It's a wrap - your end of year marketing round-up
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
And we all thought 2021 was going to be the year we returned to normality. Oops! The first quarter was far from it, and a bit of blur. The middle was an all-time high: freedom, sunshine and holidays, and an award win. And then back to more uncertainty….
This was the year where I was going to become more efficient, focused and organised. Then something happened, namely Covid-19, lockdown 3 and the dreaded ‘h’ (home-schooling) - definitely the lowest point of the year!
That said, Sharp Thinking has had a bumper 2021, winning seven new clients and delivering seven marketing strategies and plans and scooping our first business award. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve despite the craziness surrounding us.
Here are some of the highlights, learnings and things of note from the roller-coaster of a year that 2021 has been:
Persistence pays off
This year solidified that fact like no other. We were able to achieve unprecedented results; doubling website traffic and enquiries for a client, and all achieved within a year of implementing a new marketing strategy. What has been key is implementing marketing performance meetings and bringing together sales and marketing data to devise key learnings month-to-month. Learn more in my blog how to measure marketing performance.
Persistence got us through a lot this year – the dreaded ‘h’ word included.
The Brexit fallout
The impact of Brexit has been huge! There's been raw material shortages and severe staff shortages. It's harder than ever to recruit and retain good people. This year saw us work on our first staff recruitment campaign, helping advise on job ads, job descriptions and general messaging.
Sink or swim on social
Social media engagement has also become harder than ever. LinkedIn may have seen an increase in usage, but in general, I've seen a rationalisation of social media channels. Ultimately, it can drain resources, so focusing on just one social media channel rather than having a presence everywhere seems to be the way to go. Read my blog how to win on social media as a small business.
This was one of the hot topics of the year with COP26 taking place. Small businesses are keener than ever to reduce their carbon emissions, become more sustainable and achieve net-zero status, but they need support and smart policies to help them get there.
The British Business Bank has estimated that smaller businesses account for a third of all current UK greenhouse gas emissions and 50% of total emissions from UK businesses. But only 36% have a formal plan in place to combat climate change! And research by the IOD confirmed that only 16% of its members had set a date to reach net zero. Supply chains are being audited and it is forcing businesses to rethink. Does your business have a sustainability policy? If not, this is definitely one to prioritise in January and assign resource to tackle it.
A lack of referrals
I’ve seen a lot of businesses needing more help with their marketing this year. Businesses that relied on referrals and events have had their leads dry up and needed to invest in new proactive marketing. The sales process looks very different in a post-pandemic world. There’s no reliance on face-to-face and instead, there's a need to create and deliver virtual experiences and invest in new marketing assets to aid the buyer journey.
In the press
We’ve seen some excellent PR this year thanks to my talented colleagues at Carnsight Communications including giving my marketing tips on FSB First Voice Magazine, Tech Round, locally in print, as well for the first time with Times of Tunbridge Wells, Style, Town Crier and Index. Always think ahead of any interesting company or team news that could generate press coverage, even if you haven't exploited PR before.
I couldn't have achieved such a successful year without the help of many people, in particular Steve Hollidge, who some of you have been fortunate to speak to. Steve is a real business-to-business specialist with 25 years blue chip marketing experience and this year he decided to expand his knowledge further by studying for his MBA and came out with an A. Congratulations Steve and thank you for all of your support!
2021 was filled with up and downs (plenty of them!) I learnt a lot and will take those learnings into 2022 with pride and determination.
Next year will be all about efficiency, streamlining and automation. It’s time to practice what I preach. I will be focusing on reducing manual tasks and embracing technology.
I’m thrilled to say that we’re already starting the year with 2 new clients with exciting businesses and so much potential. I can’t wait to see what next year brings. My clients have moved away from being reactive and relying on crisis management and started to think about the long-term future of their business and achieving growth and increasing profits.
Thank you to everyone for your support this year! I’m always here if you need advice and would like a coach to hold you accountable every month.
Have a wonderful Christmas and break and here is to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2022!