Peter Watson – Lockdown has been a rollercoaster

Lincoln-based digital marketing agency Distract’s 2020 has been as eventful as everyone else’s but as their Managing Director, Peter Watson explains, it’s been a particularly busy one for them.

“When we entered 2020, nobody thought that we’d be where we are now. That might be to state the absolute obvious, but here we are.

As usual, our thoughts were on improving on what we had, developing campaigns with established clients, welcoming new ones and perhaps one of our highlights of the year, attending events across the country both speaking and exhibiting. This year was also going to be one of the first times I’d been asked to speak overseas.

COVID-19 has been one of the most shocking and divisive events in our lifetimes and although you might be sick of hearing that, it remains the case and will probably overshadow our lives for a very long time. At first, we continued as usual, but as time has moved on, we have done what everyone needs to do to survive, and that’s adapt.

We’ve talked ad infinitum about our switch to remote working and that’s worked while we’ve been locked down. However, as I welcomed my staff back in an optional return to our offices last week, it made me realise that I’ve missed being surrounded by creativity and the company of like-minded professionals.

It’s not that we haven’t been busy during this time, far from it. In the four months where we’ve been restricted, we’ve been named as one of the 100 best startups for the second time and to me, that’s an incredible achievement.

We sometimes look back on what we’ve achieved in just a few years and it’s amazing. This list is really something to be proud of. Many of the past startups named in this list have gone on to become household names.

The time afforded to us by lockdown measures has also given us time to reflect on our involvement in the region. I’ve been lucky enough to be introduced to the East Midlands Institute of Directors in the past few years and I’ve been absolutely honoured to be recently named as their Regional Ambassador for Marketing and Communications.

I can’t wait to be involved in decisions that will shape the region’s future prospects. Although clients are remaining cautious at the moment, and they have every right to be, I believe that now is the time to review and look ahead when it comes to marketing your business.

There are painful times ahead but financially-turbulent times often evoke the most interesting responses from businesses. It can really be fight or flight responses to crises that shape the future. There’s going to be some brilliant and some not-so-brilliant moves made soon, where and how they are made is going to be the interesting thing to observe.

Myself and my team are also participating in the third annual Lincolnshire Marketing Conference, which is being taken online this year to try and sidestep those restrictions which are hitting events. I hope some of you can attend, it would certainly be good to see a few familiar faces.

It may have been a difficult 2020 for all of us, but we should all start feeling hopeful and excited again.”