It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since I set up Zync Digital. If I’m being totally honest, I had absolutely no idea where it would take me. All I knew, was that I wanted to put what I knew how to do - digital marketing - with who I wanted to help - credit unions and social enterprises.
Looking back, I had no designs to manage staff (and didn’t know how to either!), and now we’ve grown to a team of 6, I thought this might be a good time to look back on how far we’ve come in the past 5 years, and share some thoughts about what’s coming for digital marketing in the next 5.
5 things I’ve learned in the past 5 years:
1) Distinguish yourself and your business
Knowing who your audience is and how to communicate with them is a crucial element of marketing. Being able to set yourself apart from the competition - as an organisation that knows and understands the needs of your customers or clients, was the first thing that really struck me.
2) Harness a Positive Culture
When it came to hiring our first staff member in 2019, it made me think about the type of workplace I wanted it to be. I knew all the good things that I looked for in an employer, and the bad things even moreso! I strived to put things in place to make people see Zync Digital as somewhere that take care of its’ employees, with plenty of room to grow.
3) Do what you do best, and delegate the rest
One of the best lessons I’ve learnt is to try not to do everything as a business owner. Instead, surround yourself with a diverse and talented group of people, try to learn from them as much as possible, and allow them the room and space to flourish.
Network as much as possible
4) The value of networking really can’t be understated
When COVID-19 stopped people from socialising in person - it wasn’t clear how we were going to navigate managing all of our clients and partners at that time. Luckily, with Zoom, Teams, and lots of others, we’ve been able to maintain those relationships and even improve them in various ways. Having said that - you can’t quite replicate in-person events, something we’re looking forward to for the rest of 2023!
5) Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses
Over the past five years, there’s been a global pandemic and an impending cost of living crisis. If that teaches us nothing else, it’s that not many things are a sure thing, and to be easy on yourself and your business. Make sure to take stock when things are going well, and to try to learn when you get a setback.
And some predictions for the next 5 years:
Artificial intelligence apps like ChatGPT and NightCafe have dominated the news in recent months, as they continue to develop at a mind-boggling pace, able to complete almost any task with just a simple prompt. It’d be silly to ignore this kind of capability - and it’s definitely going to change the world of marketing in the future.
2) Tiktok continues to dominate
Last year, TikTok was the most visited website in the world (even more than Google!). The fast-paced video platform continues to set the tone for social media platforms, with Twitter and Instagram both moving to replicate various elements. This won’t be a surprise, but it’s very likely that TikTok will continue to dominate for this year and beyond.
3) Provide value or risk being ignored
Online channels are more saturated than ever, and consumers need to be provided with value if they’re going to continue to follow and engage with your content. Always make sure your content provides at least one of the following things: entertainment, education, inspiration or information. That way, you know your audience will come back to your posts, again and again.
4) Social enterprises are key
Younger generations, especially Gen Z, look favourably on organisations that place emphasis on social impact. With the cost of living and climate crises looming large, social enterprises are only going to grow in importance, showing the rest of the economy that business can be done properly, whilst having a beneficial impact on society.
5) Employee and Influencer Advocacy
People always trust people best - and that’s never been truer than in marketing. The rise of the creator economy on TikTok for example, shows that people will always tend to believe individuals over companies. Leveraging your own employees to advocate for your organisation is more crucial than ever.
A quick note to thank all of our partners in the credit union and social enterprise sectors, as well as our supporters from 2018 to today. Stay tuned for some really exciting things coming this year!
Thanks for reading! Let me know your predictions for 2023 and beyond.