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Sitecore Symposium 2019: Human Connections in a Digital World


The opening keynote brings all the conference attendees into one room and highlights great speakers to get the conference started.  This year’s theme is “Human Connections in a Digital World.” Below, I have recapped my key takeaways from each speaker’s presentation. For more session reviews, be sure to follow me.

Sitecore CEO Thoughts

The CEO of Sitecore is Mark Frost and he shared his thoughts on customer experience, top challenges, Sitecore content hub, and Sitecore AI. My key takeaways from his speech were:

  • Customer Experience (or CX) is on the minds of many CEOs.
    • The term is coming up in many company earnings reports.
    • CX is a way to gain competitive advantage over competitors, 2-1 over product only focus.
  • Brand trust helps create meaningful connections
  • Meaningful experiences are personalized and form an emotional connection the brand
  • Top Challenges to CX
    • Implementing Personalization
    • Delivering experiences at scale
  • We are in a content crisis
    • 74% of people say they cannot create content fast enough
  • Solving the content crisis
    • Sitecore content hub – manage your full content lifecycle start to finish
  • “Content is the fuel that drives the personalization engine”
  • Sitecore AI
    • Automatic personalization based on AI
    • Works with content hub to analyze your content and visitor traffic to automatically personalize your site content at scale
    • Built with help from Microsoft

Sitecore CEO

Microsoft Executive Vice President Thoughts

Scott Guthre, Microsoft Executive Vice President, then spoke about the partnership between Microsoft and Sitecore. My key takeaways from his speech were:

  • There are 54 Azure regions worldwide – more than any other cloud provider.
  • 10 year partnership between Microsoft and Sitecore
  • Over 5000 Microsoft and Sitecore customers
  • Case Study – Subway
    • Previous loyalty program was paper based
    • New online program launched alongside online ordering.
    • Hosted on Azure
  • Case Study – Microsoft Partner Network
    • Built on Sitecore and uses Sitecore AI
    • 16% improvement in engagement over previous site

Sitecore CMO Thoughts

After that, Sitecore CMO Page O’Neill discussed how customer’s experience with your company and brand are top of mind. Making these human connections can power our CX. My key takeaways from his speech were:

  • Right now, 4.5 billion people are digitally connected.
  • Even more, 20 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet by 2021.
  • Experience matters to people:
    • 74% prioritize experience over product
    • “The experience economy is here”
    • 78% of millennials choose to spend their money on experiences over products
    • Customer experience is the key to brand differentiation
  • People expect personalization now
    • No longer a “nice to have” feature
    • Predicted 2 trillion dollars in spending on digital transformation in 2021
      • 100 billion dollars of this will come from retail
    • Breaking point:
      • When customers get so frustrated with a CX that they choose to take their business to another company
    • By the numbers:
      • 42% of companies do not ask for customer feedback
      • 12% of customers believe a company when they say they put the customer first
      • 60% of brand loyal customers speak about brands like family (using words like love and trust)
        • How a brand makes them feel is 2 times more important in buying decisions
      • Social Media Influencers are people who are good at their social media presence. They have a huge impact on the digital world today:
        • 86% of women use SMI when making buying decisions
        • 70% of teens trust SMI over celebrities
        • 49% of consumers depend on SMI recommendations
        • 10 billion dollar industry
      • 3 ways human connections can power CX
        • Lead with your heard
        • Cultivate trust with authenticity
        • Inspire the physical with the digital
      • The best CX is the one you do not realize is built around you

Not Impossible Labs

Mick Ebeling always gives inspiring talks.  He makes you want to go out and solve the world’s problems.  And, they have very creative people solving amazing problems!  He looked at music and what Not Impossible will do to change the way everyone experiences music.  Not just the deaf/hard of hearing community. My key takeaways about his thoughts on accessibility:

  • Reframing accessibility
    • What does accessibility truly mean?
    • How do you give people the ability to interact in a normal way?
    • Goes beyond accessibility standards compliance

World-Renowned Photographer

Platon had an interesting and emotional talk about taking pictures of people.  The stories he told about each photo and the connection to each person was incredible. He explained that his pictures tell the story of his subjects. He spoke about taking pictures of people when they were vulnerable or wanting to be portrayed a certain way.  On the other hand, he discussed getting very elusive photos of people that are not usually photographed.  Another story a photo could is the one taken of people before they pass away.

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Eric Sanner, Solutions Architect

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