Feeling Like 2021 Was a Step Back from 2020? It’s Crucial to Stay Focused in 2022
by Ana Gotter • June 17, 2022
Did you feel like your 2021 year was a significant backslide compared to 2020, despite the fact that it was supposed to be a better year as things were supposed to stabilize following the disastrous fallout from COVID-19?
Tempted to pull back on marketing in 2022, especially with buzz about a potential recession?
Even if 2021 was a step back from 2020, and even if a recession comes, we want to stress that brands should not be pulling back on any marketing and sales efforts right now—even if you need to scale back in other places.
We saw firsthand what happened with businesses that plowed full steam ahead in 2020, and those that pressed pause. And in this post, we’re going to talk about what areas of your business you should invest in (even if you’re feeling gun-shy or in recovery mode) to make it one of your best years yet.
Why Some Businesses Struggled More After 2020 Than During It
The 2020 year was fairly catastrophic for almost all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Everything was put on pause in a way it never has before, and the economy— and consumer behavior— did a few somersaults.
In 2021, however, we saw more of the fallout from 2020. We were still in a period of economic downturn, even if things were recovering. Supply chain issues also caused massive delays and had significant impacts on businesses.
Then, consumers got more nervous when COVID-19 didn’t “end” and new variants emerged, all while stimulus money had stopped.
The residual effects lingered and multiplied, and they continually impacted businesses in major ways throughout 2021.
What to Invest in to Grow in 2022
Want to grow your business in 2022?
There are a few key departments where you’ll want to scale up, or at least maintain your efforts, even if your business is stalling and even if you need to withdraw funds or efforts from others.
There are three that you can never afford to scale back on: Marketing, customer service, and either product development or tech support for software products. Let’s take a look at why.
Every single business needs a strong marketing budget, even in times of crisis.
I had a handful of clients that cut their marketing budget in 2020; the ones that powered through and either kept the same budget or invested more were the ones who came out on top. More traffic, more sales, and more brand recognition.
This is true for every type of marketing. As a content marketer, I spent a year adding new content and keywords to my clients’ digital libraries.
And here at Disruptive, we helped our clients spend a year testing and optimizing multiple parts of their funnel, creating new PPC campaigns based on that information. We drove more sales and helped our clients grow their own client base.
As a note: It is hard to find good advertising agencies, but they’re worth the effort to find. Great ones can expand reach, drive clicks, and maximize your ROAS. In 2020 and 2021, we were able to help our clients squeeze every penny out of their ad spend, which is crucial during slower periods with tight budgets. Learn more about how we work here.
And the bottom line: Without new customer acquisition and dedicated customer re-engagement, you’ll never get the sales you need to get out of a slump.
Never cut back on your customer service team, or at least never reduce the tools, training, and team members needed to do their job well.
Customer service is one of the most important factors that determine where customers will decide to purchase.
One study found that 68% of customers are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer customer service expectations.
Another found that 58% of consumers said that the customer experience is a deciding factor when making buying decisions and choosing between brands.
If the customer experience declines, so will your customer base. You’ll fail to retain existing customers and convert new ones, and they’ll stop recommending you to others. It’s likely you’ll see negative reviews start popping up that prevent interested customers from purchasing.
Keep in mind that once your reputation dips, it’s hard to overcome that.
Product Development or Tech Support
Tech support is crucial for all brands (eCommerce brands need to make sure their site is in great order and that the checkout is glitch-free!), but it’s particularly important for SaaS brands.
Product development to increase your features and tech support to make sure they’re all working can be an overlapping specialty, and one to prioritize if you’re selling any kind of software.
This will help you stay ahead of the curve with new features, setting you apart from the competition, and keeping users engaged.
At minimum: Make sure that glitches and bugs aren’t an issue on an ongoing basis.
If you’re feeling like you’ve been on a downward slide ever since 2020 and potentially sinking even further in 2021, you’re not alone.
The good news is that we’ve still got more than six months left in the year to turn things around— including the high-profit holiday sales season.
To get out of the slump, though, start now. Consider investing more into your marketing, customer service, product development, and tech support departments.
For marketing, consider working with a qualified agency. We can help you create a full-funnel experience for your customers that go beyond just exceptional ads (but we can help with that, too!) so that you’re not missing a single opportunity for a sale.
Drive more sales with a stronger funnel and killer PPC campaigns. Get in touch for your free audit with Disruptive Advertising here.