A Google search for the phrases digital marketing influencers, SEO influencers, PPC influencers, and social media influencers reveals a disappointing lack of Black representation. Combing through 25 lists, most of which were published in 2019, required scrolling past white face after white face and, at times, even collages of all white faces. These omissions are offensive and damaging, creating and perpetuating the impression that there’s a lack of Black influencers, which is entirely untrue.
A danger worth highlighting is that these lists maintain racial disparities by virtue of encouraging people to follow the same set of voices. Even when lists go out of their way to highlight rising stars in digital marketing they still omit Black creators. And it does a significant disservice to Black talent when, in a list with over 100 entries, the only two Black people are literally back to back at the bottom of the list. Gender inequality is also, unfortunately but not surprisingly, present in these lists.
Digital marketers have a responsibility to be inclusive and to do good in a way other types of creators do not. In other mediums, purchasing power allows advertising and content to be seen more often. Digital marketing, meanwhile, uses a set of practices that changes the perceived value and visibility of content. And while companies advance particular ideologies in all their programming, including the news, there’s no equivalent in other mediums to SEO that’s going to get your ad to appear more often in a magazine or earn your show the most coveted time slot.
Omission by ignorance was never an acceptable excuse. Lists of influencers must be inclusive, and include all voices.
Here’s a list of just some Black digital marketing influencers you should be following, and some tech influencers as well because their Twitters were too good to not include. We’ve also created and will be updating a Twitter list of Black influencers that you can follow with a single click.
Michael King is the founder and managing director of iPullRank, a digital marketing firm that specializes in everything from content strategy to predictive analytics. King is also a keynote speaker; consultant for Fortune 500 companies; a Moz Global Associate, writing, speaking, and conducting Q & As and webinars for Moz; a member of Moz’s Customer Advisory Board; and a rapper. He also recently finished a screenplay!
Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John is currently chief marketing officer at Endeavor. Previously, Saint John was chief brand officer at Uber, head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, and head of music and entertainment marketing at PepsiCo. She’s also been Billboard’s Executive of the Year and was one of Fortune’s and Ad Age’s 40 under 40. Saint John is curator of The Badass Workshop, which promises to help you architect your greatest self, and is co-hosting the limited run podcast Back to Biz with Katie and Boz, where she and co-host Katie Couric interview thought leaders, CEOs, and more about how they’re navigating the coronavirus pandemic. Saint John has also been called the most fashionable woman in Silicon Valley by Vogue!
Steven Bartlett is founder of, Social Chain A global social-first marketing agency. Bartlett is an speaker; investor; host of The Diary of a CEO, a top UK business podcast; and author of the forthcoming (Jan. 2021) Happy Sexy Millionaire. He also runs 5 Thoughts, an experiment where he comments on the five most important sentences he’s read the previous week.
Jennifer Polk is research vice president and chief of research. at Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory company. Polk covers digital commerce and multichannel marketing. She’s also a member of her church choir!
Ross Simmonds is founder and CEO of Foundation, a content marketing agency. Simmonds’ writing has appeared in Forbes, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and BET; and he’s spoken at SearchLove,CTAConf, MozCon, and more! He’s also co-founder of Hustle and Grind, a company that provides coffee, content, apparel, posters, etc filled with the Hustler’s spirit!
Sean Gardner is a digital strategist and commentator. Gardner was Forbes’ #1 Social Media Power Influencer in 2013; has been profiled by Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and Glamour Magazine; provided live commentary on Bloomberg Media, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and CNN; delivered keynote addresses at NATO Headquarters, Harvard, the annual Google Conference, and more; and has been recognized as one of the world’s top marketers, A.I. specialists, and social good advocates. He’s also currently working on three books that are due to be published in 2022!
Miracle Inameti-Archibong is head of SEO at Erudite, a technical marketing agency that focuses on SEO, CRO, and web analytics. Inameti-Archibong has also spoken at Digital Gaggle, BrightonSEO and SearchLove. Her talk “‘Are Progressive Web Apps The Future Of The Web?'” and its slide deck from the Women in Tech SEO Fest is currently available here.
Wil Reynolds is the founder and director of strategy at Seer Interactive, a digital marketing agency that he founded in his living room by himself in 2002 that now has over 150 employees in both Philly and San Diego! Will is also a speaker and frequent blogger. He also helps Philly’s homeless and runaway youth through his work at Covenant House, where he’s been volunteering for over 15 years!
Charlotte Williams is founder of Seven Six, a boutique social media and influencer marketing agency that focuses on diversity and inclusion. Williams co-hosts the Sustainability Influenced podcast with fellow Seven Six talent Bianca Foley, which focuses on the duo’s journey of making their daily lives more sustainable and conscious. She also uses her Instagram to help female entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Ramon Ray is a global keynote speaker, best selling author of The Celebrity CEO and The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing, and host of the podcast Smart Hustle. Ray has also been featured in The New York Times, Inc., Fox Business, and MSNBC. He’s also written over 10,000 articles and blog posts!
Natasha Robinson is currently Sr. SEO marketing manager for Roku Inc. Previously, Robinson was a senior manager of online marketing, SEO, and social networking for companies like Myspace, Salseforce, and Fox Interactive Media. By her own account, Robinson’s Tweets are, “30% Marketing + 30% Tech + 30% Music + 10% Misc,” an A+ combination!
Anjuan Simmons is a self-described technology translator and public speaker. Simmons has spent over 20 years in software development, mostly in management roles. His experiences as a minority in the tech industry served as the inspiration for his blog and for his collection of curated and edited blog posts, Minority Tech.
Luke Carthy is an e-commerce consultant and speaker who’s been featured in Moz, SEMrush, Onecrawl, and brightonSEO. He recently launched Let’s Talk Shop!, a series of e-commerce tutorials. He also loves fragrance, which he considers an expensive hobby!
Lenora Porter is a software engineer at Salesforce, as well as a designer, community builder, coder, Youtuber, writer, and speaker. Porter is also the founder of the Facebook group Black Women in Product Design.
Luke Davis is an SEO executive at Adzooma; founder of Pandog Media, a network for Black digital communities. Davis also provides his editing, writing, and digital marketing services to several websites, including Sampleface, a website dedicated to music sampling of which he is also the co-founder. On top of all this, David is a hip-hop and electronic music producer!
The absence of Black representation in the many lists we combed through was highly disappointing, but it didn’t make it challenging for us to put together our list of Black digital marketing and tech influencers.
That’s because there’s so much Black talent to highlight!
Publications that fail to be inclusive merit the condemnation of the digital marketing industry. There is simply no excuse, especially now, to not be inclusive, and to not weed out systemic anti-Black racism and discrimination of any kind.