It was such an amazing day! On 11 April it was time for the fourth edition of The Digital Dutch: the business event on digital innovation. All who took part were extremely impressed by all the digital tours de force demonstrated by KPN and its partners at the event. We spoke to Alle Welling, product owner at KPN, about this spectacular event.
It sounds like you really had to be there to experience just how incredible it was...
“I’m afraid so”, Alle says. With almost 14,000m² of digital inspiration, top speakers, and an impressive integration of the main programme and the innovation floor, it’s hardly surprising that KPN’s clients, both large-scale businesses and SMEs, gave the event a rating of 8.6. “We raised the bar with this edition. And it paid off: 2019’s The Digital Dutch was even more innovative and impactful than those of previous years. Take a look at our ‘aftermovie’ for an impression.
”But let’s rewind a bit – how did The Digital Dutch come about?“
About four years ago, more and more companies were struggling with digital transformation problems. KPN was able to answer a lot of their questions, but obviously couldn’t solve all the challenges that came up. With our extensive network – we have partners like Microsoft, Cisco and Samsung – we’re keen to bring companies and sectors together. This helps our customers to move forward. And that’s exactly what we aim to do with The Digital Dutch. It’s important that, in addition to the event, we provide an online platform with valuable content and that, with the KPN Digital Dutch Xperience, we have a multifunctional space in Zoetermeer which customers can turn to with their digital issues.
”Events are expensive marketing tools – how do you determine their success?
“At KPN we do that in various ways. It all starts with the fact that we enjoy offering our customers a great event as a way of showing our appreciation for the collaboration. We’ve also observed that the event makes a positive contribution to KPN’s brand experience. But obviously we consider the commercial result as well: how does the sales funnel develop after the event? Every year we work with marketing, sales, and portfolio management to create The Digital Dutch. Having sales involved right from the start increases the event’s commercial success.
”The Digital Dutch is a KPN event, but the emphasis isn’t on KPN. Tell us more about that.
“We made a deliberate decision to introduce The Digital Dutch as a brand. The focus is on digital innovation content, not on our product or service offering. Obviously we contribute a lot of relevant knowledge. KPN’s top management has a visible presence at the event and enters into the dialogue with participants right away. This demonstrates the commitment of the entire organisation. Customers greatly appreciate that.”What did your clients like best about the event?“On 11 April the focus was on sharing various digital innovations, but also on experiencing them. On the innovation plaza participants skated while wearing special sensor suits, which allowed them to monitor their results on a screen in real time. The fact that you can learn something, but can actually do it yourself, plays a key role in The Digital Dutch’s success. Our visitors were also amazed by the Lightyear One, an electric car with bodywork partly made up of solar panels. It’s a Dutch invention, and one we can be proud of!
”How has Jaarbeurs contributed to the event’s success?
“We had higher ambitions this year, so we made a deliberate decision to move the event to the Jaarbeurs. The central location certainly played a role in attracting more attendees. At first we weren’t sure whether we’d be able to create enough atmosphere and intimacy in a single large space, but the result exceeded expectations. The atmosphere was fabulous and – another very important factor – the food and the service were top-notch.
”‘Digital Disneyland’ is how one of the speakers referred to the event. How are you going to achieve that again next year?
“This year it was very clear: the core concept, realised in close collaboration with the agencies Steam and Fjuze, is rock-solid. The form and content came together seamlessly. So we want to achieve at least the same level of ambition in 2020.”