trophy for email marketing thought leaders

21 Email Marketing Thought Leaders: Our Top Picks

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Are you a decision-maker in your organization? If so, there’s a good chance you’re following email marketing thought leaders and consuming the content they help create. 

According to LinkedIn’s annual study on thought leadership, nearly half of decision-makers spend an hour or more per week engaged with thought leadership content and even more say it impacts their purchase decisions. 

That’s why using thought leadership as part of an email marketing strategy is so powerful. Find out more about how best-in-class marketers promote innovative thinkers and subject matter expertise in our free report Building Thought Leadership with Content

That survey got the Email on Acid team talking about the people in our industry who we read, follow, and listen to on a regular basis. We compiled a list of 21 email marketing thought leaders. 

Our favorite email marketing thought leaders 

Are they the best? Definitely among them. Is this a comprehensive list? Definitely not. That’s why we want you to chime in with your favorite email marketing thought leaders in the comments! Let us know who you turn to for trustworthy insights. 

Amanda Bacher Product Marketing Manager

Amanda’s Picks:

Product Marketing Manager Amanda Bacher has spent most of her career working in email, and she suggested a few email marketing heavy hitters. 

Dela Quist is the founder and CIO of Alchemy Worx, the first digital agency to focus solely on email marketing. He’s been a pioneer in the industry and his company has gone global, working with some of the world’s biggest brands. But what also makes Dela a true thought leader is his courage to take on tough, controversial issues. Liveclicker featured an article from Dela on the topic of diversity in marketing. He also participated in a Holistic Email and More roundtable on the issue, which you can watch below. 

Chad White is another name many email marketers will be familiar with. Amanda actually worked with Chad in the past. He is currently head of strategic research for Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting, and he blogs for the brand regularly. Chad has written thousands of articles on email, but it’s not quantity that makes him a thought leader. Chad’s strength is supporting his content with hard data that informs his email marketing insights. 

Jeanne Jennings is a well-known email marketing strategist who runs a boutique consultancy. She’s cemented herself as an industry thought leader through her blog, as a marketing professor at Georgetown University, as programming chair for Email Innovations Summit, and as the manager of the email marketing community Only Influencers. 

monica hoyer, email on acid marketing director

Monica’s Picks: 

Monica Hoyer is Email on Acid’s Marketing Director, and her picks reflect both the strategic and technical sides of email marketing. 

Jordie Van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant who’s been at it for more than a decade. In addition to covering topics like ways to use AMP for Email on his own blog, he also contributes to online publications including SmartInsights and Econsultancy.comEntrepreneur magazine once included Jordie among “50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch.” Besides writing, Jordie is a sought-after speaker at industry events, which is another hallmark of being a thought leader. 

Coincidentally, Ryan Phelan, founder of the email marketing agency RPE Origins, recently penned an article on what it means to be a thought leader. He points out that there’s more to it than producing content. Ryan says thought leaders should be generous with advice and willing to make themselves available when others want to “pick their brain.” Ryan certainly exemplifies that approach. He’s helped out the marketing team at Email on Acid and, among other things, contributed to our eBook on maximizing email marketing budgets

betsy grondy headdshot

Betsy’s Picks: 

Sr. Email Marketer Betsy Grondy knows plenty of places to find trustworthy email marketing thought leaders. She picked a few of her personal favorites. 

Emily McGuire is the owner and chief email marketer of her own email studio, Flourish & Grit. Check out Emily’s 13-part video series on email and the customer journey. She and Betsy are former colleagues. Betsy calls her one-time co-worker “100% brilliant,” adding that she appreciates her writing style. 

“Emily has a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to email. She’s actively publishing on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram with not just thought leadership items, but also with motivational items.” 

Betsy’s also worked on content with outspoken email marketer Jen Capstraw. You can catch them both in our action-packed webinar “The Future of Email Part 1: Lessons Learned from 50 Years.”  Jen is one of the founders of the professional networking group Women of Email, which has its own blog. Betsy says Jen is a “vast source of knowledge.”  

“She’s able to share things not just from a ‘best practices’ standpoint but also from an ‘I’ve done this’ standpoint and so it really ups the authenticity and value of what she shares.” 

Laura Atkins and her husband, Steve Atkins, run an email strategy and deliverability consultancy. As an email marketing thought leader, Laura earned the moniker “Queen of Deliverability.” She blogs about topics like fixing Gmail delivery and managing domain reputation. Check out an interview with Laura on Sparkpost’s video series, Email, duh. If email deliverability is a mystery to you, Betsy says Laura is the thought leader you need. 

“She has more years of experience in email deliverability than anyone I know, and she can explain it in the simplest of terms to anyone, whether they know anything about deliverability or not.” 

Trevor Rawls Digital Marketing Manager

Trevor’s Picks: 

Email on Acid’s Digital Marketing Manager, Trevor Rawls, chose a few thought leaders who may not be traditional email marketers, but they have plenty of advice to offer those of us dedicated to that practice.  

Ann Handley is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, best-selling author, and all-around nice person. Her company, MarketingProfs, is a treasure trove of resources for digital marketers. IBM called her one of the people shaping modern marketing. Trevor respects the fact that Ann “practices what she preaches” when it comes to content marketing. She frequently writes and speaks about newsletter content strategies, including this article about the importance of email newsletters during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis.  

We don’t mean to be jerks but, if you’re a digital marketer who’s never heard of Neil Patel, it’s time to crawl out from under that rock. Neil was a teenage digital marketing prodigy who, along with brother-in-law Hiten Shah, built a few different brands (Crazy EggKissmetrics, Ubersuggest). Neil creates boatloads of content around all things digital marketing. Check out his take on email marketing in 2021 below. 

Trevor also recommends Databox’s digital marketing director, John Bonini. He says John is offering lots of advice on Twitter that’s applicable to email marketers.  

Allie Banks, Digital Marketing Specialist

Allie’s Picks: 

Digital Marketing Specialist Allie Banks heads up co-marketing efforts for Email on Acid. So, she works with influencers and email marketing thought leaders regularly. Her picks include podcasters and social media experts. 

First, Allie recommends checking out Gavin Laugenie of dotdigital. The brand recently launched an email marketing podcast called Naughty by nurture, for which Gavin is the host. It’s now available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. 

Guilda Hilaire is a Sr. Marketing Manager for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. She’s a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and an expert in in getting the most out of marketing automation. Allie is a big fan of Guilda’s Friday Twitter Spaces with the Email Geeks community. You can follow #emailgeekshangout and #MarketingTwitter for more. 

Bozoma Saint John is CMO at Netflix, and Allie highly recommends her overall marketing insights. Allie thinks email marketers like you should check out Bozoma’s keynote at Activate Live, which is Iterable’s email marketing conference. 

Finally, Allie recommends Action Rocket’s senior coder and interactive email specialist, Jay Oram. You’re sure to bump into Jay at various industry events (virtual or in-person), and you’ll also find he’s been a frequent contributor to the Email on Acid blog. For example, Jay shared how to code search bars in email, and offered some tips to improve mobile email design

Laura Horkey - Email Specialist

Laura’s Picks: 

As our email marketing specialist, Laura Horkey gets her hands on a little of everything: design, development, copywriting, strategy, and testing. So, it’s no surprise that her list of email marketing thought leaders reflect a variety of skills. 

Paul Airy is an accessibility and usability consultant with expertise in email typography. His book, A Type of Email, provides advice on HTML code and typographic elements in email marketing. Paul has an email newsletter centered around the same topic. Having a particular area of focus is an excellent way to establish thought leadership. Paul nails it. 

One of Matthew Vernhout’s areas of expertise is email deliverability. He’s currently working as VP of Deliverability at Netcore Cloud and started the blog EmailKarma back in 2007. As a Canuck, Matthew’s got a solid understanding of Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL). He co-authored a book on the topic and founded the Canadian Email Summit. Plus, Matt is also connected to BIMI Group where he’s serving as communications chairperson.

Kath Pay is the founder of the UK agency Holistic Email Marketing and author of a best-selling book with the same name. This month, the Email Experience Council (EEC) recognized her as its 2021 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year! In 2014, Kath was listed among the “World’s Top 50 Email Marketing Influencers.” Besides writing books, running an agency, and creating content, Kath trains other email marketers. Having the ability to teach and train is definitely a trademark of thought leadership. Kath Pay and Holistic teamed up with Email on Acid in 2020 to produce Email Errors: The Definitive Report. Check out the webinar deep dive in which Kath joined us to discuss the survey’s findings. 

Kasey Steinbrinck, Content Marketer

Kasey’s Picks 

Kasey Steinbrinck (that’s me) is Email on Acid’s content marketing manager who occasionally writes in the third person. His additions to the list include a marketing legend, his favorite keynote speaker, and his boss. 

Seth Godin was a thought leader before it was trendy, and that’s not the only trail he’s blazed. Seth’s book Permission Marketing is a roadmap for ethical email marketing. While it was published more than 20 years ago, it’s still extremely relevant. Since then, he’s written many best-selling books on business, marketing, creativity, and more. He also hosts the podcast Akimbo and runs the altMBA, which is churning out new thought leaders. We wrote about Permission Marketing’s enduring insights here on our blog, and Seth was generous enough to chime in with a few thoughts.  

Andrew Davis is a high-energy, super entertaining keynote speaker who also happens to be a genius content marketer. Kasey recommends his video series, The Loyalty Loop, which is packed with eye-opening insights for email marketers. The series focuses on how we can improve customer experiences across the board, but email is almost always a crucial part of the equation. Check out one of his videos below, which covers growing your list without gating your content. 

Of course, at Email on Acid, we’re fortunate to work among industry thought leaders. That includes our co-founder and CEO, John Thies. John worked as a developer before launching Email on Acid and taking on the mission of simplifying the complex tasks of email marketing. John is extremely passionate about email’s possibilities. He’s a frequent speaker at industry events and webinars. Email Accessibility is one of his favorite topics. Check out a webinar John hosted in partnership with Net Atlantic to find out more about accessibility in email marketing

Who are your top email marketing thought leaders? 

Now it’s your turn. We have no doubt there are many other email marketing thought leaders who should be included in this article. So, don’t get mad. Tell us about them! 

Post a comment below and let everyone know where we can find thought leadership content from your favorite email marketing experts. 

What’s your thought leadership strategy? 

Content featuring your organization’s thought leaders could be the missing ingredient in your email marketing program. Find out how best-in-class marketers use thought leadership when you download our free report! 

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Author: Kasey Steinbrinck

Kasey Steinbrinck is Email on Acid's content marketing manager. He's created lead-generating digital marketing plans for a wide variety of organizations and understands how valuable content fuels a powerful email strategy. Kasey lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, (Go Packers) with his wife and three out-of-control boys.

Author: Kasey Steinbrinck

Kasey Steinbrinck is Email on Acid's content marketing manager. He's created lead-generating digital marketing plans for a wide variety of organizations and understands how valuable content fuels a powerful email strategy. Kasey lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, (Go Packers) with his wife and three out-of-control boys.

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