by James Fountain
25 local companies attended the Go Digital Conference on Monday 8 October at the Aspire building in Central Leeds.
The overall aim of the conference was to provide companies with the inspiration to improve their use of technology in marketing their products.
In his presentation, Ben Stoney, digital development director of Savvy Marketing, told delegates that the main aim of using technologies like virtual reality (VR) was to “take customers out of their comfort zone in order to introduce them to new products.”
Stoney demonstrated that VR and AR (Augmented Reality) could enhance the customer experience and encourage a better connection between companies and their customers.
Examples presented were Jaguar – whose ambition is to “merge the car with the world” through AR technology – and the 2016 Rio Olympics, which used VR technology to simulate cycling and biking events, enhancing customer experience of the event by allowing a realistic simulation of what they were watching.
Many of the conference attendees promoting their digital design businesses were focused on SMEs (smaller to medium-sized businesses), and digitisation is seen as an important way of enlarging their customer base.
Marco Sarussi, 26, a director of Green Gecko Digital, a web design company based in Leeds, said his company focused mainly on helping other Leeds companies with fewer than 250 employees.
“We have seen companies go from having a revenue of literally zero to £30,000 a month with our guidance, simply through the improvements we have made to their websites – we are personal, face-to-face, and are there at every step of the process.
“It’s very satisfying for both the customers and ourselves when it all comes together.”
Daneile Moore, communications and marketing manager at Ad:venture in Leeds, explained her company were interested in SMEs of up to three years in age and which gross less than 50 million euros in annual profit.
In his presentation, Pascale Fintoni of Pascale Fintoni & Associates, a digital marketing and social media expert, said that by 2020, customer service would be the new marketing.
He said: “We are less than 18 months away from customers becoming more demanding – we need to start showing what we do.”
The event was hosted by Digital Knowledge Exchange, and was sponsored by the European Union Regional Development Fund and various local city councils, including Leeds and Bradford.