Selling ourselves short

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 www.be.ds (www.be.dz was an option though!) Eventually, and after a long deliberation in the team, we settled for unibeds.info 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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