Ryan Bonnici rebrands G2 Crowd, grows his marketing team and generates major blog traffic

Ryan Bonnici G2
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Ryan Bonnici may have grown his team considerably over the past year and a half, but the name of the company he’s working for has gotten a lot shorter.

The CMO of G2, (formerly G2 Crowd) took part in a fireside chat in Toronto late last week as part of the Growth Marketing Conference, where he explained the firm — which collects reviews from real-life B2B users across many different product categories — has gone through a slight rebrand. The change has already been made on its homepage, which is now located at G2.com and also sports an updated logo in bright red.

For Bonnici, however, who joined the company after stints at HubSpot and ExactTarget, the work he’s done to staff up may have an even bigger impact on how more organizations come to know and work with G2. Having started with a team of five marketers, for example, Bonnici said he’s now working with around 65.

“It was utter hell. I wouldn’t advise it,” he joked to the audience about the hiring spree, though he added it was worth it now that he had successfully onboarded the high-quality employee he wanted. The rationale came for staffing up, meanwhile, came from the opportunity to increase its traction with other audiences.  “We were already selling a good amount of revenue to software companies. It made much more sense to focus on users and buyers.”

The marketing team at G2 now includes about 20 people focused on link-building and SEO content to attract buyers, and about the same amount focused on traditional demand gen, as well as those running events.

In an interview with B2B News Network at the time of his hiring, Bonnici had said content would be his focus, and at the Growth Marketing event he suggested the efforts were paying off. The company’s blog, for instance, only made up two per cent of G2’s traffic in late 2017. Today he said it accounts for approximately 50 per cent. He said SEO and thought leadership continue to be low-hanging fruit for many B2B firms, who don’t do it particularly well and chase new channels such as Instagram or VR instead.

“If you write a piece of content and it’s not a topic people care about, it won’t work anywhere. The creation and curation of topics is the most important (priority),” he said. “I think it’s great to get down to the basics. Take conversion-focused copywriters. I would double down on those people any day over a new channel.”

Bonnici also prefers building up internal capabilities rather than relying on agencies, which he said usually lacked enough understanding about a particular business to develop the right keyword strategy. Instead, he said he tries to create an environment that’s conducive to producing great work, even if it means doing so outside of normal hours, or away from the G2 office.

“I leave around 3 pm and then work from home. It calms me. That’s just how I work best,” he said. “Some work best where they take all of Wednesday. As leaders in growth, you can set an example for your whole company and have a great life . . . I don’t care so much how my team gets the results. It’s that they get the results.”

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.