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Acquia Engage 2018: Optimize the Journey and Fill the CX Gap

Last week, Laura and I were very excited to visit one of the largest music capitals of the world, Austin, Texas, to attend the 5th annual Acquia Engage 2018 conference where we immersed ourselves in the excitement of a momentous year for Acquia and captured all the conversation directly from the event floor.

Acquia Engage is a yearly event which helps celebrate the work of partners and customers who come together from all around the world from places like Japan, Australia, England, Germany, France, United Kingdom and Canada to hear the challenges, stories and best practices that everyone can share amongst likeminded people.

Acquia built its conference around a three-track line up called “Build, Manage, and Optimize” but also expanded their agenda to include a fourth track called “Focus On” which were all introduced in the opening keynote by Lynne Capozzi, Chief Marketing Office at Acquia.

Lynne also announced Acquia’s global survey, Customer Experience Trends Report 2019 on closing the CX (customer experience) gap. 5,000 consumers and 500 marketers from all around the world were surveyed and “the study uncovers the gap between marketers and consumers perceptions of a great customer experience.” said Lynne.

“The bar for customer experience has been raised. Marketers have expanded to new channels and adapted new technology to keep pace with consumer expectations. Yet our research found that technology has become more of a barrier than an enabler for a great customer experience," she added.

Lynne also shared with us a couple interesting data points from the survey. The ones which I thought were the most interesting were the regional differences in the study "France is the only country that most respondents are looking forward to AI" and "German respondents are most uncomfortable providing personal data"

“As practitioners in digital, we have our work cut out for us don’t we? So what we’re hoping for the next few days at Engage is to be able to learn new ways to fill that gap between customer expectations and what’s happening now” said Lynne.

Experiencing Digital Freedom with Acquia

2018 has been a tremendous year for Acquia with record sales, massive company growth and an acceleration of products that have only just launched in the last couple years. Acquia has been around for more than a decade and employs over 800 people, with over 4,000 customers including 30+ Fortune 100 companies.

“Acquia is the open source digital experience company” said Michael Sullivan, CEO of Acquia. “We’re the company that provides all the pieces and make Drupal an enterprise platform and market leader” he added.“It’s not just Acquia that has a lot of momentum, the whole space is changing very fast and there’s been a lot of momentum in the market. There’s a lot of trends that are driving those changes. A lot of companies have not achieved the productivity or the benefits they would expect to get, so I think a lot of companies are still very early.”

Something really cool that I didn’t know was if you go to the subway station in New York City, the digital sign that says when the next train is coming is powered by the Acquia platform. Michael revealed a few other tidbits of information from the study with some common themes of the CX survey being scalability, intelligence, and simplicity.

  • 76% of consumers are loyal to certain brands, but will move on as soon as they have a bad experience.
  • 61% of consumers brands do not do a good job using their personal preferences to predict their needs.
  • 85% of consumers believe their experience with brands online needs to be made easier.

There was also mention of the new partnership announcement with headless commerce platform, Elastic Path and ecommerce cloud platform BigCommerce.

“Our strategy is to really integrate with the best commerce platforms out there. Elastic Path is an open source platform, BigCommerce a leader in the space and our partnerships really include integration into our commerce manager platform which is designed to streamline the integration of commerce in our Acquia experience platform” said Michael.

“Simplicity Wins”

Although we usually don’t have enough time in our busy day of interviews to attend all of the engaging sessions, Laura and I made it a requirement to attend the general session and innovation showcase on day two.

Dries Buytaert, Acquia CTO and Co-founder lead the exciting conversations with a few customers who are doing remarkable things with the Acquia platform. There was also talks of Acquia’s future roadmap coming in Spring 2019/Q1 2019 to Acquia Lighting 4.0, Next Generation Acquia Cloud, and Acquia Lift 4.0 which include new updates and enhancements as well as a demo sample of a few new features that were released for Acquia’s Lightning and Drupal and already available today.

Out of the three themes, Simplicity is one of the topics that Dries is the most passionate about and mentioned “Simplicity wins”. As a hobbiest photographer, Dries used the evolution of a camera as an example and stated “This notion of everybody now taking a photo in a second in a higher quality than ever before and instantly sharing it is a very powerful example of simplicity wins” said Dries.

To start things off, Dries had the chance to sit down with Erica Bizzari, Digital Marketing Manager for Paychex, and a leading provider in payroll and HR services. Erica is responsible for driving the overall strategy and performance of the website. Paychex used Acquia to make their developer experience simpler and helped put their marketers in control and allowed them to excel their speed to market.  

Eric Black, Chief Technology Officer of NBC Sports Group Digital also took to the stage and sat down with Dries to discuss their many websites that they manage using Acquia Lighting and Acquia Cloud platform to power over 30,000 events a year.

According to Playmaker media, the Superbowl, Winter Olympics, and FIFA World cup combined for an astounding 4.37 billion minutes of video consumed which equaled to 8,314 years of live viewing. “That’s made my team very tired this year!” said Eric.

Michael Mancuso, Head of Digital Analytics at Wendy’s is “really doing digital right” with 3 million followers on Twitter and a ton of brands who want to copy what they’re doing. Wendy’s personalization uses Acquia Lift, and has helped Wendy’s connect with customers in the moment no matter where they are in their experience—on the road, in-store, or online. Michael touched on how they used Acquia to bring their digital strategy to life, how they selected Acquia, how they deployed Acquia Lift, and how they received value from the ecosystem. In the image below, we were even taken through a customer journey via Twitter by using Dries as an example. It was really great to visually see what that journey looks like by using the personalization process that Wendy’s actually implemented and why they’ve been so successful.

We also had a chance to interview Michael in a CMS-Connected exclusive so be sure to check back and tune in to this captivating and highly engaging video interview with Laura Myers. You definitely do not want to miss it as he touched on the above topics that he discussed on stage.

Ending Notes

In my many conversations with customers, partners and numerous members of the Acquia team I learned some valuable insight into the company and what makes its community so engaged. 

Besides those many conversations, Acquia’s vision is “To deliver the universal platform for the world’s greatest digital experiences” and just by attending my first ever Engage this first year, I definitely think they’ve hit the nail on the head.

I’m excited to see where Acquia is headed for the remainder of 2018 and what 2019 holds for them moving forward. I think 2019 will be an exciting year for digital experiences and it’s only going to get better.

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella is the Digital Marketing Assistant for CMS-Connected. She brings a wealth of knowledge from not only a CMS perspective but also content, SEO and eCommerce. She enjoys everything social media and staying ontop of the latest trends in the digital marketing world.