On Thursday 16th of May, at Dublin’s Gibson Hotel, over 50 of us learned the value of innovation, iteration and using data to drive better customer engagement. All easier said than done!

Why didn’t they think of it though? Why didn’t a big hotel brand like Hilton Hotels come up with Airbnb? How come big taxi firms didn’t think of Uber?

Big brands are getting shaken up by innovative start-ups who seize opportunities and make better use of trends in customer behaviour.

Ryan Air Website

It works the other way too. Big established brands like Tesco must have been concerned when a few weeks ago it was announced that Amazon are set to start selling their own food and baby products. Amazon make it so easy for us to buy things online that if they move into your sector, you should be scared. #engagenow16 looked at how we can use digital transformation to expect and embrace change.

Are you ready to embrace change?

This was the overarching question of the day. An agile approach to delivering better customer experiences was one of the solutions. Collaborate with customers and individuals at your business and be ready to respond to change.

Did you know that in the first year of trading, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos invested 100 times more in the user experience than he did in marketing?

Your website, marketing strategy and customer experience all need to evolve based on data analysis from users and competitors.


In order to practice what we preached, we wanted to create an interactive experience with attendees that was both fun and driven by technology. For us it was a great way of finding out more about our new and potential customers.

Prior to the event they were emailed a short survey asking them questions about some of their interests such as music preferences. Upon registering for the event, attendees were then able to interact with us exclusively using the hashtag #engagenow16 and a follow up hashtag:

  • #selfie (to project a selfie of themselves onto the big screen)
  • #playtrack{insert track number} to change the interval music
  • #ask to ask a follow up question
  • #enter to enter any prize giveaways during the day

It created an interactive experience as well as a talking point (as people desperately tried to avoid taking selfies of themselves).

engagenow16 selfie

 We wanted to get as much data from attendees before, during and after the event.

What is digital transformation?

Keynote speaker Neil Mercer stressed the importance of understanding the convergence between people and technology. He referenced “The singularity”, the point, predicted to be 2045, where progress is so rapid, it outstrips humans ability to comprehend it. The rise of wearables means that by 2020 it won’t just be mobiles that are computers, but potentially everything, particularly clothes.

the singularity

Everything is connected and our expectations are higher. We demand cloud based services and expect to be able to pay for things straight from our mobile phones.

We demand more from technology and this is permeating into the physical world with beacons creating unique experiences based on our movement through a location e.g. the airport - using real-life behaviour analysis to monitor movements through a location to determine where best to put beacons.

Experience Design

Gareth Dunlop, from User Experience agency Fathom, started from a simple, yet effective standpoint - visitors are going to have an experience with you online, whether you like it or not, so why not make it a good one?

The thing that sets the big, successful brands such as Google and Amazon apart is that they don’t stop. Their performance online is consistently improved through insight. The more insight they get, the more knowledge.

In 2011 .gov.uk decided to make a change. It sounds simple, but by creating a user-centric, engaging experience, the results are a massive increase in usage.

Gov.uk website stats

For businesses, the importance of user-experience is a measurable one. The purchase process starts with awareness and ends with advocacy (and repeat visits).  Brands invest and in many cases, waste budgets on awareness, when they could be investing more on advocacy and increasing the lifetime value of customers, whilst making sure they get recommended.

Technology Drives Change

The right technology can help you learn more about your customers. David Knipe from Episerver spoke about the “great customer experience divide”;

  • 81% of businesses say they are close to having a holistic view of their customers 

  • Yet only 37% of consumers say that their favourite brand understands them

Something isn’t quite right.

In order to create a more accurate view of your customers, to understand them and make sure that they love you even more, you need to create rewarding website experiences that shows every visitor to your site that you know them.

Creating Episerver user groups

With Episerver CMS you can create user groups based on a website visitor's demographic, how they found your site, their previous behaviour and many other factors.

This means that you can show specific content to a visitor when they next visit your site. You could give them relevant content, specific messaging or even a personalised offer.

Your online presence is never finished. Your website can always be optimised, try different layouts, different messaging and different calls to action. Analyse and repeat. That’s what Google and Amazon do. That’s what Episerver CMS allows you to do.