More to a book than the front cover

When non-marketers think of marketing, they often think of and refer to visual advertising opposed to the strategic profession which is marketing.

Marketing is the process of going to market. Wikipedia describes marketing as the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.

This involves the strategic, economic and global analysis prior to launching a product, through to the reflection and evaluation to develop and continue to meet the business needs.

Marketing involves calculation, data collection and analysis, long term strategic planning and milestones to measure the entire process.

A marketing campaign is not a one off event that happens after resource and time is thrown at it. A marketing campaign is a short term

I have similar views with regards to event management, web development, graphic design and other creative industries.

I have completed two undergraduate degrees- one in Event Management and the other in Web Design. I find the concept and ignorance of some people who assume they are experts because they can do the smallest chunk is an insult to the industry!

The uneducated public believe, with enough luck and will power, and you manage to pull off an event, you can do event management; regardless of health and safety, legislation, strategic planning or any real management. This is not sustainable and, given enough occurrences, luck will run out and there will be a crisis.



Children’s birthday party games

I am known to be good with party ideas and, having worked with Children for over 9 years including summer play schemes- where it was my job to keep children entertained all day- I often provide a few ideas for party games so thought I would share them.

make crowns/ pirate hats, pass the parcel, musical bumps or statues, duck duck goose, pin the tail on the donkey, treasure hunt, quiz, clues to work out a puzzle (like a kid friendly murder mystery but they discover a secret or something), bulldongs, apple bobbing, food on a string, memory game (what’s on the tray), touch and feel, ballon switch, team assult course (what team finishes first), under and over with a ball.

First half of 2014

Just before Christmas, I posted what the web team had achieved in 2013.

The first half of 2014 has been quite unique so I thought I would share what we have been up to…

New Team




Payment Gateway

Mapping System

Social Media

New Training Packs

Strategic Insight Partnership with the University of South Wales

Live streaming in the cabinet chamber

Events development

It’s not nice to think about but this post in Women’s Health Mag highlights a key change to Facebook policy which everyone with a facebook profile should consider… who will decide what happens to my profile if anything happens to me?!

This is a tough topic but Facebook has really considered your privacy and has taken a sensitive approach. The person who takes over your account will not be able to change personal details or access your private messages but can post on your wall.

So, here are your options for any deceased individual’s account:

  1. memorialising the account
  2. requesting to delete the account
  3. download the contents of the account, and then having it deleted

Also, there is a Facebook app you can download, called “If I die,” that you can set up at any point before your death to help put your social accounts in order and send out a last message if you wish.

Your council CAN!

Monmouthshirecc website with ads

Last week, me and Dale Evans took a trip to Birmingham to find out more about the income generation opportunities via web advertisements in Monmouthshire. We came away thinking about more than just money but how advertisements can offer better, personalised digital services and benefit all UK councils.

Monmouthshire signed up to the Council Advertising Network (CAN) just a month or so ago and it was one of the easiest things we did. After a discussion in September at the Web Group Wales meeting, we got in touch with CAN and looked at what they were offering. If we are honest- it looked to good to be true. We were looking for a loophole, a scam, but instead found a very open organisation which, instead of defending their business, pointed us in the direction of some other clients to hear their story.

We spoke to several local authorities already on the network who happily shared good experiences and shared a theme of ‘money for nothing’. It was at this point, although still nervous, we wanted to look at the contracts and talk about going forward. So we brought in our legal guys who signed it all off over night- WOW!.

So we got to a point where it made sense, it would generate income for Monmouthshire during a time where budgets are being cut and all the boxes were ticked. There was just one last thing to check- would the people who use our website find adverts annoying? So we asked them and they were in! You can read what people said on Storify!

We jumped in! We were rolling out a redesign of our website so there were some delays going live but things were great! It had taken us very little time to go live and I have to say, the team at CAN were amazing- they put up with all my silly questions and provided incredible communications that were easily understood by our leadership team as well as our techies.

Here are some of the highlights of CAN for Monmouthshire:

  • We maintain full control over all adverts that appear on our website- if we don’t like a particular advert or want to avoid certain companies, we can
  • It was free to set up, install and get live
  • The revenue structure for us to receive payments is fair and open- we don’t get anything different to other councils on the network
  • It was really easy to do
  • We are working with people like us- there is a great network and community atmosphere created through openness and honesty so we are growing and learning from each other

I love working with CAN. The advertising on our website works and doesn’t annoy anyone because, aside from making a bit of money, we will never put adverts where they aren’t appropriate. John-Paul explained good advertising at the event. He explained that advertisers want to place adverts in the right places for the right people at the right time. So we will never offer loan ads on a benefits page- it isn’t where the loan companies want to have their adverts as it doesn’t promote their business in a positive light, it is not what is best for the person on the website and it isn’t what we, a council, want to promote. On a council website there are opportunities for reaching specific user groups for a range of businesses so we can target appropriately.

Going forward in Monmouthshire, following a hugely positive experience, we will be investigating how to add adverts on all of our websites including school websites, our intranet for staff and departmental sites. We hope this income will help Monmouthshire continue to provide services and will provide positive outcomes for people in our county.

TeamCAN’s ideas and plans for the year ahead got me really excited! I don’t want to speak on behalf of them, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we can use advertising space to create personalised web experiences, connecting people to local government? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we brought people to our websites from external sites to let them know something is happening in their area? Wouldn’t it be great if we could save jobs and council services through making more money through advertising?

I hope you are as excited as I am about CAN and the opportunities it brings to local authorities. If you do want to find out more or ask me anything about Monmouthshire’s journey or experiences, please tweet me or email me. To talk to CAN, there is a short call-back form on the CapacityGRID website.

Finally, I wanted to send a special thank you to JP, Katie, Caron and James for hosting a fantastic event and thanks for fronting the bill, CapacityGRID and CAN really understand council’s current budget situations.