Our 2021 in review and the lessons we learned

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

How was 2021 at STOICA.CO?

Before we completely leave 2021 behind, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the significant moments of the last year and the learnings that helped us grow and mature a bit more.

We kicked off the year with a long-overdue website revamp – the shoemaker has no shoes! 🙂

The website redesign was the visible part of a longer process of consolidating and redefining our mission, our value proposition, who we best serve, and how we make our clients’ lives better. We can say we continued this process throughout the entire 2021, looking at our mission and narrative from different angles and trying to refine them as much as we could.

We know today that we bring the most value to mid-sized IT companies that want to scale and drive that growth through their marketing. We help them create the right inbound strategy and build the right assets to grow long-term (a growth-driven website, educational content, conversion funnels, adopt the best-fit marketing tech stack).

2021 was also a year we focused on creating educational content for our existing and potential clients too. We launched an eBook about digital marketing trends, working with 6 marketing experts in Belgium to uncover how B2B digital marketing has evolved and what will be relevant in 2021. We created our first two webinars speaking about how to build a landing page that converts and how HubSpot can help you with generating qualified leads. And in October we had the pleasure of attending Webstock for the first time, giving a talk about why the website should be your most important marketing asset and ideas of how to level up your website.

We continued to develop our HubSpot expertise and assets, launching our HubSpot template pack in January, and our first HubSpot CMS theme in September. HubSpot CMS grew to be a robust CMS platform and with the launch of the Starter pricing package, it’s become more accessible too. We’ll continue to build assets for the HubSpot ecosystem, and we’re currently developing a second theme that will launch in January 2022.

At the beginning of the year, we launched a B2B marketers’ community on LinkedIn, with the desire to connect with other marketers and learn from each other. We had the pleasure of meeting smart people across Europe and organized 10 community events. Unfortunately at the start of autumn we run out of time and hands to run the community – but are grateful for the people we met and for the energy of being part of a community.

Behind the scenes, we continued to work on improving Brunch, a web-based app that allows you to give feedback on a live website. In June Brunch raised 250,000 EUR allowing Andrei and Razvan to continue building new features and focus on user acquisition.

And we finally managed to organize our first teambuilding in October, which we had postponed twice due to Covid restrictions. We are a remote team working from Bucharest, Timisoara, and Sibiu so it was great to gather and catch up on how we see the future – both for the agency and for each of us individually.

stoica_teambuilding

What are the lessons we take with us in 2022?

#1 Invest in building assets for the long run. Ads and other short-term tactics will only bring results as long as you invest in them – once you stop paying the results stop coming too. To grow long term you need to build for the long game – educational content that actually helps your clients in their buying journey, thought leadership type of content.

#2 Always tie your marketing efforts and assets to your clients’ needs and to your services/products. In 2021, in particular, we put a lot of effort into creating content and building visibility but didn’t always do a good job of connecting these campaigns back to our business and services.

#3 Better marketing starts with better products and services. Regardless of how creative your marketing is, or how smart your content is, if your services overpromise and underdeliver, all that effort is useless. Invest in creating a better product, improving your users’ experience, creating better processes – bad products or services beat great marketing to the punch.

#4 Take the time to speak to your clients and potential ones. It can give you such valuable insights and new perspectives. 

#5 Find your narrative – this has been probably the biggest learning and exercise for us in 2021. Defining how we view the world and how we’re helping our clients progress in that world has been a long process and we’ll probably keep on refining it. We now know that to grow long term you need to invest in building assets – your website, your educational content, learning products, not in short term tactics

#6 The team makes the dream come true. We are as strong as each of our team members. When they are happy and their vision for the future is aligned with the agency’s vision, that is when the magic happens. 

#7 And lastly, ask for help when you need it. We probably spent a good chunk of 2021 trying to do sales on our own without wanting to admit that we just don’t have enough bandwidth to do sales with the current team configuration. We also realized we need help to structure our pricing and productivize our services and this is what will focus on in the first part of 2022. So if you know a salesperson who lives and breaths consultative sales and (ideally) has an agency background, give us a shout. 

2021 has been a year full of valuable learnings and we are thankful for each as they help us grow and be a little bit better every day. 

We are STOICA.CO and we are the design, technology & value-driven marketing partners of IT companies looking to grow long-term. Do you know a company that wants to grow and move from a sales-led growth model to a marketing-led one? Tag them, we would love to meet and have a chat 🙂

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