We Asked 100+ Industry Experts: If You Could Take One Marketing Tool to a (Digital) Desert Island, What Would it Be?

by Josh Barney

Picture the scene

…there’s sand beneath your feet and nothing in any direction except clear blue seas and skies. The sun is beating down on your blistered skin, your lips are crisp and scabbed from 48 hours without water. A painful rumble beats through your stomach…

…and all you’re praying for is a laptop, internet connection and the use of one digital marketing tool!

OK, I admit, that’s probably a little far-fetched, but go with it for a minute.

We posed this scenario to a whole host of top marketers, CEOs and entrepreneurs and received TONS of responses!

social media posting planner

During the last 24 hours I’ve whittled these responses down to the top answers based on quality and variety (of answer).

(If you’re reading this and you didn’t make the final cut, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. I’ll try to get you into the next ridiculous marketing scenario I conjure up!)

Make sure you’ve got a pen and paper ready because this list is the ultimate backstage pass into some of the brightest and most exciting start-ups, digital marketers and brands out there.

My top tip: Check out the authors brand (link) and job title, find the one who aligns with your marketing targets closest and check out the tool they’ve recommended. 

So without further ado, let’s discover what our talented bunch of castaways would trade their oldest pal ‘Wilson’ in for.


If you were stranded on a digital desert island and you could only take one marketing tool with you, what would it be? And why?


Claudio Miguel, Founder of OutBound.net

digital desert island answer

Answer: SimilarWeb Pro

Without a doubt, it would be Similarweb PRO, and it’s not even a contest! There’s a reason why it’s probably the most expensive marketing tool out there costing us around 30k per year, but we don’t even blink when the time comes to renew it. 

In short, it allows you to back engineer the entire traffic strategy of any online business—be it paid or organic. With it you are able to essentially look in on the traffic sources of other’s in your niche, down to the percentage of traffic that each source site is referring, and to which page as well as the full demographics of the traffic.

In terms of search traffic, you can see all the keywords a site is ranking organized by percentage, see which search keywords they are bidding for using adwords, and see the ads and ad networks a site may be using. Lastly, the more expensive version grants you full access to the inner pages of each site ranked by traffic received, which means you not only can find out what internal pages a site may be driving to (for example, you can uncover the most popular products of an online store), but also check their entire funnel, including upsells and thank you pages. The possibilities are endless.


Ben Jeffries, CEO and Co-Founder of Influencer.com

digital desert island answer

Answer: Content Creators

If I was stuck on a digital desert island, the one marketing tool I would take with me would have to be content creators (often also known as influencers); an updated twist on the old-school word-of-mouth marketing.

Individuals have less patience and dwell time than ever to spend looking at an advert, and yet have increased their time spent scrolling through social channels. This is where the importance of creators as a marketing tool becomes critical, particularly as 47% of Gen Z are turning to social media to research brands.

Creators put a lot of time and effort into cultivating and maintaining a positive and honest relationship with their audience, one built on trust and shared values. Thus, it is an easy and convenient route for the consumer to have their favourite content creator advise them on what to buy in a format that they’re used to, without thinking of it as an advert but more, as a friendly recommendation.

Why this works is easy: consumers want more authenticity in the advertising they are seeing. Individuals are seeking a more authentic voice, one they feel they know personally to guide their choices. This roots itself in psychology; basing one’s behaviour on another’s is nothing new. And creators offer an attractive lifestyle that a lot of their followers want to attain, and credibility and social proofing comes hand-in-hand with this, thanks to the positive and honest relationship cultivated over time.

Moreover, travel is one of the main industries harnessing influencer marketing, with 40 percent of millennials considering ‘Instagrammability’ when choosing their next destination. While they may not have the best survival skills to bring to the island, we can be sure that the creators will seek out the most beautiful areas and potentially, even find an aesthetic smoothie shack to keep us going!


Yam Regev, Founder of Zest

digital desert island answer

Answer: Klipfolio

The geeky answer is email. I’d take my email so I could ask someone to come and save me + I’d be able to continue operating my startup.

The more tech-y answer is Klipfolio.

While I’ll write SOS on the sandy beach of my deserted island, I’ll be able to see all of Zest’s KPIs dashboards, activity, and general performance.

As we have some solid daily-weekly-monthly-quarterly-annually KPIs which are broken down per department, Klipfolio became my most addictive app and I find myself refreshing our dashboards each other hour.

I can’t imagine how I would feel without it for too long.


Mat Wilson, Founder & CEO of Einstein Marketer

digital desert island

Answer: ClickFunnels

I would take Clickfunnels!

Clickfunnels is my secret weapon to creating high converting sales pages to sell pretty much anything for our clients! It’s amazingly easy to use, with its drag and drop builder and pre made templates. This would allow me to easily build a funnel to sell the cocktail I’d create in the boredom of being stranded, ‘The Einstein Marketer Tropicana’.


Nico Prins, Founder of Launch Space

digital desert island

Answer: Ninja Outreach

If I was stuck on a desert island with a handy internet connection, my laptop and a never ending source of power then I’d want access to Ninja Outreach. If you’ve never heard of Ninja Outreach before, it’s an all in one blogger and marketing outreach platform. The platform essentially does three things:

  1. Find new leads for your business or opportunities for guest posting
  2. Analyze those leads (you can check the domain authority, social followers, traffic etc.)
  3. Shows you what works by letting you see the conversion rate (responses)

The reason I like this tool is it just speeds up an essential part of any business; connecting with people. The more people you connect with, the higher the chance of landing a lead or getting that guest post that will improve your traffic. At its heart it’s just an efficiency tool for people who want to get stuff done, and these are the things that I find most useful.

Oh, and I’d also want a hammock. You need a hammock for a desert island (and maybe a beach bar and a ukulele to go with it).


Vlad Calus, Co-Founder of Planable

digital desert island answer

Answer: Ahrefs

Hmm, ok – that’s a really great question. Obviously I’d say Planable, as I’m managing all my company and personal social media with that but I’m biased, ha-ha!

I believe that my choice is Ahrefs. It’s one of the best tools I’ve ever used for managing & researching keywords, competitors and understanding how can we perform better in terms of SEO. I’ve been using it for more than a year already, I love the content that they’re building around the company and the way I actually see better results by using Ahrefs every single day. It’s one of the main tools I’m going into when starting my day at work. That’s why, I would take it on a digital desert island with me.

Louisa McGrath, Content Manager at Rebrandly

digital desert island answer

Answer: SocialBee

I’d take our social media automation tool, Social Bee, with me.

We use it to schedule one-off posts, like curated content and media mentions, for the coming week. But there’s also the option to create folders full of posts with evergreen content, which SocialBee will share automatically according to the timetable you’ve set out. We use this feature to share out coupons and inspirational quotes.

It’s also got other features built-in, such as the ability to create branded links. The reason I’d take this with me is because it saves so much time, which can be invested in writing a blog post or engaging in conversation with customers.


Simon Sebjanic, Founder of Nomiscom WebDesign

digital desert island answer

Answer: LinkedIn

If I could only use one marketing tool, I have to go with LinkedIn.

It would offer me everything that I need to market my business and still empower my audience. I can post new blog posts, I can share updates on my personal profile (so I can further build my personal brand) and post company updates.

Most importantly I can network, build my network of valuable connections and share opinions. Then there are also groups, that are now revised. I also like the possibility to follow hashtags, that way I can also be active on topics where my targeted audience is and put myself in front of them. So that would be my best tool to take it on a digital desert island. LinkedIn is THE tool to use.


Rae Radford, Founder and CEO of What’s New UK

digital desert island answer

Answer: ContentCal

If you haven’t discovered ContentCal yet, you’re missing a huge Social Media Management trick.

The simplicity of this newly developed software is outstanding. The guys behind the App are helpful and explain all the unique features via a one to one video call. I’ve always been a SocialOomph fan but with Twitter clamping down on the use of bots, ContentCal have stepped in and frankly stepped up.

Matthew Woodward, Award Winning Blogger at MatthewWoodward.co.uk

digital desert island answer

Answer: Ahrefs

My number one marketing tool that I use every day is Ahrefs. It is without a doubt the best SEO tool in my arsenal.

My favourite feature is the backlink checker because it allows me to steal all my competitor’s backlinks. It was the clear winner in my test to find out which tool was the best backlink checker, beating Majestic, Moz, SEO Spyglass & Raven Tools.

Ahrefs also has a bunch of other awesome features that all help you increase your search traffic

So whether using Ahrefs for your ecommerce store or to increase traffic to your blog, this tool does everything and would definitely be the one I would choose to be stuck on a digital desert island with.


Patsy Nearkhou, Content & Digital Marketing Specialist at Talkative

digital desert island answer

Answer: Canva

Canva would definitely be my desert island marketing tool!

As a content creator, the goal is to get your content seen by as many people as possible. One of the best ways to improve your chances is by repurposing your blog content into eye catching and valuable infographics, but I simply don’t have the time to spend ages creating multiple infographics in Photoshop. Although I use more advanced design tools for other projects, repurposing content doesn’t require that level of complexity.

Canva is great because there are hundreds of customisable templates, illustrations, high resolution photos and fonts available to use by simply dragging and dropping what you want in seconds. I also love that you can save your own brand schemes and share your designs with team members so you can view and comment on each other’s work. It’s so simple to use, the end result looks super professional and you can double your content creation quickly, which gives me more time to spend on strategy and outreach.


Bill Acholla, Digital Marketer at BillAcholla.com

digital desert island answer

Answer: QuuuPromote

I’d pick Quuupromote.co, because it’s a perfect tool for marketers to grow their brand on social media in real time.

It can help your content get lots of social shares, mentions and clicks to your content. It’s a tool that if used well, it can send you lots of buzz from influential influencers.

So if a marketer wants to generate lots of buzz, they’ll love Quuupromote.co.


Robert Katai, Content Marketing Manager at Bannersnack

digital desert island answer

Answer: BuzzSumo

The only tool I would take with me it’s Buzzsumo, because it has everything I want, from the monitoring feature to content research and finding new influencers.

In fact, it’s the kind of marketing tool you want to use every day, with every single task (if you work in content marketing) and have it open day by day in a new tab.

I also love the research I got from every link I introduce in their Content Analyzer (from backlinks, social share, engagement and scoare) to the trending now content in different industries.


Marcus Svensson, Growth Manager at Albacross 

digital desert island answer

Answer: Albacross

Let’s start from the very beginning. A marketing tool is the strategies, techniques, services, and products used by companies to develop and promote their websites, goods, services, etc. Now, when I’m imaging myself on a digital desert island, the only tool I would take with me is Albacross.

Did you know that only 2% of website visitors make a sale conversion on a website, while the other 98% of people who have visited your site are often lost forever? The lack of data on such visitors is a real proof that businesses are missing out on most of their prospective customers. That’s why it’s crucial for any businesses’ success to know their website visitors.

That is why I choose Albacross to be the marketing tool I would take with me to a digital desert island (and not only). It would discover my website visitors, generate leads and turn them into the paying customers eventually. This lead generation tool would provide me with additional information on companies interested in my business such as; the pages they have visited, their chief decision-makers, and the ways they can be contacted. All in all, Albacross is a must-have tool for anyone stranded on a desert island and still want to promote their businesses;)

What’s more, it’s free – so there is no need to take a credit card with you either.

Abishek Murthy, Head of Product Marketing at FreshChat

digital desert island answer

Answer: Email

Email will be the one marketing tool that I would use if I was stranded on a digital desert island.

Personalization is happening everywhere. On websites, on social media, inside products etc. Email is the one tool which is born with it, creating valuable personal touches.

Social media (to me) still sounds like a Friday night party with a lot of noise, but I’m not sure how it can ever replace email. Social media might still remain a party, I’m more interested in emails, the one-on-one coffee catch up.


Kas Szatylowicz, Outreach Coordinator at Nightwatch

digital desert island answer

Answer: Buffer

As a social media manager for Nightwatch, you would probably expect me to name our tool and give you a thousand reasons why that’s the case. But even though I do use it in my day-to-day work, the tool I value the most is my favorite content scheduling app – Buffer.

It’s is a real time-saver allowing me to manage multiple social media accounts, create my own update schedule – individual for each of the accounts, and share the content directly from its source using the Buffer extension.

Furthermore, I can easily share content from other social media profiles which is something that other similar tools lack. This app helped me become extremely effective in my work as a social media manager by reducing significantly (like 70%!) the time spent on curating and publishing the content on the social media channels we use.

I know about many other alternatives and I did try out a few of them, but Buffer remains the tool I love the most.


Alexandra Tachalova, Founder of Digital Olympus

digital desert island answer

Answer: Google Search Console

It would have to be Google Search Console since it allows me to see my website rankings and everyone who refers to my site.

On top of that, using the Search Console I can spot all the errors, remove pages from the index and control the general health of my site. Also, among my favorite reports is the mobile usability index, which shows the site’s pages that are not optimized for mobile devices and which need to be updated.

From an SEO perspective, I think this is the only tool that combines all this data in one place by providing a very easy to use interface.


Maria Ganta, Marketing Coordinator at Social Insider

digital desert island answer

Answer: Instagram Analytics

Reporting is a fundamental operation in today’s data world so, if I had to pick only one marketing tool, I would choose an Instagram Analytics and Reporting tool.

In my opinion, Instagram is the future, it’s a social media platform that is growing very fast, and we have to take advantage of each feature that it has – IGTV, Stories, question sticker, shoppable sticker, hashtags, everything.

We have to look at the data to know if what we are doing is right or wrong, if our strategy is good or if we have to change something. What better way than a tool that will allow us to extract and present data in charts, tables, and other visualization forms in only a few minutes.

If I was stranded on a digital desert island, I would take with me an Analytics and Reporting tool to better understand my results.


Jói Sigurdsson, Founder & CEO at CrankWheel

digital desert island answer

Answer: Make my own!

If I could only have a single marketing tool, it would have to be a mechanism for capturing lead information, distributing it to sales people, and getting them to call back as fast as possible. Something where I could customize a lead capture form and easily embed it on my web site.

Without a tool, any website would be almost completely ineffective as the only way customers could reach you is to call the phone number listed on your site – something they’re not likely to do. Of course, in the real world (where I have many tools in my array), I’d want the lead capture tool to integrate with other tools such as my mailing list provider.



How was that? Action packed enough?

By now you’ve probably got 100 different tabs open, and you’re desperately scrolling back and forth between the content, brand and recommendation.

Don’t take these insights lightly! Take your time to go through the most relevant to your brand and strategy, and appreciate what these experts have recommended. The tools they’ve suggested in these posts are a huge part of why they’re digitally killing it!

Do you think all the MOST IMPORTANT digital marketing tools were included in this list? What would you take? Leave a comment! 

If you’d like to contribute to our next Q&A Expert Round-up, or you’d like to submit a guest contribution, send me an email (in the author box below) and I’ll get back to you when I’ve got through them all!

social media posting planner

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the www.joshbarney.blog. He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

6 Responses

  1. It’s very interesting to see what everyone would choose. There’s some great suggestions here, along with what would be my pick (aHrefs).
    Great roundup! Thanks for putting it together.

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