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SmartBug Media® Named a Q4 Winner in HubSpot’s 2022 Impact Awards

February 15, 2023

Digital Agency Recognized in the Platform Excellence Category for Developing a Creative Inbound Approach to Increase MQLs at an In-Person Event


IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 14, 2023 — SmartBug Media® — a leading digital agency that assists B2B businesses, B2C organizations and D2C e-commerce businesses in growing revenue by generating leads, scaling revenue operations and building market awareness through inbound marketing, digital strategy, design, marketing automation, revenue operations, public relations, paid media and web development — today announced that it was named a winner in the Platform Excellence category in HubSpot’s Q4 2022 Impact Awards. HubSpot, a leading customer relationship management platform for scaling companies, uses the award to recognize members of its Solutions Partner Program who go above and beyond to help their customers grow better.

SmartBug® received this Impact Award for its work with Ashling Partners, one of the largest intelligent automation (IA) service providers in North America. The company approached SmartBug for strategies to help it increase marketing qualified lead (MQL) numbers at the FORWARD 5 Conference, one of the largest gatherings in the automation industry. After last year’s leads had fallen below expectations, the company wanted an innovative strategy to turn that around, make a mark on the conference and contribute to its MQL goal for the second half of 2022. In order to help Ashling Partners achieve these goals, SmartBug implemented a strategy that used a “digital overlay” that incorporated QR codes and HubSpot landing pages in ways that went far beyond the outdated “business cards in a fishbowl” approach. 

According to Ashling Partners Director of Marketing Alexandra Runjo, this strategy was particularly appealing because “having a digital aspect to an in-person event would facilitate strong email delivery and engagement rates after the event concluded.”

The implementation centered on an interactive experience called Automation Around the World, during which attendees had to check in at different Ashling Partners events by scanning a QR code for a chance to win a trip to the Caribbean. After scanning the code, they were taken to a HubSpot landing page, put into a workflow to track the number of check-ins, and given an opportunity to “upgrade to first class” by signing up for a personalized demo of Ashling Partners’ tools and skills after the event. 

“This type of creative, results-oriented digital strategy is central to who we are at SmartBug,” SmartBug CEO Jen Spencer said. “It is an excellent example of how our team uses their expertise in both digital marketing and HubSpot to create customized strategies that help our clients meet their revenue goals.” 

With the digital strategy in place, Ashling Partners had one of its busiest conferences and exceeded its goals. Notable achievements, which can be viewed in more detail in SmartBug’s Ashling Partners case study, include:

  • Ashling Partners gained 183 new MQLs from the conference.
  • 89 people stopped by the Ashling Partners main booth and scanned in or provided their contact information through a participant badge scan.
  • 18 people “upgraded to first class” by requesting a personalized demo after the event.
  • 164 people checked into Ashling Partners’ off-site event, PALOOZA, on the first night of the conference.

“HubSpot and our solutions partners are committed to the same goal: helping millions of companies grow better. This shared mission is what drives partners like SmartBug to bring the best experiences to our shared customers,” Brian Garvey, VP of the Solutions Partner Program at HubSpot, said. “SmartBug has done incredible work supporting the success of their customers using innovative digital marketing strategies. On behalf of everyone at HubSpot, I want to congratulate their team and the other Impact Award winners on this amazing achievement.”

The Impact Awards are given on a quarterly basis in four categories:

  • Product Excellence
  • Platform Excellence
  • Technical Expertise
  • Platform Migration Excellence

In addition to the quarterly awards, HubSpot also gives five annual awards that recognize partner achievements across the entire year: Global Partner of the Year, Partner of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Customer First, and the global diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging HEART award. All winners are recognized in the Impact Awards Hall of Fame.


Learn more about the Impact Awards and apply here.



SmartBug Media® is a globally recognized digital marketing agency assisting B2B businesses, B2C organizations and D2C e-commerce businesses in growing revenue by generating leads, scaling revenue operations and building market awareness through inbound marketing, digital strategy, marketing automation, revenue operations, email marketing, paid media, public relations and web development.

As HubSpot’s 2021 North America Partner of the Year, SmartBug® is one of its top-performing, elite global solutions partners as well as an Elite Master partner of Klaviyo. 

Founded in 2008 as one of the few fully remote agencies, SmartBug is an innovator and trusted authority on creating life-work harmony for its 180-plus employees spread across 38 states and six countries. The company that implemented quarterly Certification Days to foster continuous learning and career development has won two Great Place to Work® awards and more than 30 Comparably awards. It has also been named to the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies list for six consecutive years and the Adweek Fastest Growing Agencies list four years in a row. With hundreds of awards for client work — and a team holding a combined 1,000-plus 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: 

Katie Quaranta, PR Manager
SmartBug Media