As digital marketing skyrocketed in 2021, so did Apogee. We planted seeds, expanded our services, and settled in for a year of stellar brand growth.
It was a year of balance, boundaries, and the value of redundancy. We analyzed every aspect of the company and sought harmony for our team. This was the year our focus became clear. There was a vision of what we all wanted and we worked hard to not just survive the trials of pandemic life, but to flourish. Our case studies from the latter half of this year are tremendous. We implemented strategies out of our traditional comfort zone and they worked; the team and the agency have never been healthier. As we close 2021, the agency has a wonderful sense of self, of what our strengths and weaknesses are, and how to best serve our clients in 2022.
Financially, 2021 was the best year ever for Apogee. We grew at an astonishing rate in 2020 and were able to ramp up employees and services. 2021 was a big question mark as we entered the year, and while our client roster performed excellently, not all of the companies we signed could repeat their 2020 performance. We all learned lessons about setting manageable expectations. 2021 didn’t turn out as we planned—in ways both good and bad—but we are happy with how it is wrapping up. Apogee has great teams in place with open opportunities to grow our clients’ affiliate, influencer and PR channels.
Rarely in the history of this agency have we had a client truly abuse our relationship. We aim to be available not just during regular business hours, but whenever an emergency arises. The pandemic era has been a strain on that point of view, and without boundaries, Slack, Zoom, and email are easily abused. This year saw an open discussion within Apogee about boundaries and expectations, not just between us and our clients, but amongst ourselves. The result has been a gentle but firm reset of our boundaries with clients and each other. We see healthy boundaries as critical to our mission of service.
2021 showed us the value of redundancy, which allowed us to grow and flourish as a team. Staff was able to take time off as needed, change positions as needed, and work more efficiently (and with less stress) than ever before. We’ve had redundancy in place for some time now, but we thought the purpose didn’t go much beyond filling a gap left by an employee who left the team. We were pleasantly surprised by the added bonus of allowing our team to work more closely and build strong relationships with one another. This has brought an invaluable amount of peace, love, and togetherness to the Apogee family.
Education continues to be at the forefront of our strategy for 2022. As the industry evolves and marketing channels continue to blend together, the opportunities for bloggers, content creators, and social media stars continue to increase. Apogee’s team is composed of experts from every facet of the digital marketing industry, all of whom lend their expertise to help these creators grow their income as they showcase the best brands with the best practices.
We launched this year an Affiliate Resource Center. We continue to send out newsletters with content ideas, provide free-of-charge site audits, and offer one-on-one help from our dedicated affiliate managers. Apogee strives to be known as the source content creators can use to learn how to maximize every aspect of their online presence.
In my 2019 review, I discussed the future of the Apogee Insiders private Facebook group for affiliates. We had 900 members. At the close of 2021, we have nearly 1,500 members and engagement continues to grow. Lynsey runs our Apogee Live interview series and added 18 new videos this year. Most of them were 20-minute interviews with current clients, and they have all been extremely helpful to affiliates looking to learn how to better promote products. Overall activity in each of the programs featured in our videos has shown significant improvement when we introduce the people behind the brand.
Digital Marketing in 2022
The future of Apogee is a continuation of the hybrid mix of public relations, influencer marketing, and affiliate marketing. Whether you choose our preferred platforms of ShareASale, Impact, or Refersion, the affiliate marketing channel has blended with other digital channels and our clients need expert consultation from Apogee.
I’ve reviewed Skimlinks and talked about the importance of them as a partner for brand awareness and content creation. Lynsey has written about how affiliates can be chosen for sponsored campaigns and vastly expanded how we seed products. Our best new client is one that can ship a pallet of products to Lynsey and the team then works to send them immediately to partners.
We have relationships with dozens of commerce editors at major media publications and are acting as our clients’ representatives in lieu of traditional PR agencies. But we haven’t forgotten about those classic SEO-based website owners that built affiliate marketing. We still work with them daily to give them a playing field that’s as fair as possible.
As we look into the new year, we see such enormous opportunities for our clients, our partners, our team, and our agency. While 2020 was a year of unprecedented growth and uncertainty, 2021 showed us the value of working together, evolving together, and growing together. While I am not naive enough to think that 2022 will not have a few downs to go with the ups, I am confident that our team and the business we’ve built will let us all enjoy the ride.
I am incredibly proud of this agency and I hope you’ll join us, as a client, affiliate partner, or vendor, for an amazing 2022.