lydia Flocchini, CMO, SurePoint Technologies
Recognized as one of the 2023 Influential Women in Legal Tech by ILTA, and a recipient of Demand Gen Report’s B2B Innovator Award, Flocchini has been instrumental in shaping the marketing strategies at SurePoint, including its 2020 rebranding, digital transformation, and product launches.
Prior to SurePoint, Flocchini held leadership roles at companies including Thomson Reuters, Lex Machina, and Logikcull, where she pioneered the industry's first customer success function. With her deep understanding of the interplay between law, technology, and business, and her dedication to mentoring underrepresented groups in the field, Flocchini has been a force in marketing innovation and legal technology, cementing her status as a prominent marketing leader in the legal tech space.
Zaid Al-Qassab, Chief Marketing Officer, Channel 4
As the Chief Marketing Officer at Channel 4, Zaid Al-Qassab propels marketing and brand strategy across the network with a strong emphasis on data-led digital marketing. A champion of diversity, Al-Qassab intertwines his passion for ethnic and cultural diversity into his professional roles, furthering his mission as an executive leader for Inclusion & Diversity at Channel 4.
He has managed to drive brand growth, digital transformation, and diversity in each role he has undertaken. His ability to navigate complex brand narratives and marketing strategies and his tireless advocacy for diversity and inclusion position him at the forefront of marketing leadership.
Carolyn McKeever, Group Marketing Director, Specsavers
Carolyn McKeever is worth recognizing. Currently serving as the Group Marketing Director at Specsavers, she brings forth her extensive experience in multichannel retail, financial services, and healthcare. Recognized as an exemplary people leader, McKeever has been involved in vision creation, service and digital transformation, and people development.
She has the ability to identify synergies and generate sustainable value for diverse stakeholders, including customers and local marketing teams. This paired with her versatility and holistic approach to marketing make her instrumental in shaping the marketing strategies of Specsavers across their 11 operational markets.
Anthony Kennada, CEO and Co-Founder, AudiencePlus
Anthony Kennada, the CEO and Co-Founder of AudiencePlus, is a pioneer of the "Audience before Product" approach. Prior to his role at AudiencePlus, he was the CMO at Hopin, the world's leading events and community software. His strategies in understanding the target persona, tailoring content to resonate with them, and leveraging various social channels have led to serious business growth. Anthony believes in treating audience building akin to gardening - nurturing the needs and desires of the audience and establishing strong customer relationships before planting the seed of a product. This approach ensures successful product launches and enduring customer relationships, proving crucial for long-term business success.
Anthony's innovative approach of thinking like a media company to unlock the power of the audience has led to considerable advancements in overcoming stagnant growth and unlocking a commercially valuable audience.
Margaret Jobling, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Natwest
Margaret's marketing leadership is etched in her diverse career path that goes all the way from FMCG, utilities, to banking sectors. She has joined iconic brands like Lynx, Dove, Radox, Cadbury Dairy Milk, and Birds Eye, showcasing her ability to enhance brand value across varied industries.
Currently serving as the Group Chief Marketing Officer for NatWest Group, Margaret combines her vast marketing experience with keen insights from her personal life in Surrey, where she juggles roles as a mother, dog-walker, half-marathon runner, and occasional sleep enthusiast.
Erica Kerner, Global Chief Marketing Officer, SailGP
Kerner has an ability to create a massive digital footprint and utilize non-traditional business growth routes. This was seen in her work with ONE Championship, the largest global sports media property in Asia.
Now serving as the Global Chief Marketing Officer for SailGP, she utilizes her profound experience in storytelling and innovative marketing strategies, connecting audiences worldwide with the fast-paced, purpose-driven world of sailing.
Moreover, Kerner's commitment to ESG values and her expertise in sustainable brand marketing, exemplified by SailGP's climate-positive initiatives, position her at the forefront of purpose-led marketing leadership in the sports industry.
Keith Weed, ex-Unilever, WPP, UK Advertising Association
This is definitely someone you should be aware of - Keith has been named the World's Most Influential Chief Marketing Officer by Forbes and Global Marketer of the Year by the World Federation of Advertisers. With a career spanning many years at Unilever, including nine years as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Weed has been recognized globally for his influential role.
Weed's expertise extends beyond marketing, as he has led groundbreaking sustainability initiatives and is involved in various industry organizations and advisory boards. His appointment to the WPP Board brings his wealth of experience and deep understanding of the evolving marketing landscape, making him a valuable addition to the company.
Rashmy Chatterjee, CEO, ISTARI
Rashmy brings a unique marketing perspective and a track record of success to her current position at ISTARI. She is passionate about building long-term client relationships, developing talent, and advocating for women in technology. Rashmy's ability to listen to different perspectives, mitigate risks, and appreciate small wins has contributed to her continued success and ability to drive meaningful change in the cybersecurity industry.
Jerome Hiquet, CEO and Founder, StratNXT
Hiquet is currently leading StratNXT, the strategic consulting firm, but was previously appointed Chief Marketing Officer at Formula E and brought his expertise in marketing and events to drive the series' mission of exciting generations into electric mobility and clean energy.
Jerome's ability to simplify complex messages and create accessible experiences was instrumental in scaling Formula E and attracting a diverse audience. His focus on clarity, alignment, and prioritization enables his team to deliver impactful results.
Annabel Venner, Global Brand Director, Hiscox
With a career spanning over a decade in key roles within the marketing industry, Veneer’s significant impact on both brands is undeniable. Annabel embodies the modern marketing leader, viewing herself as a "driver of growth," adeptly bridging the gap between marketing and business strategy.
Prior to her significant contributions at Hiscox, she held a prestigious nine-year tenure at Coca-Cola, managing well-known brands such as MyCoke, Schweppes, Powerade, and Oasis, and leading initiatives such as the launch of the UK loyalty program and consumer activation of the Beijing Olympics.
As a fellow of The Marketing Society and member of the Financial Services Forum, Annabel's strategic outlook and financial acumen have been instrumental in driving growth, notably resulting in Hiscox being shortlisted for the society's Brand of the Year award.
Kerris Bright, Chief Customer Officer, BBC
With a unique background in molecular neuroscience, Bright successfully bridges the gap between analytical precision and creative flair in her approach to marketing strategy and execution.
Bright is a total powerhouse, having held senior marketing roles at British Airways, ICI Paints, Unilever, and Virgin Media. She brings a diverse set of experiences and a reputation as a 'fixer', turning around organizations in need of a strong marketing hand. At British Airways, she led the development of 'To Fly: To Serve', a purpose-driven, multi-platform campaign. Now at the BBC, Bright is responsible for fostering a closer relationship with consumers and leads the Marketing & Audiences Team along with the License Fee Unit.
Jaimie Punishill, CMO, nCino, Inc.
With a proven track record of steering impactful branding and digital marketing strategies, Punishill is set to bring transformative leadership to nCino’s global marketing organization.
He is recognized for his substantial contribution at Lionbridge, where he served as CMO for five years, implementing a global rebrand, centralizing the company's marketing function, and overseeing comprehensive marketing strategies.
Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing, Sparktoro
Amanda is known for not just crafting successful marketing strategies but also leading high-performing teams across different sectors. She has recently assumed the position of Vice President of Marketing at the audience research startup, SparkToro, adding yet another impressive role to her portfolio.
In her previous roles, Amanda gained vast experience working both in-house and with agencies. Her time at Fitbit saw her building their B2B marketing team from the ground up, a testament to her strategic thinking and leadership skills. Following that, she headed marketing for Growth Machine, growing their podcast to over 20,000+ downloads, demonstrating her ability to drive engagement and boost visibility. Additionally, she led marketing for Liftopia's high-volume ticketing business, further broadening her exposure and understanding of diverse business models and marketing tactics.
At SparkToro, Amanda has already made a significant impact. She initiated the SparkToro Office Hours webinar series, attracting as many as 1,300 sign-ups per show. Moreover, she launched the Audience Research newsletter, which boasts over 50,000 readers, reflecting her knack for content strategy and audience engagement.
Megan Heuer, CMO, Aite-Novarica Group
Known for her proficiency in leveraging new ideas and technologies to improve business results, Heuer has been instrumental in positioning both her company and its clients for substantial impact.
Prior to Aite-Novarica, she held a pivotal role as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Winning by Design, a top-rated GTM consulting firm. Heuer's unique blend of strategic foresight, technological insight, and change management acumen solidify her standing as a leading figure in marketing.
Bryan Law, CMO, ZoomInfo
Law has a serious track record. It includes significant roles at tech giants like Salesforce, Google, Tableau, and Monitor Deloitte. Prior to joining ZoomInfo, he served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing and General Manager of eCommerce at Salesforce, where his team was instrumental in driving substantial pipeline growth and enhancing brand awareness.
With a keen passion for leveraging data, analytics, and technology to best serve customers and grow businesses, Law brings with him a strategic vision and leadership experience that positions him as a crucial driving force in ZoomInfo's marketing operations and overall company growth.
Jason Chebib, Co-Chair, Marketing society
Currently the GM of The Americas for System1 Research, Jason comes to the role with a strong background in advertising agencies and brand consulting. He brings a deep understanding of consumer behavior and marketing principles to his role. As the Vice President of Consumer Planning at Diageo North America, he oversaw the strategic planning and brand development for a portfolio of renowned brands including Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Guinness, and Johnnie Walker.
He now oversees a global marketing research and effectiveness company which predicts marketing outcomes to help brands grow.
Leslie Alore, Global VP of Growth Marketing, Ivanti
A champion of business outcomes and strategic tech utilization, Alore advocates a customer-first marketing approach, influenced by successful B2C models.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has led her team in creating personalized customer experiences and driving growth through 'Precision Demand Marketing'. Recognized for her visionary perspective on the future of IT software and automation, Alore strives to transform the user experience for both employees and IT teams.
This innovative and adaptable strategy, combined with her experience across various business functions, has elevated Ivanti's marketing practices and positioned the company as a leading-edge provider in the tech industry.
Deborah Wolf, CMO, Lookout
Deborah currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of Lookout, a leading provider of endpoint and cloud security solutions. In her role, Wolf is responsible for steering global go-to-market functions, overseeing areas such as revenue marketing, integrated campaigns, digital marketing, field and event marketing, product marketing, corporate communications, and marketing operations.
Wolf's expertise in marketing tech, her adeptness at orchestrating integrated campaigns, and her knack for facilitating transformative growth, especially in tech-oriented firms, underscores her stature as a vanguard in the marketing realm.
Rachel Eyre, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, Morrisons
Rachel Eyre's position as a marketing trailblazer is evident in her career, which spans strategic roles in high-profile brands like Sainsbury's and Barclays, and her innovative initiatives that breathe new life into the industry.
She distinguished herself at Sainsbury’s by spearheading Future Brands, an innovative venture that sought to invigorate the supermarket space by fostering small suppliers. Currently at Morrisons, she commands a broad spectrum of crucial areas, including customer service, brand, marketing, digital customer experience, insight, and PR, showcasing her versatility and mastery in unifying disparate facets of a business into a cohesive marketing strategy.
Kipp Bodnar, CMO Hubspot
Kipp Bodnar currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of HubSpot where his role involves formulating HubSpot's global inbound marketing strategy, creating a roadmap to enhance brand awareness and drive demand for HubSpot's array of offerings.
Kipp's journey at HubSpot is testament to his impressive marketing prowess and leadership. Before his promotion to CMO, Kipp was the Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot, responsible for overseeing all demand generation activities across the globe, building out marketing teams in EMEA and APAC, and managing various aspects of HubSpot's operations, such as field marketing, localization, strategic partnerships, and social media efforts.
An advocate for leveraging the power of social media in B2B marketing, Kipp co-authored "The B2B Social Media Book: Become a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads with Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and More." His contributions to the industry as a speaker, blogger, and podcast host of Marketing Against The Grain have established him as a leading voice in his field.
A new world for marketers
The future of marketing is nothing short of exciting.
It's a world where content rules, global audiences grow, new social media landscapes emerge, and large corporations engage with niche audiences like never before. The pioneers shaping this new reality are not only responsive but visionary, often foreseeing changes before they manifest.
These marketing leaders are not just riding the wave of change but are often at the helm, steering their organizations toward success in an ever-evolving landscape.
Whether you're a newcomer to the marketing world, a seasoned veteran, or an industry leader looking to sharpen your strategies, there's a wealth of wisdom to glean from these remarkable individuals and turn today’s challenges into opportunities.
After all, isn't that what marketing is all about?