To sign off for the year I thought I'd take a more orthodox approach and write a post on the apps which I have either found useful or have enjoyed using this year. In digital marketing it really helps to have a good toolkit to enable the quick and easy creation/digestion of content and a smartphone is an essential piece of kit. I frequently try out new apps as recommended by friends or blogs but very few warrant pride of place on my home screen - here are my top 10 for 2014 (in no particular order):


It's a constant task to keep up with the latest trends and developments in digital marketing and one way I've found works well is to subscribe to the Digital Marketing Podcast. This is a fortnightly show that I can listen to on the way to and from work in the car. By far the best podcast app I've found to do this is Overcast. There are tons of features such as smart sound to remove silences, voice boost to improve the quality of the recordings and


My favourite social media app is Instagram. No question. Therefore anything released to complement it was always going to be worth checking out. Where Hyperlapse is great is that it uses the phone's native camera to record great time lapse videos. The built in image stabilization helps shoot remarkably smooth and steady videos. It's not really a standalone app but compliments the main app nicely and we've already used it to give an overview of our Freshers Fayre or our new building at Bedford. Just make sure you have plenty of storage space on your phone as for it to look any good you need to be filming at least a 5min video!


Having just setup a short URL this little app was essential in our search and is a recent addition to this list. Available in English, this free domain search app allows you to search for top-level domestic and international domain names. It also includes the capability to share search results by email. This feature was particularly useful in compiling a list of potential URLs for us all to vote on. Domainr not only shows if a domain is available, it tells you if it is possible to register an available domain name and provides links to registrars. It also includes permalinks for established URLs to include as links to your personal blog and website.


This app is like a trusty old friend! It's a fantastic way to upload and access any file from any device at any time. Where it comes in particularly handy is in completely removing the need for any external storage devices. We have a business account which means enhanced features and some brilliant opportunities for collaboration. One feature which came in particularly handy this year was the ability to restore deleted files as with Dropbox nothing is ever truly deleted. I can't imagine the size of the server room needed to house that amount of data!

Flow for Instagram 

Yet another Instagram related app (I told you it was my favourite!) this one is iPad specific. I already spend way too much time on my phone and in front of a computer and scrolling through an Instagram feed one picture at a time can take quite a while, especially if there are an abundance of not so great photos for the day. With Flow I'm able to power through the days Instagram feed in a matter of minutes if I choose to. This is due to Flow utilising the iPads larger screen size to display more pictures at a time - a lot more. There's also great features for discovering interesting Instagrammers to follow.


Whilst having a profile on Linkedin is almost essential for any digital marketer the app itself was pretty clunky for a very long time. Having it on my phone was sort of a necessary evil. However, in the past year there have been some massive improvements meaning that this is now the one app for which I have notifications turned on. The newsfeed has been vastly improved with blog posts and updates being very easy to see and you can also update your profile from within the app. The thumbnails of those who have viewed your profile recently are now right at the top. This is a great little feature to see who has been snooping at your skillset!


This is THE app for keeping up to date with the latest news on technology, apps, mobile information, social networking and general internet-related news. The sheer amount and quality of the information makes it absolutely essential for keeping up to date. There's also a fair amount of amusing stories on there as well which demonstrates the power of both digital and social media in today's business environment. For this alone it is the most powerful news app out there with the full ability to share any articles. The prefect way to while away a long train journey (battery permitting!)

Google Maps

An old one but a good one. This has come on massively since it first launched and considering it is free cannot be bettered. In the past I had an awful experience with the much lambasted Apple maps with it telling me to make a 3-point turn on the motorway and trying to get me to go left into a hedge! This app has never let me down and the latest update which shows the road as red when there is traffic is a great feature. it also offers alternative routes and displays how much longer/shorter it will take in case you decide to go the scenic route. I really do now have no excuse to ever be late.

Barclays mobile banking

A bit of a dull one but it really does make my life so much easier! There's no better way to either check your balance or transfer money directly from the comfort of your own sofa. Although I've not used any other banking apps I'm reliably informed that this one is one of the best. Installing this also meant I could get rid of my 1970's looking PINsentry reader!The latest update even allows me to use the app to take pictures of and upload secure financial documents to Barclays’ CloudIt cloud storage feature.

FIFA 15 Ultimate Team

A fun one to finish! With all of the app games out there this one really does take some beating. Although it has no way near the quality and depth of it's console counterparts it's a really slick version which allows the possibility to create your own team and fight it out with the best other players in the world online (I can't get past division 2!) I've chosen not to buy any coins to build a team the easy way but fight to earn points to buy the best players. After a hard days marketing this is a welcome diversion and the fact you're playing on an iPad stops you getting too carried away and wasting an entire evening due to violent hand cramp setting in after about five matches!

So there you have it - my first top ten list. I'll also be tweeting out my top ten people to follow in HE marketing so have a look at my Twitter feed to see that. All that remains is for me to publicly thank my team for another fantastic year of work. I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a big one with lots of positive changes all around... Happy Christmas!
With Christmas just around the corner we took some time out of the office this week to have a full Marketing Team away day.  The venue of this was to be our lovely country estate of Putteridge Bury. After a morning of team meetings, CMS show and tell sessions and bacon rolls we used the time to reflect on some of the successes of the past year. Chief on the list was recruiting to target for the amount of student which we needed as a University. We also got the chance to share some of our ideas for the future before a very nice sandwich lunch.

After lunch the focus turned to fun where each of the team leaders (including myself) ran a team builder session. These ranged from a test of how good we are at listening (I won that one!) to a pub quiz (we won that one too) and my session which used the Logo Game to discover who was the 'mightiest marketer'. they all went really well with the icing on the cake being a Bedmas selfie competition around the grounds of Putteridge Bury (results below:)
To continue with the Christmas theme we've all been working hard to promote our forthcoming 'Festive' open evening with is taking place next week. This has meant a slightly revamped version of our campaign visuals to accommodate snowflakes! This demonstrates how we are now trying to make each of our campaign visuals a natural progression for the one that went before rather than starting from scratch each time. The benefits of this are that people will identify more clearly with our brand but also we won't burn ourselves out trying to reinvent the wheel each time!

We also spent last Monday morning putting up our decorations in the office - it was no surprise that we were the first to do this after Lauren added it to our calendars early in November. The results are great though and a cheaper more tacky collection of potential fire hazards you will not find!
Another job which we've been meaning to get around to for ages is setting up a short URL. This is something we've had in the past but it was a bit of clunky system and presented us with slightly inaccurate statistics. Basically, this short URL allows us to track our print campaigns separately and is used in our prospectuses. There's also the added bonus of being able to use this for any online campaigns - particularly social media for consistency.

Domainr is a great little tool and it's easy
to spend hours on there testing out URLs
The first (and longest!) step was to brainstorm a URL using Domainr. This is a great tool for generating short URLs and unfortunately .ds is not a suffix so we couldn't have ( was an option though!) Eventually, and after a long deliberation in the team, we settled for so expect to see that everywhere soon. It was then a case of purchasing it, setting up a bitly account, linking the two together via DNS and adding some Google analytics code to our website. To do this I used Tsohost as they've always offered a good service and have excellent customer support. Now starts the job of going in and setting up over 200 trackable shorteners for our prospectus!

For my last blog post of 2014 I plan to start looking back a bit at the year just gone and some of the great products and digital marketing advice that have made my life a bit easier. I may even turn this into a proper blog and start with some charts such as my top 5 apps or the best people to follow on Twitter of 2014. Watch this space!
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