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The 10 Greatest Marketers of All Time

What does it take to be among the greatest marketers in the world? All of the marketers on our list have a few things in common: they’re pioneers and calculated risk takers. They saw opportunity and went for it. As a result, they changed the marketing game. 

There’s a through-line in the stories of all the greatest marketers in the world; they adapted to the changing consumer reality and adopted the technology of the day, from mass print media, to radio, television, the internet, and social media, the greatest marketers in the world blaze a trail.

The technology of today is artificial intelligence, AI. As the next generation of greatest marketers of all time emerge, it’s a safe bet that they’ll be the marketers who put AI to good use. 

The Greatest Marketers Of All Time

David Ogilvy (1911-1999)

David Ogilvy is considered one of the fathers of modern advertising. He founded Ogilvy & Mather, still one of the biggest and most successful advertising agencies in the world.

David Ogilvy Quote

“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

Bill Bernbach (1911-1982)

Bill Bernbach was a pioneer of modern advertising and the co-founder of DDB, a successful advertising agency that pushes boundaries to this day.

Bill Bernbach Quote

“The purpose of advertising is to sell. That is what the client is paying for and if that goal does not permeate every idea you get, every word you write, every picture you take, you are a phony and you ought to get out of the business.”

Mary Wells Lawrence (1926-2018)

Mary Wells Lawrence was the first female CEO of a major advertising agency and the founder of Wells Rich Greene (closed 1998). She is known for her innovative, creative approach to advertising.

Mary Wells Lawrence Quote

“The best advertising should make you nervous about what you’re not buying.”

Leo Burnett (1891-1971)

Leo Burnett was the founder of Leo Burnett Worldwide, one of the largest and most successful advertising agencies in the world. He is known for creating some of the most iconic ad campaigns of all time, including the Marlboro Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Leo Burnett Quote

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

Greatest marketers of all time: a picture of the Leo Burnett office entrance. A white space with windows. A line drawing of Burnett is overlaid on the walls, windows, and ceiling. A large statue of a pencil that says "Leo Burnett" on the barrel in the foreground

Phil Dusenberry (1935-2018)

Phil Dusenberry was the former chairman and co-founder of BBDO, another heavy-hitter agency in the advertising world. He was known for his creative approach to advertising and his ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level.

Phil Dusenberry Quote

“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”

Richard Huntington

Richard Huntington is the Chief Strategy Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi. His 30 year career spans the big UK agencies. For 15 of those years, he founded and ran Adliterate, “delivering radical thinking for the brand advice business.”

Richard Huntington Quote

“The role of a creative leader is to ask the right questions, not have all the answers.”

Alison Lewis

Alison Lewis was the Chief Marketing Officer at Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest healthcare companies. She is known for her ability to create and execute successful and inspiring campaigns that tie directly to growth.

Alison Lewis Quote

“Marketing is about creating a connection with people. It’s about understanding and meeting their needs, and finding ways to build relationships that last.”

Neil Patel

Neil Patel is a digital marketing expert and the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. He is known for his expertise in SEO, content marketing, and conversion optimization.

Neil Patel Quote

“Don’t look back and ask, why? Look ahead and ask, why not?”

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a best-selling author, speaker, and entrepreneur, all of which are founded on his clear and thought-provoking insights on marketing, leadership, and innovation. Seth’s Blog was founded more than 20 years ago (?!) and remains a daily read for many marketers.

Seth Godin Quote

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk, AKA Gary Vee,  is a best-selling author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He is known for his expertise in social media marketing and his no-nonsense approach to business. VaynerMedia was named AdWeek’s Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year.

Gary Vaynerchuk Quote

“Retention is the game. The game in business is not how many customers you can get, it’s how many you can keep.”

The Greatest Marketers of All Time

These 10 marketers have made significant contributions to the industry and have left a lasting impact on the world of marketing. From innovative ad campaigns to digital marketing expertise, their insights and strategies continue to inspire and guide marketers today.

Their lasting impression can be seen in the work of emerging and established fashion, automotive, and food and recipe content creators–in every corner of the industry.


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