Top Influencer Sam Hurley on trends, tools, insights and influencers

Sam Hurley is ranked the #1 Global Digital Marketing Influencer and if you follow him on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook, you will never lack good stuff to read up on and hone your digital marketing skills. But all that aside; what we like the most about Sam is that he could potentially be the nicest guy on the internet today. Sam has, very early on, embraced what Dan Tyre from HubSpot referred to as “Always Be Helping” and made it a part of his personal brand. He has also made emojis and giphys part of his brand, so if you are on a social network, you’ll spot him a mile away.

We got a rare chance to catch up with this busy marketing powerhouse and quickly fired off a carefully selected round of questions. The answers to those questions? You need to read this.

This is Sam Hurley:
Before becoming a full-time Influencer, Sam worked as Head of Search Marketing, Digital Marketing Consultant, Affiliate Manager, Social Media Manager and SEO Manager for both client-side companies and digital marketing agencies. His expertise is frequently featured on major blogs and websites and among others, he has been featured by IBM, SalesForce, The Next Web, Adobe, Inc, and Search Engine Watch.

Hi Sam! Let’s start with a big question: What is the next big thing in marketing?

“Hi Digital Mic Drop! That is a big question for sure, but one thing you hear about everywhere, and we’re all probably tired of hearing about it, but Artificial Intelligence really is the trend that will drastically shake things up.

Over the next 10 years, I believe we’ll be seeing many significant job cuts and more collaboration with machines. We’re already seeing AI and machine learning partially in use for SEO, PPC (programmatic ads), Sales, CRO and article writing. Can you imagine in a few years’ time…? Just be ready for it.”

As an influencer you consume a lot of online content, so let us ask you this: What is good content? What makes you hit the Share button?

“First of all, the content must look good. Secondly, it must read well, be original and have a purpose. Complex words and jargon are an instant put-off, too! Thirdly, it must be easy to share. Make it as easy as possible by adding attractive share buttons, auto-filled headings, handle mentions + pretty links etc. It’s amazing how many still get this wrong!”

What is the one marketing change that marketers should implement right now in order to be competitive over the next few years?

“One!? Man, that’s tough! But my ONE would be ensuring your website looks and functions great, and is ultra-fast on all devices…while being adapted for either AMP, PWA or AML. I covered them all here.”

If you could ask every online marketer to stop doing just one thing right now, what would that be?

“Overloading your site with annoying pop-ups. ARRGHH!!!”

If we gave you a 50,000 USD marketing budget for online consumer marketing, how would you spend it?

“TV ads! Just kidding 😉 Targeted Influencer Marketing + Facebook and Google Remarketing! Then spend the remainder on making sure the website converts.”

Ok, and if we gave you a 50,000 USD marketing budget for online business to business marketing, how would you spend it?

“Again, Influencer Marketing along with Content Marketing + Brand Publishing + Remarketing. I’d also invest in Account Based Marketing for the big fish.”

There’s a lot of buzz around video marketing right now. Should we pay attention?

“It’s strange because the buzz seems to have been going on for a couple of years now…but still, there’s heaps of written content out there and people still love to read. It’s not like all of a sudden, written content is just going to be thrown in the trash can. There many different demographics out there so you must cater for your target audience, first and foremost!

So, don’t get too caught up in industry buzz…but do take heed. Video + human faces = Trust, and trust = Sales. I’m definitely honing my own presence toward video over the next few years. But I still write now, and that works extremely well!”

What five marketing tools should every marketer have in their toolbox?

1. Respect
2. Relationships
3. Twitter
4. Buffer
5. Wishpond

Why are influencers important?

“True influencers do exactly that…influence people.’Influencer’ is a term often flung around but it all comes down to that. If you influence others and lead them to achieve or change direction toward a better goal, skill or mindset…that’s super important and an honourable accomplishment.”

How can an influencer help a brand to success?

“The right influencer can help the right brands excel. Influencers hold loyal, highly-engaged audiences and by hiring a relevant influencer, brands instantly tap into these people along with the trust and credibility the influencer has spent a long, long time forging.

And get this: Nielson reports a colossal 83% of consumers across 60 countries trust recommendations over any other form of advertising! Faces mean much more than brand logos. It’s just a no-brainer in our world of annoying pop-ups and ads!”

Sam, thank you very much for your insights and for being the nicest dude on the internet!


Can’t get enough of reading about influencers?
Check out our interview with best-selling author Mark Schaefer.



  1. I’ve met Sam on Twitter and he is the nicest person out there. He’s always on LinkedIn with many great postsa and writings. But he amazes me all the time. He always responds and is honest and himself each and every time. He is brilliant and I’ve learned a lot from him. Thank you Sam!
    His projection of AI really scares me as it will put many jobs in jeapordy, where will it all end?
    Thanks for sharing more about this amazing marketer and person Sam Hurley 🙂

  2. Great post and insight. I can atest to Sam being a super nice guy too. He sent me a personal Happy Christmas video clip (unless he recorded it and sent it to all Gary’s ). But great guy. On the topic of video mentioned above I’ve always thought it was going to be important but we have to remember it’s not always easy to watch / listen to a video. With the written word, you can consume it at any time. I’m thinking of people at work who can’t or won’t want to watch video with audio or say people in waiting rooms, or places they can’t hear what’s happening. Just a thought.

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