Webbdagarna 2016 – Recap Day 2

Webbdagarna in Stockholm is the leading event for online marketing in Sweden with around 1 600 visitors during two days. The biggest companies in Sweden are sending their digital experts to get inspired on digital trends by 60 speakers. I had the chance to visit the second day of Webbdagarna 2016 on the 23rd of March and here is a little recap about my day.

The morning program

I started the day with a breakfast seminar on Marketing Automation. Peter Svenonius, business developer at Humagic Group, was supposed to tell us everything about Marketing Automation in 45 minutes. The presentation was on a pretty basic level and was not news to me. But there were a lot of people in the room that didn’t have a lot of experience with Marketing Automation and they certainly got a pretty comprehensive view on the topic.


The regular program started at 9 o’ clock on the impressive main stage with a keynote on web psychology by Nathalie Nahai. Luckily some of the talks at Webbdagarna are being published on Youtube so you can enjoy the whole talk here. It was a pretty interesting presentation with a lot of inspiring cases on web psychology gone well and bad. A pretty good start in the day with some great insights that you definitely should check out yourself.

Nathalie Nahai’s keynote at Webbdagarna 2016


Next up was Vigor Sörman, founder and CEO of the Nordic Youtube media network Splay on ”How to reach ’The Skip Generation’ ”. He presented some use cases about Youtube stars and how they teamed up with different brands. I never got a real grip on the whole Youtube star thing before and this is why this talk was very interesting for me. It is pretty unreal what reach you can get by teaming up with a single Youtube profile. Personally I have my problems with this ”teaming up” thing. The target group is naturally pretty young and probably doesn’t even realize that they are being exposed to advertising. The way those Youtube stars take advantage of a kind of personal relationship their fans believe to have with them doesn’t feel right. But maybe I am just too old for this. Nevertheless: this presentation was pretty impressive and can also be found on Youtube (it is in Swedish).


After a short – in Sweden absolutely mandatory – coffee break, a real Youtube star entered the scene: Simone Giertz – the Queen of Shitty Robots – spoke about ”The importance of building useless things”. Simone is known and gets worldwide attention for the useless robots she is building. Key takeaway of her talk: dare to be a child again and build things without a certain goal in mind. The best inventions may be a result of useless ones, when either yourself or others build up on your – intentionally useless – idea. Check out Simone’s Youtube channel – it’s great!


Last one up before the lunch-break was Sune Kaae, Director of Technology at Veryday. His entrance with dancing to the Family Guy theme and also his CV were certainly impressing – unfortunately did his presentation not meet my expectations at all. ”Internet-of-Things is about personalized experiences” – already the title sounds a bit like Captain Obvious speaking and his talk was basically a listing of different products connected to the Internet-of-Things. Pretty impressive though – and I was surprised that this was new to me – are the citybikes in Copenhagen, that Sune presented. High-tech bikes with a tablet for GPS navigation and an electric motor. Way to go bikecity Copenhagen!


The afternoon program

After an hour lunch break the event continued with break-out sessions in six different focus areas: digital strategy, innovation, conversion/ROI, customer focus, communication and social media. I attended three different sessions with customer and innovation focus.

Break-out sessions

The first one was entitled ”Digital innovation with focus on customers”. Conny Björnehall, Digital Solutions Lead at the IT consultant agency Sogeti talked about how digital transformation is not only about reorganizing your company structure, but it is more about setting focus on the customer with basically everything your company does. Innovation then comes in different steps – one of the first: Service Design. Your product should always have a customer focused design and features and should not be designed by business or sales goals or technical impossibilities. He named a pretty interesting example, when tour operators ask you about your feedback after your trip, while you probably want to leave feedback directly when something goes wrong while you still are on your journey. And I heard it several times that day, but also Conny said that companies need to dare to try things to get an innovative culture. Instead of having a closed innovation approach, companies should try an open approach and work together med partners, employees and customers. Beta and test are the new normal – ”dare to fail, but do it quick!”.


The second sessions was called ”Innovate like a startup” and was held by Yashar Moradbakhti, who has worked for several startups as well as founded several ones. He actually broke this down to a formula with four aspects: great team, verify idea, execute fast, quality matters – which he explained more detailed. A great team includes the right mix of needed knowledge. The people need to have the right attitude to push forward, deliver on time, keep momentum and most importantly: never – ever – give up! There are several approaches to verify the idea: When you choose your market, by sure to be able to scale globally and hit the right market in terms of digitalization, trends and monetization. Remember that basically everything can be disrupted. Use testing and prototyping to make sure your idea works – and most importantly for Yashar: make sure what the CORE features are and what the FLUFF is. Iterate quickly and cheaply and constantly improve. All this needs to be done quickly – execute fast: tight deadlines with minimal resources let you focus on the right things. Yashar repeated pretty often that holding deadlines is the most important thing for him. But the deadlines must be realistic – and should be celebrated when nailing them! Instead of missing a deadline you should rather cut down on scope or add resources when possible. All this should be done with the minimum viable product which means mini cost, mini time and mini resources. Get it out and gather feedback! But beyond all the speed quality matters: the core features are the key to success and you should rather polish them than adding more fluff. Focus on user experience and add hooks that make people come back. Pretty nice to break this subject down to a formula this simple. Yashar also added a slide on what you could do right away:

  1. Great Team – All the needed competencies?
  2. Verify Idea – Is there a market need?
  3. Execute Fast – Short time between deliveries?
  4. Quality Matters – Do you love your own product?


The third and last break-out session I attended was named ”Simplifying the consumer experience” and was held by Penny Malm, Digital Transformation Leader at Nobia. Penny talked about how Nobia put the costumer journey in the center of their digital strategy. She showed a basic chart of the customer journey but then also a break-down chart visualizing the state of happiness of a customer during the buying process with simple smiley-faces. That was pretty interesting as it is an easy yet very effective way to visualize the pain points in the consumer experience and actually identify the moments, customers are dropping out. A great way to easily find areas to prioritize! Nobia is measuring the customer experience on every touchpoint to follow up and constantly improve. A very important finding, Penny pointed out: The customer journey is not just a marketing project – it affects the whole organisation! A pretty nice chart she showed broke down the touchpoints and the contribution every single department of their organisation made for each step. A very inspiring talk.

Big data with Hotels.com

After a 30 minute coffee break Thierry Bedos, CTO of hotels.com went on stage for a presentation I was most looking forward to: ”How to attract the modern traveler using the power of Big Data: a case study” – yes, nerd time! Hotels.com started already 3-4 years ago with an approach to utilize the big amounts of data they produce. The project plan which was intended to last 12-18 months, was narrowed down because the board wanted to see results earlier than this. Initially the big data project was an IT-only project, but the knowledge about data analysis was missing in the IT department. So the analytics team was invited to the project as they had the relevant knowledge within the organisation. But here it was also clear: dare to try. Begin small and work your way up. This is basically one of the learnings that summarizes all the presentations, I would say.

Webbdagarna 2016 – My summary

Webbdagarna 2016 were my first Webbdagarna event and to give it an overall grade, I would say it was inspiring – yet, were there many things that were not new to me. The quality of the presentations was pretty heterogeneous; some were great, some were not so great. But I guess this is just the burden when you try to stage an event for the masses. I tried to narrow down the things I learned to three main take-aways:

1. Dare to try
Especially bigger and more traditional companies have a hard time adapting to a continuously changing environment. Digitalization and digital transformation are topics everyone talks about, yet many organizations have a hard time going through it. The first step to tackle it, is to implement another mindset: dare to try! A speaker summarized it by saying: ”Beta and test will be the new normal”. So, the key to transformation is actually trying a lot, doing it fast and following up on it. Failure is an option, as long as you use your learnings to constantly improve.
2. Customer Journey is not (only) a marketing project
Customer Journey was one of the hot topics of this year’s Webbdagarna. I actually learned a lot about the extent of customer journey projects and that they should affect the whole organization. It should break down every single department’s involvement on every customer touch point. If you do it right and constantly follow up on the consumer experience on every touch point, this could be a key factor in transforming your business and really work customer centric.
3. Screw Big Data!
And now you think ”What? Really?!”. The keynote of hotels.com CTO Thierry Bedos entitled ”How to attract the modern traveler using the power of big data” was something I was really looking forward to. Big Data has been THE buzzword for a while now and no one really seems to get a grip on it. Thanks to Mr. Bedos I would now break it down as followed: start small using the data you have to build useful functions for your users. Test and draw your conclusions on that data and use it to help your customers by showing them right information or develop other features. Start with small data and don’t grow numb on the word ”Big Data”. Big things usually started out as small things in the beginning…