Global marketing strategist

International Keynote & Best-Selling Author



Joel Backaler is a global marketing strategist, author, and international keynote. He is the Managing Director at DuckerFrontier, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations and the award-winning author of China Goes West. His work has been featured in Forbes, BBC, and The Financial Times. Joel has launched his second book with Palgrave Macmillan, Digital Influence.



Joel is regularly invited to deliver keynote presentations for audiences around the world. He presents to a wide range of Fortune 500 corporations, Industry Associations, prestigious Academic Institutions among other professional organizations.



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Digital Influence

"The how-to book on influencer marketing the world has been waiting for."

-Mark Schaefer, Author of "RETURN ON INFLUENCE" and "KNOWN"

Available on Amazon and other online booksellers

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China Goes West

"A thorough and thoughtful examination of one of the most important trends that will shape the future of business, technology and society."

-Yang Yuanqing, Chief Executive Officer, LENOVO

Available on Amazon and other online booksellers.



Joel spoke at the Kellogg China Insider Forum – his global marketing experience was impressive.
— Angela Y. Lee, Chair Marketing Department - Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
I moderated a panel featuring Joel at the Hamburg Summit, a high profile Sino-European conference attended by Li Keqiang, the Premier of China. Backaler commanded the audience with highly illustrative examples and stories based on his first-hand experience. He’s highly engaging!
— Marc Szepan, former Senior Vice President - Lufthansa Airlines
He made a series of complex topics easily understandable for my students at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. Joel is a natural presenter and he has strong command of his subject matter.
— Sophie Meunier, Professor - Princeton University


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Joel Backaler is a global marketing strategist by trade with more than a decade of international marketing experience in Asia, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. He's passionate about identifying emerging global trends, diving deep and sharing executive-level findings with business leaders to keep them thinking ahead to the next big thing.

He accomplished this with his first book China Goes West, which revealed how Chinese companies like Lenovo, Huawei and Alibaba are building global brands to compete with Western multinational companies. His new book, Digital Influence, tells a different story about how brands (from anywhere in the world) can tap into the power of influencer marketing to connect with local audiences and jumpstart their international expansion.




Additionally, Joel has a special connection to China. His first travels to China in 2001 coincided with the International Olympic Committee's historic announcement to award Beijing the 2008 Summer Games. In what seemed like a matter of days, massive countdown clocks popped up across the city, ambitious construction projects broke ground, and Joel realized that the 2008 games would be unlike any other Olympics - for China the games were more than an athletic competition, they represented an unprecedented opportunity to show the world its new economic might.

Convinced that China's role in the global economy would only increase in the decades to come, Joel dedicated the first half of his career to becoming fluent in Mandarin, working within and consulting for Chinese companies, and and ultimately building a trans-Pacific family with his wife and son. Joel has lived and worked in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei and Singapore with significant regional experience throughout Asia.