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Jan. 11, 2021

2020: A Breakthrough Year

TO: VanNoppen Marketing partners

DATE: January 11, 2021

RE: 2020 Recap

For the purposes of this letter, we will dispense with the 2020 disruptive electoral turmoil and its profound change to our lives and businesses. Instead, we’ll begin with a simple Thank You for your trust, support and engagement. Please know that moving into 2021 our dedication to providing quality service and products remains steadfast.

Despite COVID-19, 2020 was a breakthrough year for VanNoppen Marketing, as it was for many of our clients, some of whom expressed astonishment at the breadth of their business success during the 12-month roller coaster ride. The year was relentless in its unpredictable, many-faceted complexities. Like you and other successful enterprises, we grew stronger and smarter. We expanded our strategic marketing expertise, increased our client base, and evolved a progressive marketing infrastructure to carry forward.

We are prepared for 2021. No doubt, it too will bring challenges that are as unforeseen as they are unique. It is also VanNoppen Marketing’s 20th Anniversary. Since 2001 we have been continuous providers of successful marketing solutions for clients large and small. We have celebrations and recognitions planned for later in the year when Social Distancing permits. More on that later. First, a recap of 2020.

The year started with justified optimism and confidence. We saw it across all industry sectors. The previous year was the best in our history. In our 2019 Year End letter we wrote, “Looking ahead, we expect 2020 to be another year of growth. ... We are excited about … the opportunities on the horizon.”

Out of the blue, COVID-19. By mid-March, optimism was smothered by global shutdowns and quarantines. Stores shuttered. Streets emptied. Wall Street tanked. Toilet paper became a new currency of sorts. Zoom became a verb. It had its own vernacular. Welcome to the COVID Economy.

Businesses that had not embraced the digital world did so in a hurry. To help them, we created a successful bundled marketing package of scalable and integrated social and digital marketing tools and eCommerce solutions enabling our clients to remain in front of stay-at-home consumers and generate online sales.

By summer COVID Fatigue, coupled with COVID Relief, was propelling consumer activity beyond expectations. VanNoppen Marketing’s roster of marketing assignments grew impressively. We closed 2020 with record performance and sales 62% ahead of 2019. Some year-end results over 2019:

Digital and Social Marketing - 85% increase

Graphic Design - 15% increase

Public Relations (traditional and internet) 369% increase

Website Development - 31% increase

Marketing Strategy and Implementation - 202% increase

Printing and Reproduction - 139% increase

Throughout the year we maintained our commitment to give back to the community and partnered with institutions critical to preserving the quality of our region. A great example is our collaboration with Western Piedmont Community College and its “Reboot, Recover, Rebuild” program that provided marketing assistance to local businesses affected by COVID-19. The program was offered by the school's Small Business Center and we provided expertise and products to boost business and consumer awareness.

So what’s ahead? For starters, during the first quarter we’ll move into a new office that has been in design and construction for nearly two years. Our new office is in a 100-year-old historic commercial building in downtown Morganton that is being responsibly renovated.

We engaged commercial interior designers and specifiers recommended by some of our clients to create an environment that is forward-thinking, clean, modern and scalable. Think giant walls of glass, mezzanines, pressed tin ceilings and beautifully restored hardwoods. Ever heard of a Contemplation Center? You will. We'll host an Open House to celebrate our 20th Anniversary and the new office as soon as Social Distancing permits.

Hand in hand with our 20th Anniversary and new office, by midyear we will complete our business succession plan. For a year and a half we have worked closely with business strategy consultants from the SBA, the UNC system, and legal and financial entities. Collectively, they performed a transparent deep-dive audit into VanNoppen Marketing’s history, processes and practices, people, financials, short- and long-term goals to develop a blueprint to transfer of company ownership from founder Allen VanNoppen to Nancy VanNoppen, Creative Director, and Jean VanNoppen, Operations Director.

As we enter 2021, we reaffirm the guiding principles that have carried us for 19 successful years:

In closing, and personally, I thank our teammates. I wish you could see them in action, behind the scenes, like I do. I wish that you could experience their passion, commitment, capabilities, character, wisdom and gumption. They are an impressive group of young professionals, dedicated to their craft, their community and to you. It is no coincidence that our consecutive years of positive growth have been under their watch. I would put them collectively and individually up against anyone, anywhere, anytime. I am very proud indeed to be their partner.

We know that we have to earn every single day the trust and respect of our clients, our teammates, our partners, and the communities we serve. Rest assured that we are devoted to doing this.

With deep gratitude,

Allen VanNoppen

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