Clone-Worthy Digital Marketers: PRESENTING AIMCLEAR‘s Coveted Pink Sheep Awards, 2015

The world of digital marketing is bursting with innovative minds, stretching limits to achieve great accomplishments. Such individuals inspire, drum up industry fascination and create marketing revenue.

At AIMCLEAR, we’re regularly asked to share marketing pros’ worth. It’s true, we’re fortunate enough to constantly interact with the brightest minds in the industry for inspiration and collaboration. To our team, muses shine as stars of the online marketing scene. They light up our world.


Because our lives are replete with humble geniuses, AIMCLEAR has created the coveted Pink Sheep Awards. What’s that? The Pink Sheep Award gives us a way to recognize industry-leading marketers/savants.  With this, it is declared, “We want to clone you!” Because seriously, the globe would be a better place with more of the lovely humans who have earned the coveted Pink Sheep.

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So (drum roll), here is this year’s list of clone-worthy marketers:

Michelle-RobbinsMichelle Robbins, Vice President Of Technology at Third Door Media (@MichelleRobbins). Michelle has overseen all aspects of Third Door Media’s technology initiatives, marketing technology integrations and web presence (that’s 5 websites!) since its founding in 2006. If you read Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and Search Marketing Expo (SMX), you see her strategic and tactical work.

To call Michelle Robbins a rockstar is an understatement. She represents Third Door as an industry ambassador at conferences, speaking all over the world. Catch her behind the scenes at Third Door’s vaunted SMX series (of which she’s integrally involved) and other how-power insider enclaves. Yep, we’d like another Michelle to hang out with us in Minnesota…fer sure, fer sure… SHE gets the coveted Pink Sheep.

Matt-SiltalaMatt Siltala, founder of Avalaunch Media (@Matt_Siltala).
Matt’s a gentle giant, always giving, always sharing a hug and kind word. He joined us in Duluth, speaking at Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference in 2015. His magnanimous daddy-bear vibe is made more powerful by the serious knowledge dished. Matt’s a total social image sharing mensch and spins a hell of a story… a great story. Yeah man, let’s scrape some of Matt’s cheek cells, swirl em up in a test tube and make another Instagram Pinterest dude just for AIMCLEAR to play with. We’re VERY pleased to award Matt Siltala the much-sought Pink Sheep.

Barry-SchwartzBarry Schwartz, News Editor for Search Engine Land & President/Owner of RustyBrick, Inc (@rustybrick).
Barry Schwartz is a foundational search-marketing journalist. Want to know what’s next in the industry? Barry knows… seriously.

The world needs more Barry in it! He’s been bee’s knee deep in search engine marketing since (literally) formational days, when primordial industry lava oozed to form “Search Engine Optimization.” These days Barry continues leading thought leaders via SearchEngineRoundTable and Third Door Media publications.

Barry is also conference master of SMX Israel, the Middle East’s foremost search marketing conference. AIMCLEAR‘s Merry Morud and Marty have spoken at the staggeringly cool Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem multiple times. As an aside, Barry Schwartz is a wonderfully sweet, authentic man, walking the talk, humbly supporting friends and associates. <3 We’re ecstatic to present Barry with a treasured Pink Sheep. Baaa, baaaa, Barry! 🙂

Jackie-HoleJackie Hole, International SEM Consultant (@JackieHole).
Let’s start here: Jackie won the European Search Personality of the Year in 2013 and hasn’t slowed down. She’s a cool old school, SEM strategist, Internet Marketing consultant and AdWords trainer, with 16+ years of digital experience. Everyone knows musicians are built to be marketers. She’s a fantastic singer, delighting crowds with her talent and professionalism. A perennial judge for the European Search Awards, this woman is as connected, bright, savvy and clever as can be.

We’d love to hang out in a room full of Jackies. Who wouldn’t? Let’s make some more… wadda ya say? Of course we’re itching to bestow a heap o’ pink sheep on Jackie H. Rock on, Jackie. We got the beat. Walk like an Egyptian. Magic Man. We built this city. Rock it, Jackie.

Larry-KimLarry Kim, Founder of WordStream, Inc. and Columnist at Inc. 500 (@larrykim).
Larry Kim is perfectly geeky. He doesn’t stop — in the last 5 years, he’s written more than 1,000 articles on small business marketing and was recognized as the number one columnist for Search Engine Land. Those distinctions pile on top of directing product development and marketing for his company, WordStream.

Larry was recently named U.S. Search Personality of the Year for 2015, following in the footsteps of Marty Weintraub and Duane Forrester. We love you, Larry. Your genius-quirks inspire and delight. Your social thing is epic. SO, it is with self-indulgence and glee that we award Larry Kim a pink sheep. NOW he can truly say that he’s won every award. Baaa, Larry. Baaa. BAD ASS.

Ian-LurieIan Lurie, CEO, Founder & Digital Director at Portent (@portentint).
Ian claims more than 40,000 hours of experience with digital strategy, PPC and ad copywriting. Wow, we wonder if maybe Ian needs some exercise :). Not to worry. His humor is so pleasingly dry and penetrating. Ian’s company, Portent Interactive in Seattle, is highly regarded for technical and semantic SEO.

Portent also does their share of PPC. PLUS, dude’s a speaker and author. Ian understands SEO on a different plane than most mere mortal SEO practitioners. Any mention of top SEO minds in the world must include Ian Lurie. It is with tongue-firmly-planted-in-SEO-cheek that we present our friend Ian Lurie with a prized pink sheep.

Ted-RoxburyTed Roxbury, Chief Marketing Officer at CLEARLINK (@tedroxbury). Ted’s a freak, in every great sense of the word. This marketing machine man implements ROI-based programs for some of America’s top brands. Clone-worthy? YES!

Ted is the entrepreneurial-minded CMO at ClearLink, based in Salt Lake City. He thinks big, really big and knows a thing or two (or three or four) about marketing AND fine wine. Each year Ted masterminds Confluence, a wild ride conference, which serves and empowers Clearlink’s partners. We’re proud to call Clearlink friends and colleagues. To whom it may concern, we’d like to manufacture at least one more Ted. Send this Ted guy a great big pink sheep!

Mark-TraphagenMark Traphagen, Senior Director of Online Marketing at Stone Temple Consulting (@marktraphagen).
Mark has experience adopting channels early and cleaning up. During the Google+ craze, when many of our minds turned hummingbird flighty, he was there to sooth our tattered brow.

With about 30 years of experience, Mark has seen digital come, stay and evolve. He’s a content marketer, SEO, strategist and (best of all) a dear friend. Imagine our surprise to learn Mark’s relative was a famous Minnesota architect. Oliver Traphagen was a partner in building AIMCLEAR‘s Duluth office in 1884.

Mark, embrace your inner pink sheep, and congratulations. We want to clone you.

Greg Sterling, VP Strategy and Insights at Local Search Greg-SterlingOrganization & Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land (@gsterling).
In 2008, Greg Sterling stood up in Denver at SMX Mobile, a prescient Third Door Media conference of the day. He shared that the iPhone was “Going to change everything.” The next year’s SMX was held at the JW Marriott near Union Square in San Francisco. The iPhone was crushing planet earth and “Mobile” was full-fledged search marketing. 

When USA Today (and lots of other publications) needs expert input on related topics, Greg’s their guy. He’s a true journalist, a lion in an unimposing, respectful, always-remembers-who-you-are-and-says-hi, professional package.

It is with delight we bestow the epic pink sheep award. We want to make more Gregs.

Murray-NewlandsMurray Newlands, Founder, Writer (@MurrayNewlands).
Murray’s a colorful character indeed. He comes from a classic PR acumen, with roots in pitching, earned media, placed media, etc. Murray has contributed to Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, Venture Beat and Inc., and that’s just scratching the surface.

Watch for Murray speaking at conferences. He sometimes does not use a PowerPoint presentation, preferring to speak direct to audiences. You’ll read the same frank humanity in Murray’s writing as looking him in the eye on the podium.

Good WORK Murray. You have so much reach we want to double you up baby! Take the sheep. Be the sheep. CONGRATS!

Aaron-LevyAaron Levy, Manager of Client Strategy at Elite SEM (@bigalittlea).
Aaron loves what he does — and it shows. Having started in the industry in the midst of college, he took hold of digital marketing and soared. He’s now a regular speaker at industry conferences and colleges. Hats off to Aaron!


Courtney Seiter, Content MarkeCourtney-Seiterter at Buffer, Columnist at Marketing Land, Co-founder Girls to the Moon (@courtneyseiter).
Courtney was a community journalist turned content marketer. Her intrigue with all things content led her down the marketing path, where she’s thriving with style. Publish credits include: TIME, Fast Company, Lifehack, Inc. and more. Catch her any time you possibly can at conferences. This avid speaker not only knows how to write a compelling piece and organize a team, but she can also implement social strategy behind it. She’s (ALSO!) recently launched her passion project: Girls to the Moon with two other partners. WHOA, lady! Surely we’re not the only ones who think there should be two (or more!) Courtneys.

Bianca-ValbuenaBlanca Valbuena, Co-Founder & Business Development at Socialdraft, Co-Founder and Editor at FriendsEAT (@FriendsEAT).
How cool is that? Wait, we skipped the part where this Colombia native studied Art History, worked with Bacardi, cemented her love for wine at Seaboard Brokers (if you know us, she’s our kind of lady!). In her eight years of running FriendsEAT (A.K.A where the foodies go), she has developed a keen sense for all things social media and online marketing. She now applies that to Socialdraft (a killer social tool), helping businesses understand the reality of their web presence. With these kinds of credits, who wouldn’t want another Blanca in the world?

Antonio-EvanAntonio Evan, CEO Socialdraft, Co-Founder & Business Development FriendsEAT (@antonioevans).
Antonio founded FriendsEAT and Socialdraft with Blanca and has since been a key partner to their success. A self-proclaimed “cheerleader” for the business, he has a passion worth sharing. With business and tech roots that go deep – to IBM’s Thinkpad, this entrepreneur flexes his muscle growing his own business, managing teams from afar while Airbnb-ing around the globe with Blanca. Clearly there could be more Antonio to go around.

Angie-SchottmullerAngie Schottmuller, Growth Marketing Advisor, Keynote Speaker (@aschottmuller).
Angie is a prolific conference speaker weaving marketing tales infused with geek-love. She’s also a Search Engine Watch columnist and was named a Forbes Top 10 Online Marketer. Need we say more? This Minnesota marketer, with the distinct accent to prove it, specializes in conversion, SEO, social and mobile. She knows her stuff, and it shows in spades. We’d clone this marketing Jedi at hyper drive speeds if we could.

Aly-WalanskyAly Walansky, Senior Editor at (
Aly is a badass blogger and content contributor the world needs to know!  There isn’t a topic she won’t tackle. Her work can be seen in various online publications, including, Women’s Health, Men’s Health and The Fashion Spot, to name a few.


Want to see past winners? Check out past posts:

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