Digital First, your digital business roadmap

For those of you, who don’t know, Digital First (Brussels, Belgium) is a leading digital fair with more than 10 years behind its back. This year’s program looked very interesting so we decided to give it a shot. Here is what happened…

Most stages were next to each other, so we were all given headphones and could tune in to the talk, we were interested in. This was not ideal because you could still hear other noises but with a little extra focus we thought we would manage.

Digital Marketing and Digital Transformation

Improving the Sales Funnel

The stages were categorized by topic and I chose to see some talks about digital marketing and digital transformation. The talk about improving the sales funnel was interesting but due to the bad audio it was hard to catch everything. The main message was that traditional sales journeys do not exist anymore and that this is the time to create competitive advantages to attract customers. These competitive advantages are not static because the market is not static, so if necessary adapt your competitive advantage in the future, if your target group or customer group needs it.

The new CV

The most interesting session of the day was titled ´Digital footprint is the new CV´. Not that I am searching for a new job, but the title sounded like it was applicable for companies as well, so I headed on. Denys Malengreau from Reputation 365 explained that trust and influence have shifted from institutions to individuals; we do not trust institutions anymore; trust and influence have become more distributed. We more and more rely on peers, are in search of transparency and due to internet, it is in the hands of the masses. So what can companies do? Do not tell what you are doing right, show what you are doing right. Start planting digital seeds and grow your authority, so people can see it for themselves.

Marketing Automation

After lunch I headed on to the marketing automation stage. I attended a session about attribution and that you have to choose the way you attribute the touchpoints of traffic, so it suits the customer journey of your potential client. This session was interesting but to me, no spectacular new insights were told.

Following this, I stayed at the marketing automation stage where Tim Karpisek of Raak held a talk about how to build a marketing automation strategy. The most interesting part was that he openly asked the ´marketing gurus´ to stop preaching new things because most of the companies have not mastered ´old/ basics´ yet. For his explanation, he used the Hype cycle. It was nice to come across a critical voice, because most gurus talk about new marketing tools like they are really easy to implement. Companies are struggling, and I think, we as an agency need to acknowledge that and keep our clients focused, so they can get their basics right.

Cloud, Infosecurity and Data


On the other side, Nelson rather focused on the Cloud / Infosecurity / Data talks. The morning wasn’t too agitated as the first session was cancelled due the speaker becoming a father. The next two sessions dealt with analytics and the fact is, they were really engaging: first came Funs Jansen, a Dutchman currently living in Duisburg who showed the audience how the dashboard developed by his company Havi works. After lunch, it was time for Jente de Ridder from Humix, who told the participants about why web analytics guys are key to digital leadership (couldn’t be more right Jente!). His presentation was illustrated with a small case study, which is always appreciated if the topic of your talk is web analytics 😊.

3 Impacting Talks

The afternoon was a bit more entertaining as there were more sessions to attend to. Three of them were particularly interesting.

The first speaker,  Nucleus‘ David Geens, told the audience about how expensive downtime can be for a company (did you know that 20% of companies still think being down for ½ a day is acceptable? Crazy, isn’t it?).

The second talk, was held by AI expert Fernando Lucini from Accenture Digital, who shared some very interesting data about human interaction with AI. What if I told you that 55% of human beings prefer talking to a bot instead with a normal person (as long as the bot gets it right)? Sounds like a bit scary, doesn’t it?

Niko Nelissen from was the speaker of the third and most impacting talk. He is a well-informed guy when it comes to AI and showed the public a few companies that are doing some amazing things: EyeEm, whose tech is able to tell if a certain picture is or is not visually attractive, or Jukedeck, a company whose AI creates musical tracks that will make your day!

Our Conclusion

In the end, Digital First came to be a nice experience for both of us. Although the organization should be improved a bit more on certain aspects (the sound wasn’t the best, let’s be honest), the talks were very entertaining and the atmosphere was great. I guess see you next year!

Lisa van der Heiden

Lisa is Consultant Online Marketing at morfire in the Brussels office. She has more than 8 years of online B2B experience, both on client and agency side. In 2016 she and her family moved from the Netherlands to Belgium and has been enjoying the city ever since.

5 / 5 (2 votes)

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