2020 A year in review

What a year! Where do we start?

We wanted to take some time to consider – 2020 A year in review. Who would have predicted this time last year the events that have taken place? I certainly would not. It has been like watching a movie. With so many unprecedented events, even the Oxford Dictionary has expanded it’s “Word of the year” to reflect a year like no other. 

Before we take a look back at our marketing predictions for 2020, we wanted to think back over some of the events of this year. Without question the impact and effects of COVID-19 have dominated the headlines which resulted in a national lock down in March, the Tokyo Summer Olympics being postponed and all sporting matches cancelled, amongst other things.

There has also been many rays of hope and positivity, putting the spotlight on community, kindness and determination of small businesses owners to keep going. In April, Captain Moore also walked for the NHS to celebrate his 100th birthday and raised over £39m. All NHS carers and critical workers have excelled themselves demonstrating their commitment and passion for what they do.

Turning our attention to the world of marketing, things have certainly been different. Back in January we reviewed small business marketing trends outlining the key things likely to have the biggest impact, whilst things are definitely different, some things have continued to be a focus – here is how:

1.Making it Personal

Personalisation has always been key in marketing, the more you know about your customers and how to tailor your product or service to suit their needs, the more they will engage with your brand. Digital marketing has enabled businesses and brands to become more sophisticated and targeted in being able to achieve this. 2020 has started to see the rise on hyper-personalisation – where the use of data and improvements in technology have enabled businesses to learn more about their consumers and create marketing messages that appear to target an individual rather than a group of consumers.  And during the trials of COVID-19, those businesses who have understood this and been able to pivot their business accordingly, have definitely been able to successfully continue.

2. Putting yourself first

This time last year, we were already seeing a rise in the prominence of the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace, but there is no doubt that with the impact of this year, it has catapulted this topic to centre stage. Mental wellbeing will continue to be a really important topic for both individuals and businesses, as many struggle to overcome the impacts of the pandemic. MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) England has provided huge support in this area and rolled out a range of online courses and their work in 2020 has been recognised on the UK Social Enterprise Roll of Honour 2020. (Source: MHFA England)

3. Thinking about the Environment

When everything stopped in lockdown it was beautiful. Quiet. Little traffic. No aircraft noise and many people walking or cycling everywhere. Definitely one of the big positives of recent experiences. The pandemic certainly heightened environmental awareness and if anything, people became more aware of the impacts of modern living on the environment and climates. One lovely story from the Times described how a village in the Himalayas had not seen the beautiful view, in a generation due to the extensive air pollution. Extending the environmental impact has also led to people supporting their local communities by shopping locally, buying seasonal products and supporting local businesses.

4. Service with a smile

This has been more difficult to assess and deliver against as many shops, restaurants and hospitality businesses have been closed. Those who have delivered against the idea of providing excellent customer services where possible, have prospered in the digital space and for those in person, will certainly return and flourish as a result.

5. Keep Learning

This year has provided the ideal opportunity for people to learn and build on their skills. With many being put into furlough this year it has provided the space and time to consider what they may wish to learn and to grow.

6. Transparency

Without a doubt, more and more people are looking for a connection with the businesses that they buy from.  Consumerism has gone from carefree to conscious, as consumers are more interested in who they are buying from and their principles. Understanding the why of a business and who sits behind it, has become much more important, rather than just what they are buying.  

7. Nostalgia

Of all of our predictions, this is perhaps the one that has been seen the most, through brand advertising and commercials. With many wanting to seek comfort in times past or trying to return to some sense of normality.

To conclude this crazy year it is nice to see that Giovanna Fletcher, author, CBeebies presenter and The Baby Club podcast host won “I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!“, Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse winning Strictly Come Dancing and in September David Attenborough joins Instagram, smashing all records by gaining over 1.2m followers by 4pm on the day of launch.

Phew – what a year, but some real inspirational moments despite all of the challenges that 2020 threw at us.  Here’s hoping for a peaceful January, and I think we’ll all be raising a glass to the say goodbye to 2020 on the 31stDecember. 

Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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