A stranger at Conversion Camp

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Conversion Camp event in the Netherlands (Utrecht). No, I wasn’t converted to anything when the day was done, but I did enjoy the various sessions that were given by the attendees. The catch here is that I am a technical person, and the event was more focused on marketeers. I was a developer peeping into the fairly mysterious world of marketing.

Conversion Camp is an un-conference about all things related to conversion optimization (CRO). “Un-conference” means that the attendees need to host sessions, other attendees can join the sessions, and then everyone discusses the specified topic. A slogan you might hear at un-conferences is “Speakers should be attendees, and attendees should be speakers”, meaning that there shouldn’t be 1 speaker, and a bunch of listeners. Instead, every session should be an interactive experience between all attendees.

Let’s have a look at the sessions I have attended:

Session 1: Marketplace Website KPIs
The first session was hosted by someone working for a company that matches parents with caretakers. Parents and caretakers alike are able to sign in on the website, and look for either kids to look after, or to look for someone to look after their kids. The host was looking for insights and inspiration as to what the main KPIs of the website could be. About 12 attendees were present at this session, and they happily participated into thinking about these KPIs. In the end, no answer was set in stone, but I’m sure the host had some new ideas to work with.
Session 2: Display vs Search Advertizing
This session was hosted by a person who was looking for more effective ways to advertize, and most attendees as well. The fact that an advertizement that works for someone else will not necessarily work for you, and that you should look at what your competitors are doing, was the main discussion during this session.
Session 3: Site updates gone wrong
During this session, everybody shared their stories of things that can have gone wrong, or can go wrong, when a website is being updated, or optimized. Please enjoy this little list of things that came up during this session:

  • Splitting design and functionality changes
  • Forgetting analytics tracking code
  • SEO (redirecting issues, indexing issues, …)
  • Landing Page Tests
  • Exceptions tracking (client side errors)
  • Loading time
  • Too many changes at once
  • Unaware stakeholders
Session 4: Emailing Best Practices
This session was hosted by someone who hasn’t been in the field for a long time, and needed some help with his emailing. During the session, many best practices and things to look out for were mentioned. This session might have opened his eyes to many different aspects of email marketing!
Session 5: Cloud Storage Advertizing
Here, a person was struggling to advertize to the right groups of people. He was looking for a very specific group of people: photographers who were not yet introduced to the wonderful world of cloud storage, or looking for a better system for storing their photos. Very few people attended this session, but having a small amount of people in a session, makes the session extremely interactive!
Session 6: Quitting your job as a CRO specialist
Someone who had recently quit their job as a CRO specialist, was talking about why he had done that. He was working for a company that still had some old-timers working in the marketing department. He attempted various times to convince them of the modern ways of marketing, but was rarely able to receive the budget necessary to do what he wanted to do. In the end, he left the company in search for a job where he can really make a difference.
Session 7: Marketing on a budget
There were very few people in this session (4, including me). The attendees were discussing ideas and tips about how to gather users for a small business or project without spending lots of money on marketing.
Session 8: CRO Horror Stories
To round up the sessions, the last one I attended was one where everyone told their biggest blunders during their career as a marketeer, and after your story, you drink a shot of liquor of your choice. The majority of stories told were about mistakes during A/B tests.

After all the sessions were finished, everybody gathered around for a drink and a snack. After that, we went to a restaurant for some more drinks and dinner. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the event, including myself.

Should you go to Conversion Camp?
Yes, you definitely should. If you have any interest in the field, I’m sure you’ll find yourself enjoying the various sessions. And if you feel up to it, you should definitely host one, or multiple, sessions yourself!