Our key takeaways from Episerver Ascend London

Posted by Shahid Iqbal
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Episerver Ascend London 2018

Our key takeaways from Episerver Ascend London

Last week, we took part in Episerver Ascend London; Episerver’s annual UK conference for digital marketers and ecommerce leaders. A fascinating day that focused on the importance of marketers and brands knowing their customers so they can provide meaningful, engaging and profitable personalised online experiences. Here are our key takeaways.

A better brand experience is just a click away

There were many references to digital disruption throughout the day. Disruption is nothing new, but digital disruption is different to previous market disruption. If a brand understands the needs of their customers and designs personalised customers experiences, which resonates with these different customer segments, once loyal customers are more likely to switch brands and suppliers. Effectively embracing digital marketing technology will help ensure that a company will benefit from market disruption, rather than suffering from the disruption caused by competitors.

To deliver seamless customer experiences, brands need business-focused KPIs and customer-focused KPIs

Poor content will hurt your experiences and your bottom line

Episerver’s EVP of Strategy and CMO, James Norwood, opened proceedings by discussing Amazon and the ways the online retail giant is shaping and disrupting our online expectations, making marketers work harder to deliver optimised, personalised experiences. But he was eager to stress the importance of delivering good content to demonstrate value.

Episerver’s annual survey revealed that a staggering 95% of users are dissuaded from purchase due to poor content

Though personalisation may seem like a silver bullet, personalised content needs to work harder to demonstrate the value exchange in order for users to volunteer their personal data to brands.

If you’d like to find out more about AI and personalisation take a look at our key takeaways from our June 2018 breakfast briefing on AI & website personalisation.


GDPR isn’t just red tape; it’s an opportunity to create better engagement

The General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into play on 25th May 2018, aims to give users control over their personal data while simplifying regulations for businesses by unifying the regulation within the EU. While new regulations are always greeted with a degree of scepticism, Episerver’s VP and General Counsel, Peter Yeung, suggested that brands should instead welcome the changes and view them as an opportunity to create better messages, letting go of old data and driving smarter personalisation.

Brands can drive quality over quantity and engage with customers who are showing true intent

Brands need to step up to meet the demands of the online customer

David Bowen, Episerver Product Manager explained that the next-generation of digital commerce must enable you to market, transact and personalise rich omni-channel experiences from day one. Online customers want more - exceptional online shopping experiences that are valuable and meaningful. Brands need to raise their game to compete, using the necessary tools, technologies and partners to deliver these inspirational, exclusive and personalised experiences.  

Everything in alignment, not just your tech

As a Gold Sponsor of Episerver Ascend, we ran a keynote panel discussion: ‘Everything but the tech’ in which we discussed the issues that can obstruct digital success. Netcel’s Chief Strategy Officer, James Scott, highlighted the importance of aligning your organisation’s systems, processes and people towards the goal of digital transformation.

Internal governance and team structures should be geared towards making the most of your digital estate

When discussing any programme of digital transformation, it may even be beneficial to drop the word ‘digital’ altogether, instead referring to transformation in such a way as to give people across all roles and departments a feeling of ownership of your strategic direction. James was joined by a panel made up of Netcel clients: Paul Swift from Age UK, Alice Evans from The Landmark Trust and James Murphy, previously at RICS.

We’ll be following up with more from our ‘Everything but the tech’ keynote panel discussion, so stay tuned for a more in-depth recap.

Users want answers, not options

In the day’s final session, futurist Tom Cheesewright outlined some of the coming changes to the customer relationships of tomorrow, highlighting the ways that technology is stripping friction from the interaction between brand and customer. Of particular interest was his assertion that when searching on a website, customers no longer wish to see hundreds or thousands of options, but rather see one answer. A mixture of mobile device usage, voice search, machine learning and AI has meant that users want results that take into account the context in which they’re searching and their previous behaviour.

Learn more

If you want to future-proof your digital performance or would like to discuss anything concerning the digital evolution of your company, get in touch.

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