It's not often that a digital technology conference is held in a castle; in fact, it's not often that any conference is held in a castle! Luckily for me, Kentico decided to hold their annual partner conference, Kentico Connection, in Prague this year at the picturesque Hotel Lindner Castle.
As Kentico Gold Partners, we are always keen to attend these global events that foster collaboration and information sharing amongst the ever-growing Kentico partner network. It's an invaluable experience and one that directly translates to real value for our team and our clients. Last year I attended both the Sydney and London Kentico Connection events. This year 11 GS team members went to Kentico Connection in Sydney. We decided that it would also be essential that I go to the European Conference. Luckily for me, Kentico decided to have the European conference in Prague, Czech Republic, the home of the Kentico company (the actual home base is in Brno, but I'll get to that later).
Metricon case study
Kentico Connection conferences are a mix of technical talks, marketing-focused sessions and real-world case studies. Kentico invited Get Started to present a case study on the recent Metricon Homes website project that was built on the Kentico EMS platform. We broadened the talk to delve into the evolving Customer’s path to purchase and the impact that digital has had on this. You can watch and listen to my talk below.
I was thankful for the great feedback we received from other partners and conference delegates. The general consensus from the audience was that they appreciated the practical explanation of the path to purchase for a high research, non-ecommerce product, and felt it was a great example of thought leadership around building highly engaging digital experiences.
Get more from your ecommerce solution
I joined Kentico staff and MVPs for a run on the first day, a lap around the Castle. Following the social function on the Vlata River in Prague (including Fireworks!), I found it a lot harder to attend running on the second day and opted for the sleep-in...
There were many talks that I found engaging and informative. One in particular that stood out for me was ‘Best practices with the Kentico E-commerce solution’ by Petr Vozak of Kentico. The eCommerce capabilities have advanced substantially in Kentico 8. It is a lot easier to manage a range of functions, such as coupons and discounts. Coupons, in particular, are something I believe will become an essential part of automated marketing.
Consider this, a customer visits your site, adds a product to their cart and for whatever reason, abandons their shopping cart with the item in it and does not complete the sale. What if you can influence them to come back to the site by offering a coupon with a 10% discount for that particular product? What if you could convert 30% of these customers? This could translate to a lot of sales, despite the discount provided. The best bit is that it can all be automated.
The Kentico roadmap
Having worked with the Kentico CMS since 2008, we have developed a fantastic relationship with the Kentico team. Throughout the conference I was able to have some great conversations with the product development team, giving insights into how we use Kentico here in Australia and discussing the roadmap for the Kentico EMS. Get Started’s success in working with clients on the EMS proved to be exceptionally useful as marketing automation and personalisation were the most talked about subjects at the event. The huge changes to the user experience of the CMS interface itself was also a popular topic with almost everyone there commenting on how much easier version 8 is to use for marketers and content administrators.
Brno and Kentico home base
After the Kentico Connection conference I travelled to Brno in the south-east corner of the Czech Republic to Kentico's home base and global headquarters. There I was fortunate enough to have some really insightful discussions with Petr Palas (founder & CEO of Kentico), Robert Pinkas (VP Marketing of Kentico) and Oldrich Januska (VP Product of Kentico). Kentico's professionalism and quality is reflected in their highly impressive office. The layout, design, feeling, and overall sophistication was extraordinary.
From Brno I made my way home, full of ideas to share with the GS team and our clients.
A bigger castle next time?
I have already told Adam and Andy that I've pencilled in Kentico Connection 2015 in Prague, and I've told Kentico that next time they need to up the ante and have the conference in the famous Prague Castle itself!
To the entire Kentico team, thank you for a fantastic conference and for welcoming me to the Brno office. We look forward to returning the hospitality at Kentico Connection Melbourne in 2015.