On Thursday 19th October, 75 digital professionals from more than 40 UK and Irish organisations came together at Ormeau Baths, Belfast for Engage Now 2017.

This was bespoke event for our customers to get an insight into the future of digital and to discover innovative ways to use technology to create an unrivalled, ‘magical’ customer experience.

If you weren’t one of the lucky ones attended the event, here are a few of the highlights from the day.

It doesn’t take magic to dazzle your customers…

The theme for Engage Now 2017 was empowering the audience to create magical customer experiences through technology and marketing techniques such as personalisation and automation.

We really wanted to show that digital isn’t a ‘dark art’ - it’s about understanding your customers and using the tools and technology at hand to build smart and creative online experiences around their needs.

To show this in action, we invited speakers from Microsoft, Episerver and members of our own team to talk about the future of digital and how we can navigate the waves and continue to innovate.

 

Technology

To keep with the theme of using technology to create magical experiences, we wanted to showcase the intelligent marketing automation capabilities of platforms such as Episerver from the outset.

In the run up to the event, we sent invitees a series of automated emails and used personalisation on our website to encourage registration for the event.

On the day, attendees were able to sign in through a custom-built application, created by our own placement student David. Once signed in, they received a digital playing card via email and sms, which would help them enter competitions throughout the event to win some coveted Amazon Alexas.

Kicking things off - Creating a shared vision

After a bit of mingling, came an introduction to the day from Engage’s MD Steven Cassin, who outlined some of our key successes over the past 12 months. He spoke of the rapid growth of our team, the delivery of our largest scale projects for the likes of Eason and BNP Paribas, the new organisations we’re working with, our journey to Agile and the technology platforms we’ve partnered with.

Steven also gave our clients and partners a look at what lies ahead for Engage and the value of establishing a ‘shared vision’ to enable ongoing digital transformation for our partners, our clients and their customers.

For those attending it was a way for them to see how Engage’s plan and vision truly aligns with their own future goals.

Following these compere for #engagenow17, Niall Adams (our business development manager) introduced the first speaker, Manojan Panchalingam from Episerver.

What’s new with Episerver?

Manojan gave us a glimpse into what’s coming in 2018 and beyond from Episerver. As most of our clients use Episerver as their CMS or commerce platform, this was an invaluable opportunity to see how they could use the new updates and features to elevate the digital experience for their customers.

The audience were writing furiously in their notebooks, as they learned more about the practical capabilities of Episerver Find, Commerce and Campaign.

Eason’s Challenge – Janaka Fernando, Head of Product Strategy at Engage

Demonstrating Episerver’s potential, our Head of Product Strategy, Janaka took to the stage. He discussed how Engage implemented the Episerver suite of products, integrated with Avensia Storefont, for retail giant, Easons; giving them a solid commerce platform to begin launching an omnichannel digital marketing strategy in 2018. 

As this is one of the largest scale projects we’ve delivered at Engage, it showed the various challenges we faced and how we overcame them through blending the technology with our skill and expertise. 

Inspiring user experiences – Tom Winstanley, UX Specialist

UX can be an area of confusion for many; even those with years of experience within the digital field. To address this confusion and explain what a ‘UX Person’ does, was Tom Winstanley, who has worked as part of our own team as the UX lead on projects for clients such as BNP Paribas, Power NI and Travel Department.

Tom outlined the role of UX within a project and the various ingredients that come together to form the recipe for outstanding user experience design.

He took us through some of the most common, glaring user experience mistakes and what we can do to avoid these.

The changing face of digital marketing – Clare Geehan, Digital Strategist at Engage

With such a large number of marketeers in the audience, our digital strategist Clare Geehan showed us what lies ahead in the future of digital marketing and how to turn obstacles such as GDPR and https migration, into an opportunity to forge more creative, integrated digital strategies.

Clare gave us some inspiring examples, of brands such as Hyundai using a 360 degree, offline and online view of their customer to craft a full-view strategy using micro moments.

Clare’s top tips for embracing changes within the digital landscape:

  1. Meet customers at every point in their journey – online and offline
  2. Harness insights to remove friction – make experiences and journeys as short and simple as possible
  3. Measure busines value, not inidividual marketing metrics – look at results as a whole, rather than basing success on click-through-rates and cost per conversions.

Using technology to drive digital success – Jonathan Eustace from Microsoft and Stephen Anderson, CTO at Engage

With the theme for the day centring about using technology to empower organisations, we were delighted to have Jonathan Eustace from Microsoft join our CTO Stephen Anderson to demonstrate the impact of Microsoft technology to improve quality, efficiency and confidence within an organisation.

They discussed common issues and problems that arise during the processes of project planning and delivery and how Microsoft services such as Visual Studio and Azure Paas can significantly streamline the output.

 

The bottom line – Steven Limmer, Agile Practice Leader at Engage

Over the past 12 months, one of the most exciting changes at Engage has been our transformation from the traditional Waterfall methodology and project delivery, to become a truly Agile organisation.

As well as telling the story of Engage’s journey to Agile and explaining its key principles, our Agile Practice Leader and Coach, Steven Limmer highlighted the benefits of adopting an agile mindset within an organisation to accelerate digital transformation, improve co-operation and cut costs.

The panel discussion

To finish off the day, we brought some of the day’s speakers to the stage for a panel discussion, hosted by Engage’s Commercial Director Stephen Leathem, under the topic of ‘digital opportunities and risks in 2018’.

With GDPR looming, the panel talked about how businesses can best prepare and the steps they can take to be seen as leaders within their industries.

We discovered which of 2018’s upcoming digital trends will be most appropriate to our clients’ organisations and examined the risks and benefits of cloud computing and data storage for marketers.

The panel discussion aimed to engage the audience, address current issues and answer some questions we’d gathered from them prior to the event.

Engage Now 2017 – the final thoughts

At Engage we aim to be a digital transformation partner to our clients; to operate as an extension of their existing team; to empower and enable them to achieve digital greatness through marketing technology, experience design and digital strategy.

Holding an event like Engage Now allows us to strengthen these partnerships, by inspiring and educating those attending and showing them the unlimited potential of the technology and services we equip them with.

Our clients and partners also have the chance to meet and talk to each other and to share ideas to maintain innovation and keep thinking about their next digital move.

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