Interview with Els Aerts – Founder of AGConsult

Els Aerts runs AGConsult with Karl Gilis. Karl will be holding a workshop on Wednesday, June 5th.  Els will be speaking at Digital Elite on Thursday, June 6th about “The Art of the Question”.  I ask Els about her talk and setting up her own business with Karl Gilis.


You set up AGConsult with Karl very early on in your career.  What gave you the confidence to start your own company just 3 years after finishing university?

“I never really thought of it as a sign of confidence. Karl and I enjoyed working together and we didn’t really feel like we were able to do our best work at the company we were at at the time.
Starting a company together just seemed like the best way to work together doing something we both liked to do and were good at. I think it was more a matter of being young and slightly naive than really confident and courageous.

Lunch with the AG team

How would you encourage a company to prioritise research?

If there’s even the slightest budget for research, I think you can highlight its importance. By sharing your findings company-wide, getting people involved in the research and proving that the research has led to bottom line improvements. If you aren’t doing any research yet, I’d try and give examples from other companies where research has really paid off.



Your talk is about “the art of the question”.  Do you think asking questions needs to be carried out in person? Or can they be asked over email for qualitative research?

For me, the art of asking questions is important in interviews as well as surveys. A lot of people turn up their noses at surveys. And it’s true, a lot of surveys suck. Because they ask closed questions, are formulated with bias and people fixate on the number of answers they’re getting. If you ask the right questions at the right time, and if you’re aware that surveys are not about data quantity you can get great insights. You should focus on finding patterns in people’s answers, not try to impose statistics.


What has been the biggest break through you had with a client in terms of research? For example if the client thought they did not need any research.

In our projects, research is not optional. Clients who choose to work with us know this. Even better: it’s why they choose us. Because a research-based approach to conversion optimization is the only way to get real results.”

Don’t miss out on the chance to see Els Aerts at Digital Elite Day. Get your tickets before they sell out.



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