As should become tradition every year, it’s time to reflect on the last 12 months, highlighting the good, bad and pivotal points.
The year started with the final stages of Free Tunes for Christmas – a seasonal music site offering a free dance track for the 12 days of Christmas. Amongst the targeted audience, this was a huge success proving the age old tradition that free giveaways are a desirable product. One element of the project I didn’t factor for was the amount of time and resources required to compile the content. Oliver Ker did a fantastic job on design and build of the site but the hardest part was confirming musical partners and scheduling releases in a timely manner. If I ever run the campaign again, this will definitely be an area I’ll allow more time.
Professionally, I’ve achieved a significant number of milestones at Premium Choice, unfortunately more prominent internally.
I’ve led development of a powerful CRM tool having introduced an Agile project lifecycle, adapting to the rapid growth and changes of business requirements. We have received much praise from the board and staff, even external partners for the business intelligence the application delivers so the project has been a massive success for the company and I have taken great pride from it too.
I’ve also managed the development of our Buy Online strategy, tailoring the user journey from price comparison sites to final purchase. This has been addressed in a phased approach to ensure we focus on fundamental processes in manageable chunks. All partners involved admire the work and effort gone into the first phase so it bodes well for the next.
We also introduced the first stage of our niche mini-site strategy by creating and delivering a tailored site for motor trade insurance. Whilst it’s still early days to thoroughly evaluate performance, first impressions are good and all partners feel confident the strategy will be an effective approach for the business.
Towards the end of the Summer, I teamed up with Daniel Newns and launched another spin-off sport calendar app for the Rugby World Cup in South Africa. With less commercial appeal than the football world cup, I wasn’t expecting record traffic but it scratched an itch, especially when I live in the home of rugby football, and certainly proved popular amongst the fans of the game.
In November, I teamed up with Sam Hardacre and Anthony Killeen to build Tweets for Balls – a digital fundraising campaign for testicular cancer. We piggybacked available tools such as Giv2.it, Just Giving and Twitter to raise awareness and money for cancer research, followed by endless multi-channel promotion throughout the month. On hindsight, it wasn’t a great idea to compete with the popular Movember campaign as we struggled to reach our goal of Â£1,000 but it was still a good opportunity to work with some people I’ve admired for years as well as create something charitable. I’m keen to try again next year but focus more on marketing and viral campaigns now the foundations are set.
Tweets for Balls was also an ideal opportunity to venture into public speaking. When I co-found Midlands creative network The Multipack way back in 2005, I’ve always been keen to leverage (sorry!) the platform by building my confidence and find my voice. When we held a Show & Tell in November at Birmingham Science Park, it felt like my calling to give it a try. It was by no means groundbreaking but I’m glad I tried and feedback wasn’t negative. Read what you will into that but I’m taking light in it.
Throughout the year, I’ve continued to produce, broadcast and syndicate my house music mix show Funky House Finesse. It’s built quite a loyal fan base over the past 6 years so the biggest highlight for me was reaching the milestone of 800 Facebook fans in October. That count is continually growing so maybe – just maybe – we’ll reach 1,000 in 2012.
Anyone who knows me should also know I’m an avid Twitter user. Several years ago, I registered the @derbycounty account to accompany my Super Rams fan site. It didn’t get much use but follower counts increased with the popularity of Twitter. Earlier this year, I asked fellow Ram Franca Hood if she wanted to live commentate from the matches which she jumped at. And, didn’t she do well. It wasn’t long before 3,000 more followed and this continues to grow. I really feel there is a tangible opportunity with this model, giving committed fans a platform to engage with real people with similar passions.
All in all, 2011 has been quite a successful year. I’ve accomplished a number of personal goals but equally seen some less successful moments. As always, I’ll take note from those errors to find ways to improve but I’ve got a good feeling about 2012. Here’s hoping.