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iMedia's Top 10 Hottest Digital Marketers of 2012

iMedia's Top 10 Hottest Digital Marketers of 2012 iMedia Editors

The faces of digital marketing

Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, but there are some pleasing traits that everyone can agree on. Confidence, personal pride, and style are just three of the characteristics we use to size-up and assess others. This holds especially true in the advertising industry. It's common knowledge that a put-together marketer is more likely to get the job, win the pitch, and rise in the ranks than someone who expends less effort in cultivating and maintaining their personal brand.

We all know that great branding is about the whole package. With that in mind, iMedia set out to find examples of 10 marketers who demonstrate a winning attitude in both their professional accomplishments and personal style. Just like last year, we determined that intelligence, open mindedness, and perseverance are the qualities that make for a truly "hot" marketer -- that is, someone who embodies the traits of success both inside and out.

So turn on the fan, pour the lemonade, and do whatever you can to keep your cool -- because 2012's list is definitely turning up the heat.

Jessica Bowman

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Jessica Bowman, CEO of SEOinhouse
No doubt about it, Jessica Bowman is an SEO expert. Before founding SEOinhouse.com -- where she currently serves as CEO -- Bowman started the in-house SEO program at Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, systematized SEO at Business.com, and took SEO to the next level at Yahoo.

Bowman's unusual path to success began in IT, where she worked for many years as a project manager, user experience manager, and process analyst. This experience allowed Bowman to understand how the IT department and other disciplines work, think, and function together as a whole; an intimate understanding of these processes fueled Bowman's revolutionary ideas on how to maximize SEO.

Bowman has been featured in the SEO Bible, is a contributing author to The Art of SEO, and was even featured as a role model in Marie Claire magazine.

Gurbaksh Chahal

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Gurbaksh Chahal, Founder and CEO, Radium One
Gurbaksh Chahal is an entrepreneurial maverick. At age 16, Chahal dropped out of high school to work on his first business venture and -- according to his Wikipedia page -- by age 25, Chahal had created and sold two advertising companies for a combined total of $340 million.

Chahal is the founder of three ridiculously successful online ad companies: Click Agents (which merged with ValueClick in a $40 million transaction), Blue Lithium (acquired by Yahoo for $300 million), and his current venture Radium One (which has an estimated value of $200 million).

He is a best-selling author, was featured as "America's most eligible bachelor" on Extra TV, and gave away $110,000 of his own money on Fox's "Secret Millionaire."

Chahal has been featured in various media outlets such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bonnie Hunt, Neil Cavuto, The New York Times, MSNBC, Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, and Businessweek.

If that's not hot, we don't know what is!

Natalie Cupps

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Natalie Cupps, VP Digital Marketing and Sales, LACED Agency
As evidenced by her rock-climbing photos, Natalie Cupps knows what it's like to battle a slippery slope and come out on top.

Natalie has more than 13 years of experience in advertising, branding, marketing campaign strategy, and project management for the digital space. This experience helped Cupps to transform Los Angeles based agency LACED from a startup with no capital to the successful, award-winning agency it is today. Cupps now serves as LACED's VP of digital marketing and sales.

Like any brilliant marketer, Cupps has many diverse interests and hobbies -- films being one of her chief interests. Although Cupps looks like a movie star, she prefers to stay behind the scenes and works as a movie marketing and PR consultant for Moon Whistler Productions, an entertainment consultancy company that helps to identify clever marketing tactics to promote and distribute films with (often) tight budgets.

Cupps has spoken at NOKIA's Global Social Media Week 2011, has been a guest lecturer at the McCombs Business School at University of Texas in Austin, and was honored by Cambridge's "Who's Who Among Executive and Professional Women" in both 2006 and 2007.

Rebecca Denison

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Rebecca Denison, Senior Social Media Analyst, Digitas
Leading the trend of biochemist-turned-marketer (see Sheldon Gilbert), Rebecca Denison has made quite a name for herself in the world of media analysis.

Before joining Digitas, Denison was the first social media strategist at Edelman Digital in Chicago, where she developed and managed social listening and measurement for more than 40 CPG brands -- rendering her an invaluable social media resource.

Since joining Digitas, Rebecca has focused on the planning and execution of social listening, measurement, and analytics activities for a number of fortune 100 brands, including Sprint.

Rebecca holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently working toward a master's in predictive analytics from DePaul University.

Photos by Stephen Garrett.

Sheldon Gilbert

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Sheldon Gilbert, Founder and CEO, Proclivity Systems
Sheldon Gilbert's bio reads like a great novel; his resume is exciting, diverse, and full of unexpected twists and turns.

Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Proclivity Media, which specializes in predictive advertising. Proclivity Media is recognized as one of the industry's most advanced advertising technology platforms and was named as one of the "Top 50 Promising Tech Startups" by Businessweek in 2009.

Gilbert is an inventor and the owner of numerous patents in predictive analytics and computational advertising, but he wasn't always in the media business. Having earned a degree in molecular biochemistry at Yale, Gilbert was fascinated by the promise of new software programs that could mine massive volumes of genetic data to predict disease outcomes. Keeping these data-mining concepts in mind, Gilbert left the medical field in 2000 and joined Four Point Partners, where he helped to build some of the first-generation e-commerce systems for retailers like J.Crew, Best Buy, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and Nike.

Gilbert has been featured on CNBC, The New York Times, Fast Company, and Men's Vogue. He is regularly invited to speak at various universities, conferences, and industry events on a broad spectrum of issues ranging from predictive data modeling to economic reform.

Rei Inamoto

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Rei Inamoto, Global Director, AKQA
Rei Inamoto doesn't just dress the part of marketing rock star -- he also lives the life of one. Named in Creativity Magazine's annual "Creativity 50" twice, as well as one of "The Top 25 Most Creative People in Advertising" in Forbes Magazine, Inamoto is arguably one of the most influential individuals in the marketing and creative industry today.

Inamoto is chief creative officer at AKQA, where he's responsible for delivering creative solutions for clients such as Audi, Google, Nike, and Xbox. Since his arrival in 2005, Inamoto's presence has been instrumental in bringing AKQA the highest recognitions. In 2009, AKQA became the first agency in history to receive five Agency of the Year accolades from publications such as Creative Review and Design. Most recently, Advertising Age honored AKQA as one of the "Top Ten Agencies of the Decade."

Inamoto is a frequent speaker at numerous conferences such as Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, SXSW, and Spikes Asia to name a few. His writing and opinions have been widely published in publications like Fast Company and Contagious Magazine, making him a thought leader and a prominent voice in the industry.

Rock on!


Joshua March

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Joshua March, Co-founder and CEO, Conversocial
You could say that Joshua March is the James Bond of digital. A native of the U.K., March is a jetsetter, risk taker, and technology trailblazer.

March is the co-founder and CEO of Conversocial, a venture backed start-up that provides social customer service software for brands like Sephora, Tesco, Groupon, McDonald's, Waitrose, and Net-A-Porter. Don't let March's youthful appearance fool you into thinking he has limited experience; he's co-founded several companies including Facebook Developer Garage London and iPlatform (the U.K.'s leading social application agency) and has built major social campaigns for Big Brother, The Economist, Swatch, ITV, and Facebook.

March is an international business traveler -- he often bounces between Conversocial's London and New York offices -- and has a reputation for wowing admirers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mihael Mikek

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Mihael Mikek, CEO and Co-Founder, Celtra
When he isn't windsurfing, skiing, or traveling with his beautiful family, Mihael Mikek starts and grows multi-million-dollar businesses. After founding several businesses in the medical and chemical service fields, Mikek transitioned to the digital sphere by creating Celtra, a mobile rich media display advertising platform.

Mikek developed the concept for Celtra in 2006 while studying at Babson's MBA Business Hatchery. In just a few short years, Mikek put his idea into action and raised more than $7 million of private venture capital. Mikek's quick response to the market evolution was instrumental for Celtra's success. Today, Celtra provides services for major agencies, publishers, and ad networks including AT&T, Google, Jumptap, Mindshare, MediaVest,  Mojiva, OMD,  Rovio, Starcom, Yahoo, and ZenithOptimedia.

Under Mikek's guidance, Celtra has been nominated for several industry awards including an American Business Award, MassTLC award, and AlwaysOn Top 100 Mobile.


Stephanie Shkolnik

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Stephanie Shkolnik, Social Media Director, Digitaria
You could say that Stephanie Shkolnik is a social media butterfly. An avid practitioner of the social media arts, Shkolnik works her magic as Digitaria's social media director.  

Prior to joining Digitaria, Shkolnik led the social path for several major companies: Shkolnik launched an online tool for produce giant Fresh Express (thereby helping the company leap into the digital space), she bridged the gap between traditional and social conversations at CamelBak by building and executing social media marketing strategies that enhanced brand awareness, and she worked with Major League Gaming to strengthen its social presence.

Today, Shkolnik and her team build social media strategies for Fortune 500 companies, connecting people with the brands that matter most to them through socially data-driven insights.

Dana Todd

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Dana Todd, SVP of Marketing and Business, Performics
Dana Todd's experience in the digital marketing field is (nearly) as colorful as her hair. Since 1996, Todd has driven value for hundreds of companies, helping them find actionable insights and success in interactive marketing. Her career spans a rainbow of practices: Todd led San Diego interactive agencies Bien Logic and SiteLab; she co-founded SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization) and its training arm, SEMPO Institute; and most recently Todd launched Newsforce, a startup that redefines how companies think of advertorial and sponsored content.

Todd is a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies, ad:tech, OMS, SMX, and OMMA, and frequently provides insight to the financial press, including The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, and CNNMoney.

Today, Todd serves as the senior vice president of marketing and business development at Performics. While Todd is considered one of the pioneers of the search marketing industry, her broad palate of expertise includes all forms of online marketing and interactive visibility -- which, if you ask us, paints quite a lovely picture.

iMedia Communications, Inc. is a trade publisher and event producer serving interactive media and marketing industries. The company was founded in September of 2001 and is a subsidiary of Comexposium USA.  ...

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Commenter: Lindsey ONeill

2012, September 07

Great to see so many talented women on this list. Great work ladies!