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Founder of SmartBug Media®, Ryan Malone, Nominated for Orange County Business Journal’s 2020 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards

January 30, 2020

Malone Embraced Remote Work and Has Led His Uniquely Successful Marketing Agency Through Rapid Growth, Earning Hundreds of Prestigious Honors and Awards 

IRVINE, Calif., January 30, 2020—SmartBug Media®—a leading Intelligent Inbound® marketing agency that assists businesses in generating leads, increasing awareness, and building brand loyalty through inbound marketing, digital strategy, design, marketing automation, and public relations—today announced that its founder and CEO, Ryan Malone, has been nominated for the Orange County Business Journal’s (OCBJ) 2020 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards. This honor follows on the heels of Malone being named one of the country’s Best CEOs by Comparably last month.

According to the OCBJ, its Excellence in Entrepreneurship (EIE) Awards “recognize individuals who exemplify the American entrepreneurial spirit—individuals who, by their creativity and determination, have established and nurtured successful business ventures. This is the perfect opportunity to recognize clients or business associates who have distinguished themselves by their foresight, determination and accomplishments.”

Malone embodies these qualities as the leader of SmartBug Media, one of the few fully remote marketing agencies in the country. In the 11 years since its founding, Malone has nurtured the company through rapid growth, employing more than 80 professionals, becoming one of the most successful globally recognized marketing agencies, and winning hundreds of prestigious honors and awards.

In 2019, SmartBug® was named to the Inc. 5000 list for the third year in a row. The company was also named to the inaugural Adweek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies List and has won a number of Great Place to Work® awards. In addition, SmartBug has earned 12 Comparably awards in the following categories: Best Work-Life Balance, Best Place to Work in Los Angeles (twice), Best CEOs for Women (twice), Best Managers, Best CEOs in Los Angeles, Happiest Employees, and Best CEOs in the United States (twice). On the client side, SmartBug’s work has been recognized by hundreds of awards, including more than 150 MarCom Awards in the past two years alone.

“I am honored to be considered as one of Orange County’s accomplished and creative entrepreneurs,” says Ryan Malone, founder and CEO of SmartBug Media. “Our continued success proves it is possible to do outstanding work and provide employees with challenging careers, along with the flexibility to spend more quality time and make lifelong memories with their families.”

While operating out of Irvine, Calif., SmartBug remains committed to a fully remote model that allows every employee to work from their home office. It has enabled the company to recruit people who are passionate about their jobs and committed to the zest of their lives, resulting in a high-retention business. It has also eliminated geographic constraints, allowing SmartBug to hire the best people for the job, regardless of location. The model has been wildly successful, earning a record 333 five-star customer ratings, making SmartBug the highest-rated HubSpot partner in the world.

Giving back to the local business community is also important to Malone, who was appointed an Industry Fellow at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Paul Merage School of Business’ Center for Digital Transformation in 2018. Malone, an alumnus of UCI’s prestigious MBA program, returned to his alma mater as an advisor to share his marketing expertise, help grow the Center’s digital presence, and advise on digital marketing strategies. 

In addition to this EIE nomination, Malone was nominated to the OCBJ’s 2019 Innovators of the Year Awards, and his company has been named to OCBJ’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies List twice after experiencing a three-year revenue growth rate of 192 percent. In addition, SmartBug grew from 55 to 80 employees in 2019, quickly scaling to meet the needs of its rapidly growing roster of more than 100 clients. 

About SmartBug Media

SmartBug Media is a globally recognized Intelligent Inbound marketing agency assisting businesses in growing revenue by generating leads, increasing brand awareness, and building customer loyalty through content marketing, sales enablement, web development, marketing automation, and public relations.

As HubSpot’s 2018 Global Partner of the Year, SmartBug is the highest-rated HubSpot partner in the world. The company has not only been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies three years in a row, but it has also been named to the Adweek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies list, and has won a number of Great Place to Work and Comparably awards. With hundreds of awards for client work—and a team holding a combined 550 marketing certifications—SmartBug is fully dedicated to delivering client success and an unparalleled agency experience. For more information about SmartBug Media, visit

For SmartBug Media Inquiries, Contact: 

Jennifer Tolkachev
SmartBug Media 
949-236-6448 x865