Last Updated on
Below, you’ll find a list of all-stars who you should be following. They are the top movers and shakers in their field doing some amazing things in marketing as well as e-commerce.
Without further ado…
Katia Beauchamp & Hayley Barna
Meet Katie Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, the pioneers of “discovery-commerce” and co-founders of Birchbox, a company that provides a better way for people—both men and women—to shop for beauty products online.
The pair met while attending Harvard Business School. And since the first batch of birchboxes were shipped in September 2010, they have built a monthly subscriber-base of over 100K and raised significant funding.
According to Beauchamp, however, “For us, it wasn’t the goal or the end game to raise as much capital as possible. We always wanted to build a business that was a great business with an incredible business model, path to profitability, and the ability to be a standalone company. So for us, we define success as controlling our own future and our own destiny.”
And as part of that destiny, Katia and Haley have created a new form of ecommerce through discovery, aka discovery-commerce, which includes a subscription, plus content to teach customers about personalized beauty samples and the ability to purchase full-sizes directly from the company.
Katia and Haley have also strategized a new way to acquire customers—one that’s more intimate and involves passive decision-making through a “try, learn, buy” approach. They’re “generating new demand where there wasn’t [any] and capturing it,” Katia says.
Katia Beauchamp: “We set out to change the potential of the Internet for the beauty industry and to change a customer’s experience of discovery from being one that was cumbersome…to being one that was really delightful…We’re going to edit. We’re going to personalize. And we’re going to send [products] to customers at a cadence that’s digestible.
Marc Lore is the co-founder Jet.com, a company initially designed as a shopping club that allowed members to pay an annual fee in exchange for access to the lowest prices on tons of different items. Before creating Jet, Marc co-founded Quidsi, the parent company to Diapers.com and Soap.com, which Amazon bought in 2011 for $545 million.
In August 2016, Walmart acquired Jet for $3.3 billion as part of an effort to take on Amazon. And during the acquisition, Lore was hired as CEO of both WalMart’s online division and Jet.com. Essentially, WalMart paid $3.3 billion to acquire Marc Lore.
According to Marc, Jet differentiates itself from other companies through “smart cart technology,” which he says empowers “consumers to shop in a smarter way that pulls logistics costs out of the overall ecosystem so that they save money.”
Basically, Jet determines, in real-time, the most efficient way to deliver a basket of products to the consumer by examining the various inventory pools across the country and choosing the one closest to where the consumer lives, thus saving the consumer money on shipping.
To date, much of Jet’s success has come from catering to its customers and building relationships with them.
Marc Lore: “We want to talk to customers. We want to be transparent. We want to trust them. And we want to build that emotional connection. We want to do all the little things that matter to people…The big things are a given, but it’s the little touch-points. It’s the handwritten notes that we do. It’s the personalized videos.”
Connect with Marc on Twitter: @
Neil Patel wears many hats; he is an entrepreneur, a marketer, a blogger, and an author. He is the co-founder of three companies: CrazyEgg, KISSmetrics, and Hello Bar. And he is definitely a name you should know. President Obama called him one of the top entrepreneurs under the age of 30. And the U.S. House of Representatives awarded him with Congressional Recognition.
Neil has worked with Fortune 500s like Amazon, NBC, HP, Viacom, and GM, helping them to increase their revenue. And currently, he is looking to use his skills and expertise to help non-profit organizations to grow and make a positive impact on the world.
One of Neil’s biggest strengths is execution, getting things done and improving processes with feedback. “The key is not going from A to Z all at once. It’s how do you go from A to B really quickly, get feedback, go from B to C, get feedback. And you keep doing that until you get to Z,” he says.
Neil is also an expert when it comes to building a blog and driving loads of targeted traffic to it through content marketing strategies, which he readily shares on his websites and Twitter feed. “You need to create a conversation,” he says. But “keep it simple. Don’t try to be more sophisticated or smarter than your readers. You need them as much as they need you. You actually may even need them more.”
Connect with Neil on Twitter: @
Jakub Linowski is a user interface designer and the founder of Linowski Interaction Design, a company that optimizes online businesses to earn more sales, leads, subscriptions, and revenue.
Jakub also contributes to the Wireframes blog and the Goodui.org project. His specialties include UI sketching and solving user interface problems. Previously, he worked as an interface designer at Tribler and Sensis, and as an information architect at Sapient.
He dishes out a lot of useful UI tips on his YouTube channel by analyzing what a variety of websites could do differently to improve the performance of their pages. For example, when looking at ConvertKit.com’s homepage, he refers to the headline “Email Marketing For Professional Bloggers” and suggests making it more benefit-driven:
“Email marketing is a thing and professional bloggers is the audience, so that’s great. But it’s missing a benefit. A benefit as I see it is something like, ‘Get more engagement from your audience,’ Increase open rates,’ ‘Increase your purchase rate,’ and so forth.”
In another video, he dives into Uber’s driver signup page, suggesting the company include social proof elements—for example, counts of how many people have signed up to drive for Uber—as this can increase a website’s number of leads.
With all of his suggestions, Jakob includes a tag (1-10) based on how certain he feels a particular suggestion is to help the website.
Connect with Jakub on Twitter: @
Company: Linowski Interaction Design
Justin Rondeau has built his career on optimization campaigns and currently works as the Director of Optimization at Digital Marketer. Justin’s main areas of expertise include CRO, web data analysis, split-testing, and personalization.
Justin Rondeau: “At Digital Marketer, I spend a lot of my time digging through all of our funnels, trying to find opportunity areas within Google Analytics and then using other qualitative platforms to really hone in on what can make a difference to our bottom line.
So none of that top metrics stuff that are just kind of vanity clicks or anything like that…I think that’s what differentiates the new experts in this field versus the people who have been doing it for quite awhile; they’re focused on vanity metrics and those types of things where it really is just about the business.”
Justin is also a highly rated domestic and international speaker and the founder of Should I Test That. Formerly, he served as the chief evangelist for WhichTestWon, now Behave.org.
Justin has also trained some of the top optimization teams at several Fortune 500 companies and garnered ample test-running experience for both B2B and ecommerce brands in just about every industry.
Connect with Justin on Twitter: @
Company: Digital Marketer
Dan Siroker is the co-founder and CEO of Optimizely, an experimentation platform that helps people transform their customers’ experience and figure out what’s going to make them more likely to convert.
Previously, Dan worked as Director of Analytics for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and as Deputy New Media Director for the presidential transition.
It was the work he did in these two positions that inspired him to create Optimizely, whose client roster includes Disney, TripAdvisor, CBS, and Starbucks. And according to Bloomberg West Live, Optimizely is the “third most valuable company to come out of the startup incubator behind Airbnb and Dropbox.”
With Optimizely, “We’re taking a traditional, old-school marketing idea of A/B testing and bringing it online,” Dan says. “As a marketer, you’re able to drive the process of experimentation and come up with creative hypotheses, test it with A/B testing, and then improve your website in the end.” Web personalization plays a big role in Optimizely’s process, with the goal being to “enable businesses to show exactly the right thing to the person at the right time.”
Dan is also the co-founder of CarrotSticks, an online math game for children, and has guest lectured and keynoted at dozens of events, including SXSW, SES, Shoptalk, and Conversion Conference.
Connect with Dan on Twitter: @
Warren Jolly is the CEO of adQuadrant, “an organization dedicated to helping companies successfully move their advertising budgets to digital platforms.” He’s considered a thought-leader in a number of areas, including online advertising, domain monetization, affiliate marketing, SEO, market analysis, and ecommerce.
Warren has been dabbling in entrepreneurial activities since he was 16 years old, founding his first company when he was just 17. Since then, he’s made the Empact100 list of entrepreneurs under the age of 30 and his company’s been listed on Inc. 500, coming in at number 129. Adquadrant has also received awards from Map Consulting and Inc.
Dr. David Darmanin
A conversion rate expert, Dr. David Darmanin is the founder and CEO of HotJar, an online tool that uses analysis and feedback to disclose the online voice and behavior of target audiences. HotJar is used on over 70,000 websites and began incurring revenue in just 9 months.
David has a “bold vision for the future” with HotJar. “We essentially want to change the way the web is built and improved by democratizing user analytics and feedback,” he says.
Dr. David Darmanin: “We’ve come to learn in our long careers as the co-founders of HotJar that really understanding, like doing research about the user—who they are, where they’re coming from, what they want, what’s confusing them—that really drives the big wins.
There’s one message that I always like to spread…I think it’s really important if you are in the business of growing businesses or growing sites and organizations that you really give a lot of weight to understanding your user. So many tools focus on the numbers. But it’s really important to understand why they’re doing it.”
David’s experience extends around the world, having sold digital products and services in 19 languages and more than 100 countries. Plus, he’s the founder of the Startup Malta Business Plan competition and the co-founder of the Startup Malta Foundation for Entrepreneurship.
Connect with David on Twitter: @
Ezra Firestone is the founder of Smart Marketer, a company that creates ecommerce digital training programs for marketers and entrepreneurs. With over a decade’s worth of experience in ecommerce, Ezra owns several other seven- and eight-figure businesses and is an expert in the field of ecommerce, especially when it includes a physical product business model.
Ezra Firestone: “Everything that’s relevant to an information marketing business it also turns out is relevant to a physical product business in this day and age where faceless businesses are dying and business of all kinds, even ones that are selling physical products, need a brand and a personality.”
Among Ezra’s other businesses is BOOM! By Cindy Joseph, a revolutionary pro-age cosmetic line for women of all ages, of which Ezra is the co-founder and CMO.
According to Ezra, BOOM! has become a success largely thanks to the message behind the products and the timing of that message, which says that women of all ages should be celebrated and valued. This is a message that traditionally societies have not perpetuated. Societies have typically valued women for their youth and beauty, whereas women today feel frustrated by this outdated mode of thinking and are pushing against it.
And so, “There’s a group of people having a collective experience, and businesses and products and brands do really well when they’re talking to groups of people who are having one collective experience,” Ezra says.
Connect with Ezra on Twitter: @
Company: Smart Marketer
An entrepreneur, investor, and speaker, Matt Clark is the CEO and co-founder of Amazing, a company committed to providing the world with entrepreneurship education based on real results.
After studying entrepreneurship and finance at the University of Houston, Matt started his first business, an ecommerce store that sold high-end health supplements.
After this venture, Matt created several multi-million dollar companies. And in 2011, he turned his sights to Amazon, becoming one of the first people to really profit from the site. This lead him to found Amazing.com, which now includes over 100 courses and has more than 100k students.
According to Matt, “Amazon still is probably the easiest place to get started with physical products and there’s still tons of opportunity.” Plus, “You can literally run a physical product business with about the automation as a digital product business.” And when it comes to optimizing your Amazon sales, Matt says, “Kind of like Google, the majority of traffic on Amazon, the biggest opportunity is getting ranked for keywords when it comes to physical products…that’s where all the money is.”
Connect with Matt on Twitter: @
Ryan Moran is an entrepreneur and an investor, the founder of Capitalism.com and the host of the Freedom Fast Lane podcast. He started his first business from his college dorm room. And by the time he was 20, he was earning a 6-figure income, which enabled him to graduate debt-free. He also currently operates multiple 7-figure ecommerce brands.
Ryan created the “Freedom Fast Lane” brand to educate and empower people to live their lives to the fullest. And a component of that is certainly to “level up” your income, but the company is about more than just money; it also involves a self-developing mindset.
Ryan Moran: “I went in a completely new direction where I said what I’m going to do is I’m just going to talk about what’s core and important to me. And whoever shows up is going to show up. And I figure that if the people show up as a result of the message that I really want to talk about they might be the customers that I want to serve in the first place.”
Connect with Ryan on Twitter: @
Company: Freedom Fast Lane
Don Wilson is the founder of GearBubble, which enables people to crowdfund online by selling popular products, like mugs and t-shirts, through ecommerce platforms, such as Amazon and Etsy.
When it comes to selling physical products, Don says…
“The big thing I’m seeing the most is that a lot of people are going and making designs and then they’re trying to think about their targeting or their audience—don’t do that.
The first thing you need to do is figure out who it is you want to sell an item to…Then, all you have to do is recognize two fail-points in your business: either your design’s bad or your targeting’s bad.”
Formerly, Don worked as a debt collector. And in just 5 years, he built an Internet marketing business that now brings in 7 figures a year. He also consults at the high 5-figure level and regularly sells out speaking events.
Before GearBubble, Don operated as the founder and CEO of Mastermind Marketing. And before that, he was the CEO of LeadProConsulting.
Connect with Don on Twitter: @
A serial entrepreneur, Chris Stoikos (and his beard named “Grizz”) is the CEO of Dollar Beard Club, a parody startup that concerns beards and more beards and has achieved a high level of success.
Chris Stoikos: “Our main thing that got us to that level was our viral videos. We found a way to really tap into the unconscious mind of the customer by educating and entertaining them.
And you never want to be too ‘salesy’ in a video. I see a lot of guys out there trying these scarcity tactics…You just want to create a following. You want to create something that excites people. You want to be able to relate to [people] on a level that they feel comfortable.
And I think when you do that, you take away the pressure from them—feeling that they need to buy into you—and the decision is in their hands. Everyone wants to hold the power. So we’ve given our customers the power.”
Chris is also the founder of two additional companies. The first is Unconscious Content, which operates as a network of high-performing entrepreneurs in the video content industry and made $13 million in 14 months. And the second is Coolbox, which offers a sophisticated toolbox that was featured on Shark Tank.
Chris specializes in team-building and the ability to market creatively and commercialize products.
Connect with Chris on Twitter: @
Company: Dollar Beard Club
Alexandra Wilson is the co-founder and CEO of Fitz Co., an in-home closet organization service, which launches soon.
She is also the co-founder of two additional companies, the first of which is GLAMSQUAD, a mobile beauty services company, that, under her leadership, raised over $24 million.
Alexandra Wilson: “I believe, from a female perspective the startup community has gotten a lot more female-friendly. Investors are starting to get a lot more open to investing in women because they’re realizing that it makes so much sense. And many of these female, co-founding teams have created big, disruptive companies. I give female founders some advice when they’re going to meet with a venture capital firm—to walk in with confidence and gravitas.”
The other company that Alexandra co-founded is Gilt Groupe, an online women’s clothing and accessories vendor, which, prior to being sold to Hudson’s Bay Company, was worth over a billion dollars.
According to Alexandra, “For a startup to be successful, it has to be like a perform storm. It has to be a very good idea. The team has to be spot on and work really well together. The macroeconomic environment has to be ready for the idea. And it has to be a business that is willing to take risks but also can pivot.”
Alexandra is also a public speaker, board director, Angel investor, and author. She co-wrote By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop.
Connect with Alexandra on Twitter: @
Tanner Larsson is the founder and CEO of BuildGrowScale.com, a site that provides ecommerce marketing strategies and training. According to Tanner, “If you don’t care enough about your business to work it yourself and build it up, nobody else is going to care about it either.”
Tanner is also the creator of Black Label Mastermind, an exclusive mastermind event for the world’s leading ecommerce entrepreneurs. Plus, he is the founder of 80/20 Media, which specializes in selling physical products online and building physical product brands.
Connect with Tanner on Twitter: @
Company: Build Grow Scale
Kevin Madison is a direct response marketing/advertising consultant who created the KGM Group, a company that assists clients with exceeding one million dollars in revenue. “I kind of come with a philosophical approach that, in turn, does create the windfalls, does create the upswings,” he says.
In 2016 alone, he helped earn more than $83 million for his clients, whose professions vary significantly, ranging from cosmetic surgeons to fishermen.
Kevin is also the founder of Love and Light Always, a monthly immersion program aimed at helping people access their inner divinity.
“Let’s create a map,” he says, “that has both the virtues and the vices…This is what we want to happen that’s virtuous—that’s the good—but also let’s plan for the vices that may be a threat to the virtuous path that we want to get to. And let’s draw a map to where we want to be…begin with the end in mind…from a sales perspective, from a moral perspective, from a product perspective, from a message perspective.”
Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @
Company: The KGM Group
What do you think of this list? Is there any we missed or who you think we should know about?