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How important is integrity in marketing? Well, given the ability of any buyer or consumer to fact check, verify, of challenge any information presented to him or her, it’s never been more important to practice what you preach, and walk the walk of the talk you’re talking. Moreover, when marketers lead through integrity, and do the grunt work to become subject matter experts for their markets or industries, they can become vital assets to their organizations, and highly visible representations of the value in their brands. Case in point, the ten marketing leaders below have not only established themselves as top-tier marketers, but respected thought leaders in their industries as well. Read up on what they’ve done, learn from their best practices, and if we’ve missed anyone you look up to, please feel free to highlight them in the comments below.

Elissa FinkName: Elissa Fink, CMO of Tableau Software
Industry: Analytics & Business Intelligence:

Business intelligence research shows that the majority of Best-in-Class organizations (79%) have an executive level champion for data strategy. As the CMO of a data visualization organization, Elissa Fink has expanded this internal best practice externally to actively write about and share her passions and points of view for data analysis, visualization and business intelligence. You can follow her on Twitter via: @ElissaFink.

Vala AfsharName: Vala Afshar, CMO of Extreme Networks
Industry: IT / Computer Networking

Information Technology can be a complex sphere — one that most of us in other lines of business have trouble wrapping our heads around. As a regular contributor to publications like the Huffington Post, and Inc, Vala Afshar regularly tackles this challenging topic and translates its best practices into simpler, easier to understand terms. In an industry where IT research shows that the top two pressures faced by IT professionals are rising user demand for applications (41%) and meeting service level agreements (38%) – essentially, a market where most professionals are constantly pressed for time – Vala Afshar finds bandwidth nevertheless to share his insights. You can follow him on Twitter via: @ValaAfshar.

Julie ZadowName: Julie Zadow, VP of Marketing, Globoforce
Industry: Human Capital Management

In full disclosure, I had the fortune of working for Julie when I first started at the Aberdeen Group, but as skilled as she is as a marketer, it’s her ability to always get the best out of her employees and team members that makes her such a natural leader in the human capital management space. As Best-in-Class businesses are 22% more likely to consider employee recognition programs or strategies to be extremely valuable to their success, Julie embodies this best practice by encouraging, elevating, and highlighting those around her. You can follow Julie on Twitter via: @JulieZadow.

Kevin InaquintoName: Kevin Inaquinto, CMO, JDA Software:
Industry: Global Supply Chain Management

Global supply chain management is rarely among the “want-to-know” lines of business for successful marketers, and rarer still is the marketer who can make sense of it in easy-to-grasp terms. As quoted in a recent post reflecting some of the complexities in supply management, Kevin simplifies this sphere noting in one example, “Every time retailers receive an online order, they have a number of options to fulfill demands. They can pull the product from a local store, send it from a centralized warehouse, or ship it directly from the supplier…” What Kevin can state simply, supply chain research reinforces as the majority of businesses use at least four different shipping sources in their supply chain efforts – direct-to-customer (61%), via traditional distribution centers (60%), through a third party that bypasses distribution centers (56%), and another method called a “break-bulk facility” (53%). To make sense of this complex environment and craft marketing messaging around it is a unique ability that Kevin demonstrates, and which allows him to distinguish himself as a leader in the space. You can follow him on Twitter via: @KevinIaquinto.

Corinne SklarName: Corinne Sklar, CMO, Bluewolf
Industry: Customer Experience Management

Marketing, sales, and customer service all like to take responsibility for managing customer experiences, but even other divisions like IT and HR have to have a hand in the process as well. To compete in such a diversified field as customer experience management, Corinne Sklar has expanded her skill sets to be able to talk marketing / tech collaborations in publications like the guardian, and tweet about customer success best practices regularly on Twitter. As customer experience research shows that 100% of organizations interact with customers via at least two channels (everyone is pretty much trying to be everywhere), Corinne stands out by having the right messages that add value in the right channels. You can follow her on Twitter via: @CSklar.

Tim RiestererName: Tim Riesterer,  CMO, Corporate Visions
Industry: Sales Management & Consulting

Imagine the challenge of marketing to sales leaders – especially given how tough managing marketing and sales relationships can be internally alone. This is the environment in which Tim Riesterer both leads as a marketer and serves as a subject matter expert for sales. While sales effectiveness research shows that the Best-in-Class are 69% more likely to align content with key stages of the sales funnel, Tim takes it a step further to inform and prepare sales people for the right marketing moments. You can follow him on Twitter via: @TRiesterer.

Heidi MelinName: Heidi Melin, CMO, Plex Systems
Industry: Manufacturing

Manufacturing and marketing are two lines of business where you wouldn’t expect to see a lot of common ground, yet Heidi Melin is the type of leader who actively aims to uncover valuable commonalities and build on them. Manufacturing research, for example, shows that the top pressure among 68% of manufacturers is cost reduction, and that Best-in-Class manufacturers are 61% more likely to utilize dashboards to give managers and executives in-depth insights into their operations – both best practices being common pursuits of top marketers as well. Bridging other business divides, like those between marketing and sales with a common “revenue process” as she shared in a noteworthy podcast, serves as an example of her ability to bring disparate teams and topics together for common goals. You can follow her on Twitter via: @HeidiMelin.

Gregory KimballName: Gregory Kimball, VP of Marketing, Caskers
Industry: Food & Beverage

Quoted as a response to being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2014, Gregory Kimball advised, “Be open to what you don’t know and never stop learning. Whether it is from books, experiences, or people, the day you stop learning is the day you stop living.” In the food & beverage industry, where compliance to government regulatory requirements is the top pressure facing businesses, and where the threat of adverse events (think recalls) forces 83% of leading organizations to ensure that all levels of the business have visibility and defined responsibilities; learning, preparedness, and agility are not only advantages, but requirements. In this environment, Gregory has made his work his passion, and actively shares his insights on a regular basis. You can follow him on Twitter via: @GregoryKimball.

Amy BakerName: Amy Baker, VP of Marketing, Wombat Security
Industry: IT Security

How do you make IT security hit home – especially when buyers are often executives who operate outside of the typical IT trenches? Amy Baker’s ability to dig into IT security research – like the fact that enterprise security breaches, particularly in the form of employees with infected devices, can cost organizations more than $2.5 million per year – and turn that data into an interactive sales enablement tool so cost-oriented decision makers can see the ROI in IT security improvements is just one example of Amy’s industry expertise. It takes a strong marketer to be able to fully understand a buyer persona, but it takes a well-informed leader to actually craft industry-relevant best practices and guidance for that persona, which is a capability Amy consistently, demonstrates. You can follow her on Linkedin here.

Bryan EisenbergName: Bryan Eisenberg, CMO, Idealspot
Industry: Retail

Representing a B2B company that supports B2C retail organizations, Bryan Eisenberg actively leads in both spheres, earning distinctions like being among the top 50 most retweeted B2B marketers, while also regularly contributing to his company’s blog along with a variety of other publications. As research on retail best practices shows that data-driven retailers enjoy more than double the year-over-year growth in their return on marketing investment (13.7% vs. 6.4%), Bryan’s ability to bridge such B2B best practices like the use of data and analytics with B2C retail applications gives him a significant advantage in distinguishing himself as a leader in his industry. You can follow him on Twitter via: @TheGrok.

Care to highlight an industry leader you look up to? Tell us about him or her in the comments below!

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