Ektron Synergy 2014

Last week, Dave Malins and I spent a few days in Boston at Ektron's annual global conference Synergy. Here's a few reasons why it was awesome.

Faith in the product

We love Ektron, we've been working with it for years, and while we're always keeping an eye on what other people are doing with the platform, our focus is normally firmly on our client's projects. So once in a while it's great to connect with other customers and hear how Ektron's supporting their businesses.

One of the stand-out sessions was from Walmart, who use EKtron not only to power 20+ marketing sites on top of a shared 'Common Access Platform', which has massively reduced the time it takes to get these kind of sites launched, but also to deliver their colleague intra/extranet.

The numbers cited in the presentation were huge:

  • 1.1 million associates using regularly
  • 600k visitors a week
  • 20m page views
  • 6m logins a month

At peak times, such as Xmas, they have 90,000 associates logging in every hour. If the site goes down, people don't know what shifts they're working or how much they've been paid. So the site can't go down.

We experienced something similar when our client Spurs sold Gareth Bale for a record-breaking £85m last September: the transfer generated a huge spike in traffic to the site - something like 1000% normal levels- and the site held up perfectly.

To know that Ektron is underpinning such business critial sites gives us a great deal of confidence in proposing it as not just a marketing site (at which it's great) but as a reliable, utterly dependable piece of software in more demanding applications.

Future of the product

We work in a scarily fast-paced world, which can sometimes be confusing and difficult to keep with. As ever, Ektron has it's finger on the pulse with a few really interesting developments, such as its Content Marketing Platform (CMP - on which we'll write more shortly), and Persona Management capabilities.

Marketing is changing all the time. As an agency, I'd like to think we're bang up to date with these changing practices, and it's great to know we have a technology partner that we don't have to drag along with us, but one that's right up here with us, pushing the boundaries of in-bound marketing, data-driven personalisation and closed-loop, automated marketing.

Friendly, familiar faces

This is my third Synergy, and Dave's first, but every time I'm struck by the energy and enthusiasm, not just of the Ektron staff, but active members in the community, and other partners and customers. Everyone is keen to share their experiences, either after one of the sessions, in the one-to-one's with Ektron's expert staff, or over a beer or two in the evening.

"The Experience is the Brand"

Scott Brinkner's excellent keynote on Marketing Technology featured the phrase 'the experience is the brand', and Ektron, again, delivered a great experience that perfectly reflects the brand. They mixed excellent guest keynote speakers (like the aforementioned Scott Brinkner and Joe Paluzzi's) with behind-the-scenes looks at new or beta functionality, and insightful, practical best-practice sessions. Everyone went out of their way to ensure that we got access to the right people, making great introductions to other clients, Ektron guys or partners. Sessions ran to time, we were well fed and watered, and even taken out on a tour of Boston harbor for a floating samba lesson!

We've said it before: we feel like we don't just work with Ektron's software - we work with its people more. Ektron Synergy is a great way to connect, not just with Ektron's energetic staff, but also other customers and partners. One of our post-Synergy resolutions was to get more involved in the community between conferences - via the Dev Community, Partner and Customer portals, on Twitter and via Open Hours for example.

So, next time we go, there'll be even more friendly faces we can share a chat and a beer or two with!