One of the godfathers of marketing, Peter Drucker, once said: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Since Covid, businesses have heard it all when it comes to reasons to feel cautious, but one thing remains true amongst those who thrive – in the question of sink or swim, they are the ones who choose to swim.
As an SME ourselves, we practise what we preach. We know the challenges that go with business, that marketing, and more specifically digital marketing isn’t a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘need to have’, and it also needs to have a clear ROI in order to justify its presence on the balance sheet.
That mindset is even more important in the context of a challenging economy, but where others might think a difficult economy is cause to wince, we know that with the right tools, these are the conditions where people can truly win big – attracting and nurturing long-term, loyal relationships with customers that will pay dividends time and again.
What qualifies us to say this? Unity Online has not only delivered growth for our clients over the four years described as some of the most commercially challenging in the last 20, but we have also grown ourselves.
That growth is fuelled by truly understanding and delivering on the power of technology and digital marketing. By that we mean powerful tools including data and insights that allow us to better understand the industry we are in and exploit our talents through evidence-based actions and marketing.
From a client perspective we challenge ourselves to deliver as if their company were our own. For example, our team helped one business record an eightfold increase in online enquiries, and another a 3,800% monthly return on their investment. Many of our local clients are now trading around the world, building a strong presence in new and emerging markets globally, all through digital marketing. That’s game changing, giving businesses the revenue to build on growth by reinvesting in infrastructure and rewarding their people.
Our own growth, and the increase in revenue that comes with it, has allowed us to invest more in our staff as a priority. In the last few years we’ve doubled our team and moved premises to accommodate them. Our internal training strategies are now allowing new starters to reach account manager level in just six months, while others have grown with us from entry level staff to heads of department in a comparatively short space of time.
Galvanising those achievements, were a number of award wins and nominations in 2023. For example, we were shortlisted for the CIPR PRide Award for Best Channel Delivery spotlighting our excellence in solar shading. The UK Dev Awards recognised us for Best Site Migration, B2B Website of the Year, and Employer of the Year in the Large category. We were also named finalists in the Digital Excellence Awards for Integrated Digital Agency of the Year, and were recognised in the Best Employers Award in the Eastern Region (that one we’re especially proud of).
While the accolades are fantastic to receive, we believe that you’re only as good as your next achievement. Knowing that no one should ever sit on their laurels or glory too long in past successes, we have begun 2024 as we mean to go on. Having welcomed Nathan to the Paid Search Team, Fin and Marshall as Sales Development Representatives, Rob as Business Development Manager and Anna as Web Designer last year, January began with four new staff members including SEO Consultants, Clarissa and Amelia; Sales Development Representative, Justin; and Business Development Manager, Jacob. With them they bring more skills, more talent and more perspectives to our already talented and valuable team. That way, we not only deliver more, but we continue to learn, evolve and add greater value for our clients. We also unveiled a strategic rebranding last year that reflects the journey we have been on to date, our ambitions as we go forward, and which we will now continue to build upon.
Ever grateful for our own achievements and those we are able to contribute to for our clients, we never forget that wherever our aspirations take us, we are a company grounded by strong local Suffolk roots. We seek to honour that by giving back to the community that fostered us, particularly through our work with the charity, Suffolk Mind for whom we raised over £3,000 last year.
As we look forward to new targets, new challenges and new innovations this year, we understand that many businesses have begun with an understandable degree of trepidation.
However, this is offset by a hunger to push past the negative messaging of the news and be part of the 5.5 million-strong British SME sector that forms the backbone of the economy. By embracing and harnessing the ever-evolving digital landscape we’ve not only weathered storms but emerged stronger, and it’s that mindset, energy and practical knowledge that we seek to leverage for ambitious businesses seeking to elevate their marketing efforts.
We are not afraid to recalibrate in line with fluctuating markets – in fact, being able to do so has ensured our own success and that of our clients. After all, the mission is in our motto – we leave no business behind online.