Sitecore Experience 2020
05/03/2020

Sitecore Experience 2020

I was delighted to be invited by Sitecore to attend their Sitecore Experience 2020 event in London. 

At Shout, we are always keen to be part of great conversations and with this event focused on people, emerging trends and challenges - we thought it was a great time to be a part of that conversation.

I headed off to London to hear from speakers including Mark Frost, CEO at Sitecore and Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller and General Manager at Microsoft.    Working with major clients who use the platform every day, I see the power in Sitecore and was excited and ready to hear more!  

Powering marketing through human connections

The day started with a browse around the many exhibitors who are as passionate about Sitecore as we are. It was great to feel the energy and passion in the room for CX and the platform - despite being just after breakfast! I took my seat in the Experience Hall to hear the first keynote speaker, none other than Sitecore's CEO Mark Frost. Mark spoke with depth and passion about how, in a digital world, humans still need to connect.   

97% of marketers say content is a priority, 74% say its hard to produce but 40% of marketers time is spent doing this.

Even in a rapidly growing digital world, on last quarters earning calls from different companies around the globe, CX was mentioned 2710 times.

The focus was on content being relevant, engaging and measured and how we need to take great care and give thought into what content we produce. 

Mark then gave a glimpse of an upcoming move into SaaS from Sitecore, with more details to be announced in the Summer. 

Some tantalising teased headlines on this were:

  • 'Fully integrated intelligence delivered as a service platform’
  • ‘Easily automated upgrades’
  • ‘Full integration with Sitecore content hub'
  • Exciting times ahead!   

42% of companies don’t listen to customers

This challenge led into the next session, where Paige O’Neil, Chief Marketing Officer at Sitecore, talked us through some incredible content ideas and challenges.

Paige talked in-depth and to great effect of how content needs to be considered and relevant. 

There were 3 key themes on how human connections can power CX:

1) Lead with your heart
2) Create empathy, not content
3) Be more Human with AI

The story is a machine for empathy

We then heard from Ryan Skinner, Principal Analyst at Forrester. Ryan led a fast-paced session talking through lots of examples of different customer websites and great examples of content marketing.

His theme was ‘content is empathy at scale.’

Ryan made some very welcome insights into how content needs to be accessible, considering not just accessibility issues such as blindness or colour blindness - but gender inclusion.

This focus on digital inclusion is a personal focus for me and Shout, with one of our clients being the wonderful charity Sense, which supports the deaf and blind.

Web accessibility needs to be a growing focus for all of us as digital builders.

Pause and reflect 

A break in sessions gave time to consider my clients, who are from a range of sectors, but all have the same aim - to inspire great content!  This will be a key focus for Shout in 2020 as we accelerate into supporting digital strategy, beyond the initial build and release phases.

78% of Millennials would rather spend money on an experience - than an actual thing

The session before lunch focused on how innovation is shaping the future in digital experiences. This resonated with me as we have delivered and continue to focus on experience in areas such as IoT, iBeacons and Geolocation notifications for several of our customers.

As digital leaders, we need to make sure we pause, research and then replicate what that innovation is. 

Organic innovation is great, but deliberate innovation - with a purpose - is so much more effective.

’You can think of innovation change projects as like a piece of elastic, if you don’t have the governance in place, once the project has finished, the change rolls back.’ Vijayanta Gupta, Sitecore

Taking time to tune into trends and patterns for innovation is a key aspect of every digital agency and then take that innovation and help our customers make it relevant, building in lasting oversight and support, to give it resilience. 

With those thoughts flying around my head, it was time for some lunch!

‘Technology has allowed us to measure how communications are decoded emotionally’

In the afternoon we were treated to several different speakers.

A real highlight was the talk by Dr Cristina de Balanzo, which focused on using neuroscience to understand customer and human connections. 

Dr Cristina talked about the importance of online engagement adapting to human emotions such as movement, contrast and colour, and how our brains can subconsciously detect poorly placed typography or images - resulting in customers lacking empathy for your brand. 

With growing technology interests in areas such as and eye movement tracking, Shout is just beginning to fully embrace the potential in technology interpreting emotions in our customers.

All about the P's

Our final session, led by Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller and General Manager at Microsoft. 

Steve talked in depth about the 5 P’s and their relevance to Microsoft's journey:

People, Place, Pictures, Personal - and Platform.

Steve’s talk showed the power of opening up to grab your audience and showed great insight into Microsoft's journey to get the narrative and content right for their platform, which gave place for another great quote: ‘Let me tell you some data. Said nobody ever.’

Human first

All in all, a fantastic event, where I got a great deal of insight into challenges we will face as an industry and that the secret may not lie in digital, but in us, as people, with our own stories. 

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