A full day of behavioral data: This was WHAT Conference 2017!

WHAT started out as a crazy idea. It was conceptualized over lunch and became our bread and butter over the last couple of months. It all came together on April 26th in Amsterdam. By the way, did you know the real name behind WHAT? The unofficial meaning is ‘Wakoopa Has Awesome Technology’.


Jokes aside, we decided to create WHAT for a purpose. WHAT is aiming to impact market research and encourage the industry to embrace the opportunity of data by working towards a user-centric, data-driven future. The fact is: data is the new research.

Welcome to WHAT!

The beautiful morning of April 26th was the start for this year’s WHAT Conference hosted at TQ Amsterdam. With this gorgeous view over the city from the balcony of the venue, we appreciated the weather being our friend almost during the whole day!


The first important point on our agenda: Welcoming our attendees warmly with valuable goodies and a nice breakfast to prepare them for a day packed with a lot of inspiration, knowledge and networking.



At WHAT, our world doesn’t just revolve around behavioral data. We also care about the world we live in, and want to make sure it is preserved for the next generations. In order to do our little bit to help, we made the items in the goodie bag out of as many recycled and reusable materials as we could. Our favorite: The special WHATer bottle to help reduce plastic waste from disposable water containers:


The air was thick with love and excitement for data. Everybody was curious to see the upcoming talks!


The opening words were given by our very own Simon, Managing Director of Wakoopa, who led the conference during the conference day.

"Invest in the skills, the people and the organization to harness data and give you the methodologies and insights that allow you to compete in the future of research."

"If you build it, they will come!"

As you can see, they came:


99% of the 152 registered market research and data professionals from all over the world showed up at WHAT to share strategies, best practices and valuable insights about behavioral data.


The longest travel distance to WHAT Conference: 9,305 kilometers

Mostly thanks to our numerous attendees from Japan!


17 speakers | 9 different nationalities

What would have been a better opening talk than inspiring the audience with creativity! Emmanuel Flores, Innovation Director at JWT Amsterdam, was kicking of with an award-winning case study, demonstrating how data can fuel creativity, or, in other words, how ideas can be supported by technology: THE NEXT REMBRANDT.


From creativity, to data, to insights, to vizualization

The opening talk was followed by loads of diverse talks to shed light on all different angles of behavioral data. Here are some snapshots from the sessions during the day:

image13 "Finding the right touchpoint - shifting the focus from reach to the quality of engagement" by Ansie Lombaard & Chris Davies, Kantar. Thank you both for taking the long journey all the way from South Africa!


"Machine learning for behavioral analytics" by Steve Dodson, Elastic. Steve dove deeply into machine learning techniques and the logistics behind such methodologies.


"Around the world with behavioral data" by Pavel Vilensky, Wakoopa. Analyzing 28 years of behavioral data from 8 different countries? It’s actually not that complex.


"How marketing research will become free" by Maarten Stramrood, VodafoneZiggo. A provocative talk about how market researchers can remain relevant and save themselves from extinction.

Constructive breaks




Get back to work!


"The future of data visualization" by Gert Franke, CLEVER°FRANKE. "Don't throw information to people, tell a story!"


"When reality hits: understand predictive behaviors today to prepare for the AR and VR experiences of tomorrow" by Anjali Lai, Forrester. Thanks for coming all the long way from the US!

Before the final part of presentations, it was definitely time for a sugar boost!


83% of our post-survey respondents rated the food at the conference with 4+ stars. Our guess: It was because they "loved the red velvet cake". More than 80% of the cake was eaten – not a bad result as we had plenty ;) You should try it!


With their bellies full of cake, the WHAT Datathon winner teams presented their solutions...



...and got awarded with fame and prizes!


The day was wrapped up by Marc Tollens and Jan van der Vegt from KLM with their talk about "Predicting your next destination @KLM". KLM’s site leverages behavioral algorithms that can predict future travel destinations with 98% accuracy based on the visitors’ last search!

Our next destination: #WHAT18

The event was not just talks! We had a pre-event datathon, a half-day behavioral data workshop, a pre-event networking session and last but not least: the after-event drinks after the closing of the conference.

Party on!

The evening was laid back and filled with lovely music, delicious refreshments, interesting conversations, ...

image32 image31 image26 image33 image28

...and ended with a lot of empty glasses!

WHAT a day!

Here are a few examples of the many comments the world’s first behavioral data conference triggered:

"Great initiative, great atmosphere, interesting people."

"Diverse content, not sales-y."

"Fantastic job - amazing venue, very well organised, good communication throughout, very well done!"

"Learned a lot, and great conversations afterwards."

"It was very informative and the networking was good. I'm still new to the world of behavioural data and this has been an eye-opener."

"You simply have to attend if you want to know what's going on in behavioral reasearch."

"Not enough people are seeing the value of behavioral data and how it can drive strategic decision making."

"Great conference for every marketing analyst, really nice (informal) vibe, great experience!"

"Please do another one of these! :)"

Key take-aways from WHAT Conference 2017

Still wondering, if you should attend the next edition of WHAT?

94% of the people who answered our post-event survey rated the show 4+ stars!

94% will consider to attend WHAT Conference again and would recommend the event to their colleagues and/or friends.

We were aiming to create something fresh, inspiring, enjoyable and knowledgeable. WHAT has proven to connect data and research professionals. Besides providing a day of learning from all kinds of companies within the consumer insights industry, it provided an interactive environment for networking and new business opportunities.

Moreover, we were able to create the conference without any additional monetary investment, even without any sponsorships.

Our goal will always be to become better and grow. Aiming for an increase in attendees and speakers will also enable us to cluster the talks in different tracks (e.g. data, technology, insights), so every attendee can create an individual schedule which fits their interests best.

Thanks, everybody!

First, thanks everybody for attending. Without you, this event wouldn’t have been nearly as amazing it was! Thanks for all the comments and ideas as well. We will take them to heart!

Also a huge 'Thank you' to all our speakers for contributing to the success of the very first edition of WHAT!


Thanks to TQ for making your lovely event space available to us! 72% of the people who filled in our post-event survey rated the venue with 5 out of 5. You truly have a beautiful space!

A big shout out to Simon, who was not not only an awesome Host at WHAT, but who is also a wonderful Managing Director at Wakoopa. Thank you for your time, flexibility, optimism, but also for giving us so much freedom in creating this event! It has been such a great experience to build something from scratch – and it's impressive to see WHAT is possible with a team that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, if you have the right people. And you are one of them!

And of course a big thank you to all Wakoopians who supported us before, during and after the conference!


More information

  • Most of the presentations from the conference are available for download as a pdf-version here.

  • For more images from WHAT head to the conference facebook page.


Awake your inner child, go out and explore. Be curious. Have fun. Fail. Try again. Kick ass. Exceed your own expectations. Shake off boredom. Amaze and be amazed.

All the best,
Your WHAT Conference Team