What a start to Sitecore Symposium 2021!

Our biggest event of the year got rolling live from a studio in London on Tuesday in front of a small crowd of Sitecore employees, with keynotes from Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill and CEO Steve Tzikakis.

Later in the morning general session, Paige had a fascinating conversation with marketing rockstar and trailblazer Bozoma Saint John, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix, who was recently named the World’s #1 Most Influential CMO by Forbes.

Paige started off the event with her keynote that explored the theme to this year’s event – Unforgettable Digital Connections. After the last 18 months of the pandemic, the speed of digital acceleration has increased at a break-neck pace. But recent research from Sitecore has shown that while digital shopping is now more common than ever, consumers are likely going to want to still have a mix of the physical with the digital once we fully emerge from the pandemic.

Paige’s keynote revolved around three themes “Digital Differentiation is a Contact Sport,” “Intimacy Inspires Loyalty,” and “Instant Gratification is Vital.”

“In an environment where more people are more willing to try new brands, it’s the combination of price, exclusivity, and personalized content that really sets the experience apart,” O’Neill said.

To illustrate her points, she was joined by James Stathopoulos from United Airlines and Kelly Duffy from Aveda to explore how they are succeeding with customers using digital connections.

Latest news from Sitecore’s CEO

Paige then handed the stage over to Steve so he could provide an exciting update on some of the great progress we have been making at Sitecore. This year has been highlighted by the announcement of a $1.2 billion growth plan, four acquisitions, and amazing leaps in innovation as we accelerate the offering of a fully composable, cloud-based digital experience platform (DXP).

Steve was joined by Sitecore CPO Dave O’Flanagan and then VP of Sales Engineering Charles Bell. Dave discussed our recent acquisitions and how they fit into the overall Sitecore product strategy, and Charles gave an end-user view of the power of the Sitecore platform and how it connects the entire customer journey.

The marketing powerhouse Bozoma Saint John

The guest keynote for Day 1 was a riveting CMO-to-CMO conversation between Bozoma and Paige. They covered a series of topics, including how the different leadership roles Bozoma’s had in companies like Uber, Apple, and Pepsi have shaped who she is today and how being your authentic self can help you as a marketer and in your overall career path.

Bozoma also talked about how important is for marketers to be naturally curious. She loves keeping up with pop culture and wants to know what people are talking about out there in the world. It also leads to empathy – showing your customers that you care about what they care about.

Sitecore Experience Award winners announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Sitecore Experience Awards! Today, we announced both the category winners in each region as well as the three Ultimate Experience Award winners.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (and their partner PricewaterhouseCoopers) won in the Americas, Aston Martin Lagonda (and their partner WPP) won in EMEA, and UnitingCare Queensland (and their partner Triggerfish) took home the prize in APJ!

We also want to extend congratulations to the category winners in each region. In the Americas, the Sitecore Experience Awards went to Procter and Gamble (and their partner Valtech), Kimberly-Clark (and their partners Accenture & Avanade) and United Airlines (and their partner Avanade).

In EMEA, the category winners are Refuge (and their partner Wunderman Thompson UK), Kerzner International, and L’Oreal.

In APJ, congratulations go to category winners Central Queensland University (and their partner Liquid Interactive), Honda Australia (and their partner Deloitte Digital), and the City of Sydney (and their partner Merkle)

The importance of Diversity and Inclusion

Day 1 finished on a strong and important note – with a panel discussion of how organizations can make diversity and inclusion a priority across their organization. The fireside chat was moderated by Sitecore’s Channa Bannis, Senior Director of Campaigns, and she was joined by best-selling author Torin Perez and Nancy Rowe, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for EMEA at Publicis Sapient.

The three spoke at length about how an inclusive culture not only embraces, but also celebrates, our differences. Torin and Nancy provided practical and actionable steps companies can take to ensure they are creating inclusive cultures at work and driving changes that make the entire employee base feel like they are part of something special.

What to watch for on Day 2

Dave O’Flanagan will get everything started on Day 2 with his keynote presentation where he will outline Sitecore’s product roadmap and innovation strategy as we inch closer to 2022.

And we’re sure everyone will be looking forward to the celebrity guest keynote appearance by singer, songwriter, and 12-time Grammy winner John Legend. He sits down with Paige for a conversation about how he’s connecting with fans in the digital age of music, what’s been happening as a judge on “The Voice” so far this season, and his dedication to giving back as an activist for causes like social justice and mass incarceration. He’ll finish with a magical solo performance of some of his hit songs.

In addition, Chief Customer Success Offer Lee Miles will host a customer panel with Ultimate Experience Award winners Cracker Barrel and UnitingCare Queensland.

Jason Masini is the Senior Director of Content Marketing at Sitecore. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.