In many ways 2021 has continued to see the challenges experienced in 2020. There were certainly some positive signs that the economy started to grow, but without a doubt there was still the underlying impact from the pandemic, alongside some inspirational small business stories of resilience. On a macro level we have started to see a number of different challenges start to emerging including: the impact of Brexit on our economy through staff shortages and disruption to our distribution networks; increased awareness that action needed to be taken to reverse climate change and mental wellbeing is proving to be an even bigger challenge than the pandemic.
Whilst these macro factors will undoubtably impact small business owners, in our review, we want to focus on those predictions we made back in December last year in our “Small Business 2021 marketing trends” and see how things have actually panned out. Whilst there are always many technical changes happening we noted that the following key points would make a big impact on small businesses:
- Personalisation of marketing would become increasingly important. This is definitely the case and as our technical abilities become greater, this will only continue to come into focus. Our customers want to be treated as individuals, not just another number in the large scale communications which are distributed.
- Digitalisation of businesses. This was absolutely true, however as we head towards 2022 the biggest challenge facing our business community is an idea of hybrid working. Many predominately larger organisations are struggling to strike the right balance between facilitating their teams to continue to work from home vs bringing them back into the office. Some organisations are starting to insist some of their teams are in the office for a set period of time per week which is causing confusion. There is the perception that “If I have worked from home over the last 18-months why must I now be in the office 3-days a week?” Leaving some teams feeling like there is a lack of trust.
- The environment. Whilst there have been many negative impacts from people working from home, there was definitely a positive impact on the environment. The recent COP summit in Glasgow saw many leaders from key countries coming together to try to reach an agreement on the required action to take.
- Growth of digital marketing. This absolutely continues to evolve and change on a daily basis and as we move into 2022 there will be more evolution anticipated with expected changes planned from Google in Q1.
- Improving content experiences. For some while content has been key for any business, but in particular for small business owners and this will continue to grow and build.
So in summary, many of the predictions we noted did come to realisation but perhaps not in the way we anticipated plus more has presented itself in what is a very complex time in history. The business environment continues to change and evolve.
So as another year of turbulence and uncertainty draws to a conclusion we look hopefully towards 2022, but as always with a healthy portion of positivity. The resilience shown by small business owners continues to inspire and amaze me.
As we head into 2022, I wish you every future success and happiness and of course if you have a marketing challenge then we would love to hear from you.