2020, what a year to say the least. Starting in March we saw a pandemic unfold like no other, resulting in businesses being shuttered, the beginning of distance-learning, and continuous at-home boredom becoming our new way of life. However, we also saw people and businesses get creative. While our children and teachers adapted to online schooling, 88% of the organizations, worldwide, made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home.
As the months went on, however, many businesses unfortunately suffered, especially small businesses. For those that remained open and running, it was noted back in September, small business revenue was down 20 percent since January. The changes that businesses were forced to face and the hit to our economy started to trickle down and, here at AIM, we didn’t experience 2020 unscathed.
The affiliate marketing industry found itself under intense pressure with many affiliate programs getting cut and commission rates being slashed to save on marketing budgets. It was time now for affiliate marketers, AIM included, to become flexible and adapt.
No doubt, the theme of 2020 was flexibility. No matter who you were, you found yourself adapting to some new hurdle and it’s something that all humankind did together. The ingenious marketing ads, the thoughtful car parades, the innovative ideas to push through, and the remarkable resilience we all showed.
With that said, let me take you on AIM’s own journey through 2020 and highlight some of the good we saw.
The AIM Culture
There, of course, were many changes that had to be implemented in order for us to ride this out, but with our “all-in-it-together” mentality, every AIM-er was on board and willing to get through this rough spot. The times that our at-home situations needed to take priority, there was understanding and sympathy. When we found ourselves lost in the new strategies, there was support and assistance.
Our team rose above the hardships together and for that, we are now stronger together.
Something interesting we saw was that the impact of the pandemic wasn’t one-size-fits-all. While some verticals, like travel, were negatively impacted, some actually saw opportunities to grow.
The fact that so many people were at home meant that more people were spending their time and money online. This meant that businesses who switched their focus to eCommerce and affiliate partners saw an increase in demand.
B2B partner marketing had not been a specific focus of AIM, but we saw increasing opportunities to support brands in this vertical. We welcomed some exciting names last year, and as our B2B practice has strengthened, our team has grown, and we see exciting opportunities ahead.
AIM Joins the Vision7 Family
One major milestone that we were happy to announce last year was that AIM was joining Vision7 and their extensive portfolio of media brands.
This partnership meant that we were able to continue our growth and expand our reach via a global network, solidifying our place in the performance marketing industry.
“One of the standout things about AIM is the recognition and respect it has garnered in the industry as an agency that places excellence at the heart of everything it does. AIM has quickly become a world-class leader in global affiliate program management, thanks in large part to that commitment to excellence in service, partnerships, and quality. Furthermore, they have done so while building an incredibly innovative remote working model, which is so relevant in today’s climate.” – Joseph Leon, Vision7’s CEO, Media & Performance
You can read more about this acquisition here.
Virtual Conferences and Ceremonies
Something we all became accustomed to was virtual meetups. As a company that has always been remote, Zoom calls were nothing new. However, in 2020, we saw everything virtually. Birthdays, happy, hours, weekly meetings, concerts, global conferences – you name it, it was virtual.
Thanks to technology, our world continued to turn and we were not only lucky enough to increase our knowledge in our field, but our CEO, Sarah Bundy, was able to continue her work as an expert speaker at conferences such as Affiliate Summit West, and PI Live; just as she has done in prior years.
We were thrilled to win a PMA for ‘Best Travel, Leisure & Lifestyle Campaign’ category with their Extended Stay America campaign (Growing Travel Affiliate Program During Global Pandemic). A huge high point for us and something we will always look back fondly and proudly on when we think of 2020.
New Holiday Season
This past holiday season was definitely different than we’d seen before, so we continued to adapt. Some of our clients’ strongest promotions this season involved inventive gift guides, earlier promotions, clear shipping cut-offs, and in-store or curbside pickup options.
Our Q4 was as busy as ever as we looked at consumer behavior and did our best to predict how a never-before-seen holiday season would play out. In the end, many of our clients saw an increase in revenue during the 2020 Holiday Season and overall strong performance.
The real truth is that some of the challenges we faced in 2020 aren’t fully behind us. Today we continue to navigate the pandemic and the uncertainty it brings, but with an appreciation for what we’ve been able to accomplish and a sense of hope and excitement about what lies ahead.
A big thank you to all who went on this journey with us and cheers to a bright 2021!