Top 5 Insights from Every Speaker of Digital Elite Camp 2018

Top 5 Insights from Every Speaker of Digital Elite Camp 2018

Elite Camp 2018 (10th anniversary!) brough together 180 marketing and optimization people all over Europe. It was 3 days in a secluded beach resort with the best speakers and parties.

Here are 5 (or so) thoughts from every speaker from this year’s lineup.

Peep Laja: Repeatable Patterns in CRO

  • We cannot predict what will work. Our intuition is terrible at it.
  • You can’t copy market leaders or competitors to get ahead.
  • Can we skip conversion research if we know the repeatable patterns? No.
  • Basic things like “less unnecessary forms fields” are best practices, it’s a stretch to call them repetable patterns
  • The only repeatable pattern in CRO is doing the hard work of conversion research – it gets results every single time.

Hana Abaza: Thriving on Change, Driving Growth and Lessons Learned at Shopify

  • Positioning: Is it really the product you have to differentiate or is it the experience?
  • Your customers are ready for the future of commerce. Are you?
  • Marketers are often talking about unicorns, ice-creams and rainbows. But actually there is no basis to positioning. Use plain language. No jargon. No ice-cream, unicorns, rainbows.
  •  Balance short and long term impact. Low hanging fruit seems tempting, but can lead you astray.
  • It’s not about more leads, but better leads.

Chris Out: How to Build a Top 1% Growth Team 3 times faster than your Competition?

  • The growth system is broken: product, marketing and sales are siloed. That’s a problem.
  • Growth hacking is not only top of the funnel. You need high tempo testing and experimentation throughout the whole customer journey.
  • A high impact teams needs top skills. Rockboost process of building up a skill set:
    • Personal T-shape plans.
    • What do your clients need?
    • List all the hard and soft skills.
    • Learning plan per person
    • Plan dedicated learning time into your day!
    • Monthly check-ins.
  • Look at your growth team score and ask yourself: are you working in a multi-disciplinary team where you focus on high tempo testing on the entire customer journey for bottom line and valuation impact?
  • Use CXL Institute to train your team members on growth

Ed Fry: Data-driven Growth – Lies, Lawyers & Outsized Results

  • Where is your customer journey captured? Go a little bit further, it is not always in Google Analytics. What does your team need to access that data? How to get access to the right data? It’s in website analytics and emails, but that is just a small piece of it.
  • What are the decision making moments in your growth process? Can you create rules for them? There is automation & there are processes, but for growth you also need rules.
    • Pricing is a rule.
    • Sales compensation is a rule.
    • Content modelling is a rule. (Booking.com: user reviews, location..)
    • Content modelling for a blog: use different elements
    • Design = rules.
    • Development = rules.
    • Content = rules.
    • Segments as rules: “Who to talk to”
    • Templates as rules: “What to say” and “What to say” internally
    • Workflows as rules: “When and where to say it”. Control the complexity in your workflows.
  •  Unify all user data in one place.

Alexa Hubley: The Agile Marketing Playbook

  • Create your agile process:
    • Map (start at the end)
    • Sketch (remix & improve)
    • Decide (Rumble, storyboard)
    • Prototype – test
  • Active campaigning works. If you want more product adoption, market to your user base. 
  • Solve at the micro level.
  • Show, don’t tell.

André Morys: Understanding Disruptive Growth – Why Most Optimizers Fail to Produce Great Results and How to Change it

  • Understand the real challenge. It is not statistics, tools, errors on websites.
  • It’s all about customer experience. We have to help companies provide a better experience. Make a connection between A/B testing and your boss/strategy. It’s not about technology, but customer centricity + agility, data drivenness.
  • You are not optimising websites but helping your boss and client get over ignorance and see the real problem. Connect what you are doing to their strategic challenge.
  • Prioritise impact over speed. Go for “High Impact Testing” – those tests need a triple amount of effort of an average A/B test, but are worth it. Challenge your prioritisation. Select tests that make a real impact.
  • Have a workshop with the management to agree on how to report real ROI in a way they understand and care about.

Karl Gilis: Why You Fail at Digital Marketing

  • Hope is not a strategy. You have to know the basics – why something works or doesn’t.
  • Offline marketing is about getting attention. Online marketing is about paying attention.
  • Video backgrounds are the new sliders.
  • Zoom in into the problems. Don’t make it about you. Make it about them.
  • If you don’t care about words, you are a decorator, not a designer.

Craig Sullivan: Tools and Techniques for Optimising Cross-device Experiences

  • If customers cannot read the content, because it is too small, then it’s a marketing whiffle.
  • We all have product defects, we just don’t know where they are and how much they cost us. But until you have tested it, they are just bad assumptions.
  • Why don’t we hear about these bugs? Even if nobody complains, it does not mean everything is working fine. Everyone needs a process for finding the defects. Customers will not call.
  • Most important thing in the checklist: audit of Google Analytics. Otherwise you might have bullshit data, bullshit boards, bullshit dashboards, bullshit executive boards.
  • Data-driven is a tricky concept. Information does not tell you what to do. You are the lens that needs to figure that out.

Annika Oorn: Optimizing High Converting Websites

  • Aggregate data is crap as it hides the gold inside the segments
  • Optimisation is more than just running tests. Find bugs. Get started and move on to automated solutions.
  • What if you don’t have heaps of traffic?
    • You can still do personalisation
    • Look at broad segments
    • Learn from segments – dig deep
    • Cross-sell/up-sell
    • Use micro-conversions
    • Increase motivation
    • Qualitative research
    • First impression tests, user testing before going live (UsabilityHub etc)
    • Lower the statistical significance
  • Focus on upsells, cross-sells and personalization when the conversion rate is already very high

Andy Carvell: Driving Impact on Mobile

  • Apple App Store and Google Play store have a lot of competition. You would probably find 6-7 functionally identical apps for every idea.
  • Mobilegrowthstack.com – A framework for strategic mobile growth.
    • Acquisition
    • Engagement & Retention
    • Monetization
    • Analytics & Insights
    • Tech
  • Push notifications. Pretty saturated. In-App messages. Definitely not saturated. Segmented targeted interaction with your user.
  • Use of in-app messaging to rapidly test segmented onboarding. Impact = Reach x Relevance x Frequency.
  • Optimise relevance – you can improve it with personalisation. Leverage the demographics, behavior. If the relevance is high enough, people are happy to get the notifications.

Jonathan Epstein: From Darwin to Digital Marketing: Can Evolutionary AI Create More Effective Customer Journeys?

  • In nature, natural selection has optimal designs. Each species is uniquely optimised for the niche it is in. Modelling evolution this way helps to bring the model to other areas.
  • Evolutionary principles
    • Fitness – The fittest web page, the fittest radio antenna, training system..
    • Combination – if you have 2 better than average design, then you climb a performance hill
    • Mutation – like in nature, we are looking all the angles of possible ideas.
  • Evolutionary Optimization: parallel designing – combine two good designs and get a better one. Each generation requires less traffic than a single A/B test. In 15 generations of 40 designs each. This approach allows you to test much more things. They run 6-8 generations to get highest increase of conversion over time.
  •  Combination of evolution and deep learning. Neural networks connect inputs  (variables: customer profile, device, day of week, time of day) and outputs (what are they going to see).

Lukas Vermeer: Democratizing online controlled experiments at Booking.com

  • The question with data always is: How did this data come about?
  • Evidence-based customer-centric product development. You need to have theories about your customer behavior and ask what this test wants to achieve?
  • Failure is learning. 9/10 tests fail.
  • Take the biggest small step so you can challenge your riskiest assumptions quickly.
  • Customer-centric evidence on what they care about. With this approach you will learn what matters to your customers.

Momoko Price: Data-driven copywriting for brand-spanking new products

  • Worst advice you get for converting copywriting – tweaking random words on pages.
  • Longstanding conversion-copywriting myth is that conversion copywriting is AB testing, copywriting formula. Actual four steps:
    1. Research the customer mindset
    2. Map out the sales narrative
    3. Leverage cognitive biases – framing, anchoring etc- how humans make decisions
    4. Measure the impact
  • Good copywriting = Exercising empathy. Listen. Listen at scale.
  • When you feel it in your gut, you know it must be right. No – that’s confirmation bias.
  • Great technique for copywriting – online review mining. Instead of writing your message from scratch, steal it directly from your prospects. Go to a review site and steal from there – Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Amazon

Ivan Bager: Storytelling with data

  • Storytelling is good for idea pitches, one-off analysis, board meetings, sales efforts, persuasion of stakeholders.
  • When narrative is coupled with data, it helps to explain to your audience what’s happening in the data and why a particular insight is important.
  • When visuals and graphs are applied to data, they can enlighten the audience to insights that they wouldn’t otherwise.
  • Connect the narrative to your story by linking it to events and conclusions in the data. Visuals doesn’t have to be graphs, use images of the people involved.
  • Analyse your audience member’s frame of mind to help them better “hear” you. Structure your story effectively. Instill customer empathy into your audience to increase your story’s memorability.

Robin Langfield Newnham: Optimising for Voice AI in the Post-Website Era

  • Post-website era: No app. No browser. No search. Voice-only shopping. Voice shopping estimated to hit 40 million dollars by 2022 in the UK and US.
  •  Use keywordtool.io to identify long-tail questions with voice intent. Look for long-term keywords.
  • Use SEMRUSH or Ahreds to identify which keywords contain a featured snippet result page.
  • Create in-depth, mobile-friendly guides that succinctly answer each question.
  • Use ‘organization’ schema.org markup to gain a knowledge box snippet. Allows Google Home to pull answers about your brand.

Els Aerts: Without Research There Is Nothing

  • User research is part of every project, may it be information architecture project, conversion optimisation project. You have to do the research for your product/service, website, because it always “depends”.
  • How much research should you do? Just enough.
  • Qualitative research: Why? How? In-depth input needed. Interviews. Moderated user testing. Surveys with open questions. Unstructured data. Small.
  • 80% of companies say they are customer-centric. Only 8% of customers agree.
  • Focus group is not a user test.


It’s a real fun event + you’ll learn a ton.

Elite Camp 2019 dates: June 13-15. Mark your calendars now.


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Top 5 Insights from Every Speaker of Digital Elite Camp 2018