Goda Sniokaite: A Day in the Life

Goda Sniokaite: A Day in the Life

Goda will be leading our European expansion as we continue to increase our position as market leaders in customer-led experience strategy and marketing leading Digital Experience Platforms (DXP). Goda is based in our new Vilnius office and talks us through her typical day…

1. Please describe your job?

I am the newly-appointed Regional Director and my current focus areas revolve around the Vilnius office set up, collaboration with recruiters helping us grow our team locally and finally establishing the Delete / Kagool brand and internal culture here in Vilnius. Once these areas are running smoothly I will start focusing on business growth in the region.

2. What does a normal day look like?

Having in mind I’ve only just started, I wish I had a ‘normal day’! Currently, it’s pretty hectic, but I wouldn’t expect it to be otherwise during the initial set up phase when I have all parts of the organisation moving at the same time.

I come from a project management background and I still tend to organise my work into small projects. This helps me stay in line with greater strategic goals. When going from  project to project I tend to involve people around and make it a joint effort, I believe this increases team ownership and also brings everyone closer together.

3: Have you always worked in Vilnius?

Fun fact: my very first job was in London during the school summer holidays! I’ve also lived and worked in Birmingham, UK and Marseille, France. Then I moved back to Vilnius, but had a pretty long period of extensive business travel from Vilnius all over Europe.

4: What is the digital scene like there?

Dynamic! I guess Lithuanian readers will agree with me saying that Lithuania and especially Vilnius is in a very rapid transformation stage. There was a time when you would notice how the city has developed in the last ten years, now the change is very vivid in just five years. I’m sure every Lithuanian would proudly mention the fact that Lithuania has the fastest wifi with the best coverage in the world, now we are also moving to 5G. Using some of the latest technology enables us to be more sustainable and innovative in areas that aren’t just related to business, but also quality of life in the city.

5: What would you do there on a Sunday in the city?

Vilnius is a unique city where history meets nature. The entire Old Town area is on a UNESCO World Heritage list while also being one of the greenest capitals in Europe. For a slow Sunday I’d plan a brunch with friends and a stroll in the park – all by foot as Vilnius is also a very compact city.

6: What are your ambitions for the new office in Vilnius?

Delete / Kagool brings something unique to Lithuania – an end-to-end digital agency is still relatively rare find in our market. Having marketing and creative functions separate from technical delivery is considered a market standard. I’d like to change this view, because I think the combination of both worlds not only offers our clients a smoother experience, but also has a big effect on collaborative and creative culture internally.

7: What are your passions and how have they influenced your career?

Traveling has been my passion for a long time, I enjoy getting to know new cultures and local people. I believe this helps me a lot in my work, because underneath our roles & titles we are all people – remembering this is key.

I understand that talking about traveling during pandemic might sound odd, but to some extent I think majority of us accepted the pandemic restrictions a little too easily. This thought has hit me this winter when I felt the effects of the lockdown on my motivation and mental health in general. I’ve decided to work remotely for a while and spent two months in Africa. I felt completely reenergised to the extent that I’ve picked a new hobby while I was there – I learned to kitesurf. The feeling of being out in the open water and in sync with the wind is the definition of freedom for me. So I guess now I have two passions.

8. What is your favourite holiday destination?

For the last couple of years my absolutely favourite has been Mexico. I’ve spent three weeks there traveling across the country and there is still so much that I didn’t manage to fit in. However, after my newfound passion of kitesurfing I feel my criteria for a holiday destination are shifting. I’ve been searching for kitesurfing spots around the world and I guess my trips will be less touristic from now on.

9. What would your motto be?

Never waste a good crisis. The human brain excels under difficult conditions. Currently we are all united in the global pandemic crisis and how much have we already learned since the beginning of it all last year.

10. What advice would you give a marketer right now?

Accept the new normal. I think we sometimes waste the potential of the new by dearly holding onto the old habits.

The Digital Student Experience

It is fair to say that it is an uncertain time for the Higher Education (HE) sector and despite universities’ admirable rapid response to Covid-19, the pandemic has left its mark on student retention and recruitment. The sector is looking in all directions to stem the leak and restore confidence in the overall university offering. At Delete / Kagool, we look at ways that technology can intervene and improve the student experience. During our HE roundtable, we discussed our best practices to help universities attract, enrol and retain students through engaging digital services; as well as how best to compete and keep up with the rapid change of student expectations. We have put together the following takeaway insight to give the wider HE and digital communities a flavour of what was discussed.

Attracting – “Consistency is key

A recent report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, stated that 13 universities would end up with ‘negative reserves’ and would be at risk of insolvency without a bailout. With one of the biggest losses being likely to stem from falls in international student enrolments, ensuring that a premium experience is delivered across universities’ entire digital estates is of the highest priority to maximise recruitment. The scale of university websites and the multitude of audiences that they need to cater for makes designing a consistent experience that engages student prospects across the entire site a challenge. A challenge, but not an impossibility:

Due to their sheer scale, university website projects are often tackled in siloes – the choice of the CRM might be made separately to the CMS, student portal and booking engine, rather than approached from a joined-up perspective, where each department and stakeholder group acts as one, aligned to an overall strategy. By allocating budget to a larger framework rather than tackling specific areas of the site bit by bit, universities can begin to reap a better return on their investment. Across a larger framework, universities should focus on creating a powerful, scalable and flexible design system using a component-based approach that can, in time, be applied to all areas of the site. Similar levels of improvement can then be applied to ‘deeper level’ pages, such as research sections, as to more core locations in the student journey, such as search. Ultimately, delivering a consistent design experience across the entire site. This approach builds a better framework to enable internal teams to create richer experiences for everyone, retaining engagement during each site interaction.

Enrolling – “Get to know your students, really know them”

The disjointed student experience created by a siloed approach not only hinders the recruitment process but also infringes upon the enrolment process. Siloed internal systems often result in student data captured during the recruitment process being communicated inefficiently or lost entirely once a student is physically enrolled at university. This is a serious cause for concern given the enrichment possibility that this data could have on the student experience. A joined-up approach to internal technology systems can rectify this, creating a single view of the student throughout their university life. In turn, this facilitates a seamless process from enquiry to application and through to enrolment.

For a start, this ‘single view’ can be achieved making sure that the CRM is completely joined up with a strong taxonomy and tagging system to ensure that data is used correctly. With a connected system, universities can begin to catch bits of student behaviour from the website and tailor a ‘logged in’ student’s experience based on what is already known about them from past interactions. The whole journey of the student can then be tracked and adapted, exciting the student throughout the enrolment process with opportunities at university that may interest them. The more general, broad website that caters for is elevated to something that is tailored; adapting, and changing with the individual throughout the process.

Retaining – single view of a student, predict and identify trends

Even post-enrolment, universities are faced with an increased number of student drop-outs. The most recent data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) indicates that, on average, 6.4% of undergraduate students in the UK withdraw from their course. In an analysis of these official figures, PA Media found that two-thirds of universities and colleges had seen an increase in student dropouts in the last five years, resulting in the sector looking in all directions to stem the leak. The complexity surrounding the issue of student retention is evident in the fact that there is considerable diversity among those institutions with the lowest and highest non-continuation rates. The issue of student retention, it seems, can be faced by all. However, there are digital solutions on offer to aid universities in highlighting ‘at-risk’ students and better preventing future fall-out:

At university, students identify with the small microcosm within which they operate, making the student experience an extremely localised one. This has the potential to benefit universities. Technology can be used to create a customised onboarding programme based on the data that is already known about a student to enhance their experience. During an often-lonely time for a student, universities can personalise their experience, introducing the student to relevant schools and societies that may enrich their university life. Equally, if students fail to interact with the opportunities on offer or begin to engage less, there is technology available to automate responses and prompts on their portals that encourage students to seek help and guidance. The system can intervene and flag the need for manual intervention in the hopes of identifying a struggling student and helping before it is too late, predicting and identifying trends to aid student retention.

Compete – Keeping up with student expectations

 

We have been forced to move at pace because of the pandemic, but will we be able to sustain this hybrid mode of working after a partial return to the classroom? Maintaining a consistent experience alongside hybrid dual delivery will be tough. Investment into resources enabling that to happen must be applied to all areas of the university and above all be embedded into their overall digital strategy. Communication is key in ensuring that the return to the physical environment of university is a success. Universities can no longer work in a siloed approach and technology must be procured and implemented with all areas of the university in mind. A customer-first approach to planning that uses technology to facilitate thinking is a must. With a joined-up approach, universities can drive business efficiencies, anticipate changes and above all, create a better experience for their students.

These days, students desire more than a well-taught degree. Universities therefore require an agile mindset and a willingness to embrace innovation in order to keep pace with student expectations. With technology rapidly evolving, there is an opportunity to reshape the university experience around a data first, single view of a student. While universities are often thought to react and implement change slowly, the pandemic has instead proven that under external pressures, internal teams can implement new systems, agile ways of working, and new processes quickly and to the benefit of the organisation. Competing in the marketplace should be seen, too, as a pressure to be responded to with transformational models. In an increasingly tough and competitive market, this is how universities can cost-effectively and efficiently attract and retain the right talent.

The Covid-19 global pandemic has impacted every corner of the world, creating a crisis that has presented every international market with unprecedented challenges.

Lithuania has effectively confronted these challenges, and it’s now the home of Delete/Kagool’s new office and the center of their ambitious European expansion.

Lithuania rated first in Europe in Euromonitor’s International Recovery Index, where it was also named one of the five countries expected to fully recover with consumer demand.

This is largely as a result of an effective pandemic response, as well as a continued fiscal stimulus which reflects the country’s growing development as a digital media epicenter. According to the latest report by Invest Lithuania, 87% of fintechs operating in the country saw their revenue increase in 2020, a glowing representation of Lithuania’s market stability.

The capital, Vilnius, prides itself on being a completely digital collaborative space. Its transparent open-data policy allows businesses and citizens to access and contribute to a vast number of datasets, while its public wifi is ranked the fastest in the world.

This allows you to be plugged in, anywhere and anytime, with no barriers restricting the growth of your business. Solutions like these are part of a clear digital shift sweeping throughout Lithuania, and it has had a remarkable effect on its younger demographic.

Lithuania ranked second among countries in the EU for the highest share of young people with digital skills, with more than 90% of young Lithuanians having digital competencies. It’s these factors that have made Vilnius the preferred destination for businesses and young entrepreneurs.

Recent times have seen several internationally reputable companies choosing Vilnius as their center for presenting innovative changes to the digital industry. Some of these companies include IBM, Nasdaq and Revolut, as well as prominent start-ups Vinted, CityBee and Trafi.

Lithuania’s business-friendly ecosystem provides a flexible groundwork for these tech companies to blossom, including affordable office space, advantageous tax privileges and state support services. These features have culminated in an excitingly competitive market and have moved Vilnius into the top 25 of FDI’s Global Cities of the Future 2021/22.

Vilnius’s reputation as a smart city is only possible through its approach towards work-life balance, a natural fit for the efficient culture at Delete/Kagool. The compact nature of the city means most destinations can be travelled to by cycling or walking, allowing less time commuting to work and more time for leisure activities.

The office is situated in Vilnius’s Old Town, a youthful and vibrant coworking space, with some of the best bars in the presence of stunning historic architecture. This attitude is not only important for the physical and mental wellbeing of the agency’s employees, but also contributes to a local business community ripe with opportunity for cooperative business growth.

Goda Sniokaite, Delete/Kagool’s regional director in Europe, said: “The city has been transformed over the past ten years as young people have returned to settle in the city; bringing an international flavor not only to the food but also to the digital culture here. It is loud, vibrant, ambitious city; a wonderful place to live and work.”

Delete/Kagool is currently looking for frontend and backend developers, experienced designers, business analysts and more to join the team.

Despite a difficult year and extraordinary circumstances with the Covid-19 pandemic, Delete / Kagool has maintained its position of delivering market-leading customer solutions and transforming the digital experience. Our leadership team has succeeded in preserving the collaborative and supportive nature of our process through maximising resources and employing flexible working practices, making working from home part of our ‘new normal’.

Furthermore, we’ve continued investing in our teams by supplying full training opportunities, from Sitecore MVP programmes to user experience qualifications. More importantly, our comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme persists on supporting staff that encounter personal problems that may affect their well-being, work performance and health. We are as committed as ever to driving innovation through our multichannel services and trust our group of diversely skilled specialists to continue creating impactful experiences.

Vicki Richards, Employee Experience Director at Delete / Kagool, said:

“As a thank you to all the staff at Delete / Kagool for their recent efforts, our Group CEO Dan Berry has given the team an extra day off for May bank holiday weekend. The well-being and morale of the Delete / Kagool family is integral to our culture and success, as we approach a busy and exciting summer/Q2 for the company.”

We’re extremely proud to be recognised in these awards, and a huge congratulations to all of the team at Delete / Kagool.

We are thrilled to be recognised in the top 50 after a solid team effort from everyone at Delete / Kagool despite the extremely challenging circumstances of the past year. Under the direction of our new senior management team, our freshly merged agency has been going from strength to strength. We are strengthening existing client relationships with the likes of Biffa, Leeds Beckett University, Barratt Homes whilst acquiring new ones which we are excited to announce soon.

Our chief financial officer, Ali Saigar commented on the success:

“It is always a pleasure to be ranked among the best in your industry and to have broken the Top 10 for the first time in Prolific North’s Top 50 Digital Agencies is an awesome achievement. Delete / Kagool’s impressive ranking this year is a testament to the hard work from all of the team over what has been a difficult past 12 months. Congratulations everyone!”

The Top 50 Digital Agencies is anchored on financials including balance sheet/shareholder funds, turnover, pre-tax profit, headcount and growth, with the information and data sourced from the agencies themselves and confirmed with the financial reporting company fame Bureau van Dijk and data at Companies House.

A massive congratulations to all our teams, without whom, recognitions like these would not be possible.

Goda will be leading the our European expansion from Delete / Kagool’s new offices in Vilnius, Lithuania, as we continue to increase our position as market leaders in customer-led experience strategy and Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs).

Reporting directly to the Group CEO, Dan Berry, Goda will be based in pour new Vilnius office, initially focused on establishing and scaling in-country presence and company culture as well as business development in the wider region.

Goda brings impressive experience, having worked at Barclays, IBM, DXC and most recently as In Country Manager for Lithuania at Macaw.

Commenting on her arrival Goda said:

“I am absolutely delighted to become part of the Delete/Kagool team. During my initial talks with Dan, I was impressed with the ambition and attitude towards the agency’s growth and future strategy whilst keeping focused on people and the core values of the company. We are kicking off with the Vilnius office setup now and I’m thrilled about it. A very exciting time ahead!”

Commenting on the appointment, Group CEO, Dan Berry said:

“We are delighted to be opening our new office in Vilnius and equally thrilled that Goda will be joining us to spearhead our regional growth. It’s an exciting time full of opportunity and innovation as we adapt to the new normal. Goda brings impressive experience and will help us continue to scale with our clients across Europe as we help them deliver on their customer promises.”

About Delete/Kagool ….

Delete/Kagool is an award-winning, independent digital agency of more than 160 specialists. We unify the real and digital worlds by creating great experiences that matter to people in their daily lives. We offer a seamless blend of product, technology and performance services. Our specialist teams work in unity with our clients to deliver digital change at scale. We are famous for our work with leading brands including The Open, Biffa, Barratt Homes, Welsh Water and Southampton FC.

To arrange an interview with Goda or Dan, or for more information about our services and global growth plans please contact Miranda Glover, Group Head of Marketing at miranda.glover@bekagool.com

For people who have been working with the Sitecore CMS for a long time, their acquisition of Boxever might seem like a bit of an odd choice.

As a tool that provides user analytics data management, personalisation decisions and “experiences”, it seems as if it duplicates a chunk of what Sitecore does already with its xConnect framework.

So why is this an interesting purchase?

The key lies with the move towards “as a service” solutions to our content management challenges. The landscape for CMS is changing with the rise of JAMStack, Content as a Service and similar buzzwords, and this acquisition forms part of Sitecore’s strategy to meet these changes head on, and provide the benefits we’re used to from their systems in new ways.

Sitecore’s first foray into the SaaS market is focused around their Content Hub product. They’ve brought a Headless CMS approach to market there, and they’re releasing new hosting technology with their “Experience Edge” products, to help you move away from the need for Content Delivery servers. But what’s been missing from this roadmap so far is any talk of how personalisation should work with these new ways of delivering content. And that is where Boxever fits in.

Firstly it’s solving the problem of how you manage and track your website users in a SaaS world. Its descriptions are very similar to that of xConnect. It tracks customers and their interactions. It allows real-time gathering and querying of this data. And it allows you to mesh this information with your other business data. But because it’s SaaS you don’t have to host it. And that removes one of the challenges of xConnect – data tends to grow over time, and for smaller organisations, that data can become a challenge. So the Boxever acquisition gives Sitecore a way to offer these features to their CaaS websites without the infrastructure challenges their existing technology might bring.

Secondly, it provides a decision-making system to take your analytics and business data, and use these to make real-time choices about what content to show customers. This is similar sounding to the Rules Engine behaviour in the current Sitecore CMS, but it’s more visual and more easily extended for SaaS sites than the traditional model. Boxever’s model gives you a visual decision editor, which allows you to combine data sources to make decisions from. You can pick data from your site analytics, but also from external systems that your admins plumb in. External data sources like order management or loyalty systems can work, but also external Machine Learning or AI systems help categorise data. And you can bring this data together using decision tables (which anyone familiar with Excel should be able to use) or JavaScript code for more advanced scenarios. These decisions can be integrated into your website to help it make choices about what content to show to which users, bringing personalised behaviour into the JAMStack and CaaS world.

Thirdly, Boxever gives you a framework for testing the effect of these decisions on your site, and analysing the outcomes of the tests. You can configure these tests in their product, and customise them to match your needs – what percentage of users see a test at all and which segments of users see which variants in the tests can be set via a simple UI. And you can also run “silent” tests, where it will measure what would have been personalised on your site without changing anything – allowing you to prove to yourself your setup works before releasing it to your users. Unlike the Sitecore CMS, Boxever’s approach isn’t tied to a specific delivery mechanism, so it’s worth considering that this approach can be used with phone apps, kiosks or other channels you need to run.

Overall this acquisition doesn’t bring a radically different approach to personalisation, but like the rest of the CaaS concept, it provides you with flexibility. You now have an as-a-service alternative to xConnect which you can use for your JAMStack sites, elsewhere in your omni-channel landscape. If this model fits your project plans, then it’s available to use now. And if your needs lie more with the more traditional approaches, then the Experience Platform is still the right place to start. And hybrid approaches based around Sitecore’s JSS offerings are likely to be helpful to some organisations too.

To find out how your brand can benefit from Boxever and our wider DXP services, get in touch.

Geoff Lentin / CGO

Please describe your job: what do you do? Talk us through your typical day at Delete / Kagool

I’m Chief Growth Officer at the agency, which is a fancy way of saying I lead our new business and marketing function. OverallI work with the teams to set the new biz and marketing strategy and processes for the group, positioning ourselves in the market to attract the right businesses and getting our approach right to help convert them into clients. 

 A typical day will involve tea, check-ins with some of the SMT, tea, catching up on what’s new across the agency, what’s in the pipeline, tea, recent pitches, strategy and reporting. 

 I work closely with our group head of marketing, Miranda, who makes my role one of simply signing off on her good ideas.  

I have regular check-ins with our technology partners, talking about joint marketing opportunities, reviewing our partner tiering and pipeline and figuring out ways to work better together.  

I’m less heavily involved in the day-to-day pitching these days – so can’t include it in my typical day, but I still get to roll my sleeves up every now and again. We’ve always got something we’re working on, whether it’s lead generation, responding to RFPs, setting up intros with prospects, combing our database for opportunities. So, I try to be a sounding board for the new biz team, coaching when we need to unstick a problem and facilitating the process. 

What are your passions, and how have they impacted the direction of your career?

There’s no golden thread to this, I’m afraid. The two things – passions and career – are pretty mutually exclusive for me. Music is the love of my life (alongside my fiancé, of course) and I’ve been writing music for 15 years or so. My other big passion is psychology. I had an early midlife crisis and at the age of 30 went off to do a degree in it, followed by a Masters. It was purely selfindulgent. It’s helped me develop a lot of useful skills but it would be a tenuous link to say this led me into the business development world. But it’s definitely a help now that I’m here. 

Which has been your most memorable pitch win over your career?

The most memorable ones are where the whole pitch team is in sync and collaborates. I like the pitches where we built up a personal relationship with the people on the client side, so that, on the day, conversation flows and you can go off on useful tangents to explore ideas together. We’ve had too many great wins with great brands to single any of them out, but they all have those things in common. 

Which three people would you invite to a dinner party?

If I don’t invite my fiancé to a dinner party that’s probably being held at our house, I don’t think she’d forgive me. So, 1. Kate – because it would be impossible to hide it from her. 2. Melvyn Bragg – he must be great value at a dinner party. He’s talked to every expert about basically every topic ever, so he must have some great facts and anecdotes. 3. Michael Jordan – he defined my childhood. 

You are invited to the ultimate music concert. Dead or alive, you can watch 3 artists, who would you choose?

Prince. I had the chance to see him live and missed it. I will never get over that. 

Fauré. Composed some of my favourite ever music. 

Aretha Frankin. That. Voice. 

 What is your favourite holiday destination?

I’m definitely more into exploring cities-type holidays. So, Chicago. Waterfront vibes mixed with cityscape, mixed with lakeside marinas, beaches, open air concerts, blues, jazz, original deep pan pizza and basketball.  

What would be your motto?

I don’t have any of my ownbut I am a bit of a quote hoarder. The composer Leonard Bernstein said that to achieve great things, two things are needed: A good plan and not quite enough time.  

That sums up life in new biz pretty well. 

What have your learnings from lockdown been?

Maybe I’m not quite as bad a cook as I thought. Video games can beat Hollywood in escapism, drama, storytelling and emotion any day of the week. 

Don’t put things off. 

What advice would you give a marketer right now?

Experiment with new ideas. Challenge old ones. Get your head around insights and how to create them. 

Our Solution Architects and Sitecore Strategy MVPs Kate Orlova and Anna Gevell will talk us through how to merge Sitecore xDB profile data with Microsoft Dynamics customer data to achieve a single customer view. This tried and tested approach powers timely and accurate personalised experiences from rich user profiles everytime.

They will be covering the following:

  1. Pushing Sitecore xDB contacts and profile scores captured online to Microsoft Dynamics when users register, submit a form or download assets
  2. Pulling Microsoft Dynamics customer data captured offline via phone calls or physical store visits.

If you have any questions about the upcoming event please contact us or get in touch on our social channels. We can’t wait to see you all there.

We’ve been shortlisted in both the Largest Site and Best Integration categories. The Special Jury Awards undergo scrutiny by a Kentico committee of technical specialists. We are beyond proud of the team for this double commendation at this level, taking our total mentions at the awards to 4!

Commenting on the latest achievement, Wilfred Tienzo, Head of IT at Winkworth said:

“Delete’s expertise in the property sector, combined with their approach to both the development and delivery of our site, fits perfectly with our core objectives for this project. Their approach has helped us develop a platform which clearly addresses the needs of the end user and, working in partnership with Delete, we will continue to evolve our customers’ online experience and offer a market-leading service.”

After a turbulent year for the property sector, we are pleased to have delivered a solid digital platform from which Winkworth can provide outstanding digital customer experience. The property market is constantly evolving and highly competitive meaning a high performing digital platform is absolutely paramount to success. Integrated with an extensive amount of property data, Winkworth’s new site enables the easy management of property listing in-house with unique features that stand out in a crowded market. Kentico Xperience was perfectly placed to digitally assert Winkworth’s long standing and highly regarded position within the property sector.

Our Managing Director Andy Ferries also shared his appreciation for the achievement:

“It’s always amazing to get accolades for the work we deliver and it’s an incredible accomplishment to be recognised by Kentico in their 2020 Site of the Year. It’s fantastic to have had the opportunity to deliver this replatform project for Winkworth and they were brilliant to work with throughout. We’re proud to share this achievement with them and everyone involved.”

In a period of increased online customer demand, property firms need personalised engagement that converts more easily to secure their share of a crowded market. We would love to work with you on a world renowned solution too – get in touch here to find out more.