AIMCLEAR Wants To Clone You! 18 Prodigious Marketers Win 2016 Pink Sheep Awards

Lambs floating on top of a pink background

Envelope, please! The nominations are in, votes tallied and test tubes ready. We now present the AIMCLEAR Pink Sheep Awards, 2016 edition.

In the spirit of toasting our industry, honoring brilliant personalities and celebrating magnanimous sharing, AIMCLEAR created the Pink Sheep Awards. In 2011 we declared our desire to clone 52 mind-blowing marketers. 42 awards were conferred in 2013 and 16 joined the clone queue in 2015. This year, we’re adding 18 prodigious digital marketers to the DNA pool.

The holidays are a time for giving, for reveling with family and friends and…Pink Sheep. So raise your glasses to AIMCLEAR‘s mentor-figure matriarchs and patriarchs; smart, successful cousins; weird uncles; and dozens upon dozens of brothers and sisters. Today, as colleagues and family, we SALUTE with sheep!

Pink Sheep Award Badgesheep2

Recipients, save and share this badge on your blog/website/social profile (no link expected).

And the winners are…

anne-driscollAnne Driscoll (@annedriscoll)

Why clone Anne Driscoll? Because she’s a marketing powerhouse with an innovative mind and entrepreneurial spirit. Currently chief marketing officer at Flutterwave, Anne is bold, isn’t afraid of much and has been a pioneer of disruption in the industry for more than 20 years. Plus, she’s as cool as it gets. We love that about Anne.


pat-eastPat East (@pateast)
CEO of Hanapin Marketing and founder of PPC Hero and Hero Conf, Pat East is a trailblazer in the marketing industry. He’s giving and a natural people connector. We like his passion, skills, drive, out-of-this-world intelligence and unselfish sharing of community (i.e. Hero). Pat, please may we have a cheek sample…just a little scrape?


Rand Fishkin (@randfish)rand-fishkin
If you don’t know Rand, you don’t know. It’s unbelievable to us that we’ve never awarded Rand a coveted Pink Sheep. He was Marty’s hero before anyone ever heard of AIMCLEAR, including Marty.

Founder of Moz and world-renowned author, blogger, speaker, dancer, rabble rouser, emotion-on-sleeve entrepreneur boy wonder-man leader, Rand’s made an indelible print on the SEO universe. Many consider him to be THE original FACE of SEO, and what a face it is with that beautiful mustache (an accomplishment in and of itself) and impeccable coiffure. He’s so great. We wish we had more of him. Hey, Rand, mind taking a sip off this li’l cup of coffee?

casie-gilletteCasie Gillette (@Casieg)
Currently director of online marketing at KoMarketing, Casie quickly gained a foothold in the industry working with some of the top SEOs. Her aptitude for SEO and digital marketing strategy quickly accelerated her to agency life in Boston before hopping over to startup Grasshopper, where she swiftly climbed titles and earned status.  

A voracious writer, Casie dishes goods on an array of topics including SEO, link building, B2B marketing, branding and, of course, content marketing. We can’t get enough of Casie at industry conferences, and neither can audiences. With masterful marketing smarts and infectious positive energy, we hope she’ll loan us a single lock of her hair.

Anne Kennedy (@AnneKennedy)anne-kennedy
Anne is a marketing LEGEND. Period. End of story. Need credentials? She’s got ’em, with class and character to boot. With experience rooted in traditional advertising and public relations from mid-century “Mad Men” days, Anne took her timeless marketing chops to the digital realm in the 90s, founding Beyond Ink. There are no signs of Anne slowing down, either. She writes and speaks on digital marketing and entrepreneurship all over the world while acting as president and co-founder of Outlines Venture Group. We’re lucky to know her as a friend, client (partner, really) and champion. We’d totally clone you, Anne!

pete-meyersPete Meyers (@dr_pete)

Pete Meyers, AKA Dr. Pete, is a freakin’ genius — literally (we’re pretty sure we can use literally there). This self-reported god amongst men earned a Ph.D. in human experimental psychology, dabbles in data science dark arts as well as content marketing. Pete maintains Moz’s vaunted Google Algorithm Change History and was the architect of MozCast, a breakthrough representation of turbulence in Google rankings that many an SEO would die without (figuratively). Everyone should have their own Dr. Pete. It’s a damn shame there’s only one of him. We could likely straight-up make a deal with Pete for bio-expansion.

lexi-millsLexi Mills (@leximills)
One of the few marketers that truly understands and embraces the convergence of PR and SEO, Lexi Mills should be cloned. Please, Lexi, let’s make another. <3 Her résumé and client work reads like a who’s who of coolio companies, she’s an award-winning consultant and US/UK Search Awards judge as well as a globetrotting speaker. If you get a chance to see Lexi speak, GO, and prepare to be inspired. When it comes to digital PR, Lexi’s a step ahead…of everyone.


Keith Posehn (@kzorz)keith-posehn
Hybrid marketers, wicked strong in martech, are the best overall marketers in the world. Why? Because integrated is as integrated does, do be do be do. A longtime met-at-Pubcon friend of AIMCLEAR, Keith Posehn is a visionary, a fascinating amalgamation of tech, dev, emerging channels, transactional optimization, psychographic data, search and affiliate marketing (that’s a mouthful). Technically advanced, he is adept at creative API marketing development, integrated apps and content. Keith’s just a really neat dude. If you don’t know him, you should get to know him. Hey, Keith, watch your fishing rod handles; we could be patting them down for DNA.

wil-reynoldsWil Reynolds (@wilreynolds)
You know in the movies when the team feels defeated but there’s still a little time left in the game? Invariably, the coach delivers a rousing speech to increasingly animated players, motivating them to go out there and win the freakin’ game. Wil Reynolds is that coach.

Founder of Seer Interactive and all-around good guy (he recently raised $40,000 for homeless youth in Philadelphia), Wil’s an SEO who knows the endgame ain’t rankings or links, it’s business results. You know him for RCS — Real Company Sh!t/Real Customer Sh!t — a mantra of audience over algorithms, and customer experience over optimization. We know we’d like to clone him. Three cheers for Wil as we present him a well-overdue Pink Sheep Award.

mike-robertsMike Roberts (@mrspy)
Mike Roberts is not your average San Diego surfer geek. He’s a luminous marketing genius nerd. President and founder of SpyFu, Mike is (somehow) completely unaffected; chat with him at a trade show booth and he’ll tell you how he does it. His tool, SpyFu, is the gold standard in affordable big data blended SEO/PPC competitive, etc. analysis, packed with all kinds of actionable stuff. Marty says of it: “If I was stuck on a desert island with a limited budget and a need to reverse engineer a large swath of the paid and organic search competitive universe, I would pick SpyFu as my desert island tool.” Mike’s an impressive dude intellectually; we’d love to catch some waves (of the Lake Superior variety) with his clone. We’ll find some human traces on the surfboard, dontcha know.

david-rodnitzkyDavid Rodnitzky (@rodnitzky)
David is the PPC agency man. His role as founder and CEO of the company which evolved into 3Q, sold to Harte Hanks, only begins to detail his accomplishments. An original PPC industry thought leader, David’s writing credits include big dog publications like Huffington Post, WIRED, Forbes, Marketing Land, etc. We admire the sense of innovation David brings to marketing and his ability to articulate concepts and theories through written word. To this day, AIMCLEAR incorporates components of PPC optimization models David helped pioneer. We’ll have a little American, some mandel bread, you chew your fingernails… the rest shall be history!


william-searsWilliam Sears (@WKSears)
William Sears is a forward-looking marketer’s marketer who powers growth and SEO at LinkedIn. Data- and innovation-driven, if it’s an ROI-driven digital marketing thing, William has been at the forefront and done it well — so well, in some cases, that the result has been thriving spin-off companies.

He’s able to traverse rugged large enterprise internal terrain like a figure skater on fresh ice, and manage multiple distributed agencies and employees all over the world with relative ease and without alienating, in fact empowering. As one of Marty’s SEOktoberfest brothers and sisters, he’s earned his place among the enlightened ones, and it’s high time we presented him with this Pink Sheep Award. Getting a sample of William will be easy…beer stein.

carolyn-shelbyCarolyn Shelby (@cshel)
This Pink Sheep is for Her Royal Highness Queen Carolyn Shelby of the house Shelby, First of Her Name, Queen of Content, Master Weaver of Webs, Resurrector of SEO, Preserver of Links, Khaleesi of the Great Tribune Publishing Digital Realm, and Mother of Unicorns. OK, some of those may not be true, but the queen title is legit. She is literally queen of Ladonia.

Carolyn is currently director of SEO & SEM for Tribune Publishing, runs CSHEL Search Strategies providing consulting services and SMB training, and has operated Lafayette Online since 1995. Oh, and she’s a queen. Did we mention that?

A professional powerhouse, Carolyn has been dazzling the industry designing websites since 1994 and helping businesses of all sizes integrate online and offline marketing efforts. We curtsy to Her Highness (a regular speaker on linking, SEO and content) frequently at conferences, and keep up with her deep mind weekly on The SEO 101 Podcast. Fun fact: Carolyn recently granted Sir Duane Forrester, a 2013 Pink Sheep winner, his dukedom.

danny-sullivanDanny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)
It’s with distinct pleasure we award Danny Sullivan a 2016 Pink Sheep Award. This evolved newspaper reporter is the historic founding editor of Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Strategies conferences, Search Engine Land and Search Marketing Expo Conferences.

If you’re in the industry and don’t read one of those publications, you’re basically not in the industry — that’s how influential Danny is.

His journalistic integrity, inside the insiders, gondola hacking and drone piloting are second to none; Danny’s the real deal. Sometimes readers wonder why journalists are cited as practitioners in awards. Here’s why: Danny Sullivan is an authentic marketing strategist. After all, you can’t be that respected and well known marketing journalist unless you know how to market your genius marketing journalism. Right? Meta. We know. Danny has always stood as an integral inbound marketing example for us all, and has for 15 years. His talent to combine marketing chops so deep as to earn insider status at Google is unique and foundational to our industry. You’ll see us on the podium at SMX West after your mod sessions, sniffing for cells. We know. Creepy, right?

marcus-tandlerMarcus Tandler (@mediadonis)
Six degrees of separation? Who needs that many!? If you’re connected to Marcus Tandler, you’re connected to half of Europe, a lot of Poland and pretty much all of Germany. Marcus is co-founder and managing director at, a master link builder and builder of link- building software. Given data showing links are still large and in charge, is a Munich-based German-powered link-building machine.

Marcus founded the now-infamous SEOktoberfest, an elite annual think tank built on a small but elite band of global marketing brothers and sisters. #PROST! Brotherhood, strong! Each year since 2009, top minds in search have gathered in Munich during Oktoberfest to share mind-blowing tactics running the gamut from purer than white hat to blasphemous black hat fodder. The second day of the event is a charity BBQ that, since its inception, has raised over 200,000 euros for such worthy causes as feeding the hungry and preserving the rainforest. Marcus is a wonderful, generous guy — there should be more people like Marcus in the world. This Pink Sheep’s for you, brother. We’re stalking your uneaten pretzel and cheese for DNA!

marcus-toberMarcus Tober (@marcustober)
Marcus Tober is the reigning European Search Personality of the Year. His software, Searchmetrics, won the US and European Search Awards for Best SEO Software Suite, the SEMY Award for Best SEO Suite, and was named “Best of” in the Online Marketing category of INNOVATIONSPREIS-IT (German IT Innovations Awards) — and that’s just 2016! Marcus essentially reverse engineered RankBrain and other Google algo features and incorporated them into his tool. To our mind, Searchmetrics is the most innovative big data SEO tool for enterprise. Marcus, you may not be a ‘me too’ kind of guy, but we wish there were two of you. P.S., Marty stole your cup in Paris. Little Marcus is already gestating. Just kidding. Not really.

Frederick Vallaeys (@siliconvallaeys)
One of the original 500 employees at Google, Frederick Vallaeys is a pretty big deal. When he speaks, marketers listen. He’s an AdWords genius for good reason: He spent 10 years building the system! Frederick is an amazing practical technologist. When AIMCLEAR absolutely has to figure out something with AdWords scripts or Google insider politics, Fredrick’s our guy on the line. We love that his work focuses on technology that simplifies marketers’ lives. Frederick, thanks for being you. Now, can we have a DNA sample, please?


purna-virjiPurna Virji (@purnavirji)
Purna Virji is a PPC vision powerhouse, and we’re not the only ones who think so. Earlier this year, PPC Hero named her the #1 Most Influential PPC Expert. Currently senior Bing Ads PPC training manager at Microsoft, Purna knows her sh!t and shares it with the community as a columnist for Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch and as a speaker at just about every digital marketing conference that exists. Purna’s an authority on voice search (she can do ‘em in six languages), SEO and analytics. We’ve known Purna for years, so it’s about time we honored her eminence with a Pink Sheep Award. Congratulazioni! Glückwunsch! Felicidades! Subhkamna!

The Pink Sheep selection process

We’re often asked the criteria to win a Pink Sheep Award. Nominations are accepted from throughout our agency, vetted by a committee and put to agency thought leaders for final decisions. Nominees are typically sheep candidates who make themselves known through conference or event presentations and meetings, publications, blogs and social over the course of years.

We don’t know everybody, though. Countless sheep fly under the crook, many with credentials as cool as their cited pink counterparts. If that’s you, we’d love to get to know you. Strike up a conversation and let your genes be seen!

Congratulations to all of the Pink Sheep Award recipients! May all of you beautiful-celled marketers have a wonderful season filled with good cheer. From the icy shores of Lake Superior and the snow-covered paths of Mears Park, Happy Holidays!


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