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Post Event Report: WP Engine Summit 2018

Partnerships are one of the many ways we grow our brand and provide world-class, end-to-end solutions to our clients. We look to establish relationships with key partners who we think would add value to or benefit our clients. One of those relationships in particular is with WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting company that WebDevStudios (WDS) has been working with for the past six-plus years.

Managed hosting isn’t that sexy (I’ll admit it, because I used to work in managed WordPress hosting), but you’d be surprised at the types of technical solutions and implementations that our clients bring to our attention. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for any website, and so we leverage our relationships to find the right solutions unique to our clients’ needs. Our goal is to provide reliable options with great partners, who would also make great partners for our customers at the end of the day.

So when WP Engine announced their second annual Summit, we jumped at the opportunity to attend. We went last year and valued the networking with fellow agencies, brands, and the opportunities to have face-to-face time with the WP Engine team. We knew attending this year would benefit both WDS and our clients. The theme for this year was ‘Breakthrough,’ which gave us the chance to discuss how to win the next generation, debate the next technologies, and learn how to leverage upcoming WordPress trends to create a breakthrough for our business.

The WP Engine Summit was held at their headquarters in Austin, Texas, which also happens to be where I live, but I was joined by our COO, Lisa Sabin-Wilson, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Jodie Riccelli, Director of Business Development, who flew in from Philadelphia.

Featured (l-r): Jodie Riccelli, Director of Business Development and Shayda Torabi, Director of Marketing.

The event itself was extremely well-run and thought out. The speakers and topics focused on the future of the web and how we as agencies can begin to dissect some of the data being collected and apply it to breaking through the noise and leveraging it to drive our business towards achieving our goals.

There was a talk by Jason Dorsey, a Millennial and a member of Generation Z (Gen-Z), who founded the Center for Generational Kinetics. He spoke on the future of digital trends, including the necessity of engaging, attracting, and winning over the Millennial and Gen-Z audience. He shared stats from a study commissioned by WP Engine and the Center for Generational Kinetics that highlighted some interesting numbers. For example, 90% of the world’s data was created in the last 12 months, which means that as content creation and dissemination increases in frequency, brands and businesses need to be prepared to react to and address that challenge.

Another great highlight was by WP Engine founder and CTO, Jason Cohen. He was calling out that most enterprise brands (53% of them, actually) use multiple content management systems (CMS) to execute their digital goals. That part wasn’t too shocking, considering that WordPress is still one of the leaders up against Adobe Experience Manager and Sitecore.

What was surprising were the reasons why these brands were using multiple CMS platforms in the first place:

  • Quicker time to market
  • Ease of use
  • Agility when it comes to incorporating WordPress into that stack

As a marketer, you’re going to use multiple tools to get the job done; that’s inevitable. But being able to confidently identify ‘why WordPress,’ whether you’re an agency, freelancer, or brand in the space is going to set you up for success.

Lots of the talks touched on Gutenberg, which launches with WordPress core 5.0 on November 19. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a new editing experience for WordPress that’s intended to is to make creating and editing content much more user-friendly and help raise the bar and lower the learning curve when it comes to launching content on WordPress. It’s a major shift in the WordPress platform, and anyone who is on WordPress needs to be familiar with it and understand how it will impact their business.

Overall, there were great conversations being had at the WP Engine Summit. We walked away with invaluable knowledge not only about our industry but about the digital market as a whole. And as always, had a great time connecting with everyone who attended, including each other!

Did you attend WP Engine Summit 2018? What were your takeaways? We invite you to share them with us in the comments below.

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