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Web Summit 2016: Customer Experience, Community Engagement and Social Media all in one event

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Having one of the most important tech events happening in your city is something big. As soon as the news came out that the Web Summit was coming to Lisbon (more than a year before), and being a web, social media and content marketing enthusiast, I knew I could not miss it. So, I joined the Women in Tech movement and got a special ticket, a year before the event happened. 

Expectations were high and finally the BIG days arrived! Despite of the problems related to the fact of it being a big event, the Web Summit was up to what I was expecting. All the talks I attended gave me a lot of food for thought and I ended up listening a lot about a term that since I joined Altitude Software has become part of my daily experience: Customer Experience.

The need for improvement in the way customers live and experience the relationships with brands was a concern that speakers talked about repeatedly. From the Facebook CMO, to the Chairman of Publicis Group, through to the founder of Sprinklr, all stated that customers are a company’s best marketers. Companies, on their side, must be one step ahead of what customers want, where they are and what they do, by making use of Big Data and learning how to use the information available.

Without a doubt, the mobile experience is also of more and more importance. We are spending a lot of time on our mobile phones, with ever more apps available to make our days easier (or not). This is changing not only our experience as customers, but also the way we expect brands to interact with us. In fact, Altitude have launched a research early this year on Omnichannel Customer Expectations that also confirms this perception.

Related with the idea if an evolving customer experience is also the idea of creating a community. This topic was also emphasized in several talks but for me the ones that “got it better” were by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and by Alexis Ohanian, Reddit’s Co-Founder.

Mostly recognized by his work as an actor, Gordon-Levitt is also the founder of HitRECord, a collaborative platform that promotes creativity to create books, films, art, among others, and that fairly compensates the ones that contribute to a piece of content. With an enthusiastic talk, Gordon-Levitt left us all thinking about the ways that we can engage and contribute to create something unique.

On the other hand, Reddit’s Co-Founder talked about how they came out with the idea of creating this social news website where users can post links to content on the web. Also very interesting was the informal way in which this platform became bigger and bigger and the feeling of belonging that people get when contributing with information that is useful to others. 

Of course, I must mention the ongoing discussions about Social Media that came to one (and not new) conclusion: companies shouldn’t just “exist” as a brand in social media; they must engage and, most important, they must know where customers are and be there too. On the issue of what Millennials want, speakers highlighted that as this “digital-native” group is gaining more and more importance, brands must find new ways to reach them, once again, where they are, that is online.

Taking all this into account, it’s clear that the Web Summit gave us all a lot to think about. Companies not only have to focus on providing an excellent customer experience, but also have to try to create a community around their values, never forgetting to be where most of the customers are: online.

What about you? Have you been at Web Summit? What would you highlight?

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