How Marketers Work: Ryan Bonnici from HubSpot on Inbound Marketing


On this installment of the How Marketers Work interview series, we hear from Ryan Bonnici of HubSpot. If you’ve been keeping up with past interviews so far, you know that with each new article, we explore how marketers get inspired, stay productive, and generate results, and how you can do the same!

Ryan Bonnici is the marketing director at HubSpot Asia Pacific & Japan. He’s an experienced digital marketing leader having held roles previously at Salesforce, ExactTarget, Microsoft and Qantas Airways.

HubSpot is a powerhouse in the marketing industry right now. I have a deep respect for what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, and their platform continues to get better with every update.

Moreover, even if you’re not a HubSpot customer, there is a lot to be learned from their inbound marketing methodology, as we will see below in this interview with Ryan.

Without further delay, let’s jump right into the interview, since it contains a ton of valuable content for all the inbound marketers out there!

How would you explain specifically what you do as a marketer?

As an inbound marketer, every day I think about how we attract, convert, close and delight customers. This predominantly involves creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.

Which new skills are most important for marketers to learn in the next six months?

Many companies make the mistake of thinking that one person can do it all. They can, but it’s rare to find an individual with such diverse and deep skills.

That said, these are 4 key skills which would make up an awesome, results-driven inbound marketer–or inbound marketing team:

Writing – Without good writing skills, your inbound marketing efforts will probably come up short. You’ll need to continually turn out thoughtful, well-written content to fuel your marketing by attracting visitors to your site and converting them into leads.

Design & Development – Because your website is the core of your inbound marketing, you’ll want to make sure it’s always running and performing at its best. You won’t be able to do this unless you have some flair for design visuals, as well as the ability to get creative with code and build interesting apps.

Analytics – An often overlooked skill is marketing analytics. These skills help you raise the red flag when a call-to-action (CTA) or landing page isn’t performing, or when your homepage’s bounce rate is too high.

Strategy – No inbound marketer is complete without the ability to use both the right and left brain. You need to connect the dots between knowing the audience and their needs, and your inbound marketing activities.

What do you find most rewarding about marketing?

Interacting with customers at events is always a pleasure, but I think I get most excited when I log into the HubSpot Twitter account and seeing the incredible tweets from our fans and customers.

Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than receiving a tweet or an email from a marketer that has used our marketing resources to score a new job, or achieve something remarkable at their current workplace.

How do you stay updated with the latest marketing industry news?

I love blogs, but I hate having to visit them repetitively. Instead I use Feedly to pull together all of my favourite bloggers and blog posts, so that I can read my content whenever I have a spare moment.

I also block off the first hour of every day to roam the web, consume my Feedly feed on my desktop via Reeder, and stay up to date with the industry.

I don’t think you can expect to be a great marketer if you aren’t up to date with the industry. Plus, I’m the worlds biggest app nerd and love finding out about a new marketing tool before anyone else.

My latest find and love is Twitshot – it automatically attaches a picture to your twitter post (and tweets with images see a 55% increase in leads generated).

As a marketer, what is your favorite productivity hack?

I’m maniacal about using Asana to increase my own and my team’s productivity. It allows us to keep emails to a minimum, and always ensure there is a directly-responsible-individual (DRI) for each project we’re working on.

Are there any particular marketing trends on the horizon that really excite you?

I think inbound marketing is the next biggest trend on the horizon, and that seriously excited me! We’ve been practicing inbound marketing at HubSpot since we began and it has truly revolutionised our business.

What’s amazing about inbound marketing is that it works in the background for you–all of that great content you have is just generating leads in the background.

For other marketing trends, I’m a daily reader of Product Hunt. It’s like Quora, but for new startups–and you can upvote cool ideas, and try out new betas of amazing products. The latest product I trialed was called Clara Labs, and it was an artificial intelligent virtual assistant. Very cool stuff.

What are some of the top tools and apps in your marketing stack?

Wow, there are a heap, but I think the two I couldn’t live without are HubSpot and Asana.

How is your typical work day structured?

It’s really quite varied. At the moment I’m building out the Asia Pacific & Japan marketing team, so I’m spending a lot of time stalking potential candidates on LinkedIn and doing interviews.

When I’m not working on that, I’m working with the team on the projects each of them are spearheading; such as planning events, crafting new content ideas, optimising our emails and landing pages, and lots more.

Which one book would you recommend every marketer should read?

If I could only choose one, it would have to be Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

However, I also thoroughly enjoyed How Google Works and The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers.

What advice would you share with other marketers who want to become more productive?

The biggest piece of advice I can give people is to start the day by writing down the 3 top things you want to achieve. These are likely things on your to do list that seem to move from day to day because you can’t do them.

Focus on these big ticket items early in the day so when things get chaotic, you know that you’ve at least achieve the most important tasks of the day.

Connect with Ryan

You can find Ryan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The How Marketers Work series asks marketers from around the world to share their greatest productivity tips, tricks, and tools. Do you know someone who should be interviewed, or do you have specific questions you’d like to see answered? Let’s chat.

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Discover exactly which steps we take with each new project, and how you can systematize your marketing efforts.

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