After months of preparation it’s hard to believe it’s already over. Sitecore Symposium 2022 was the first chance for the global Sitecore community to come together in such large numbers in almost three years, and it was such a huge success.

From the guest and executive keynotes, to the breakout sessions, to the party at the Museum of Science and Industry, the week was full of memorable moments. Our CEO Steve Tzikakis kicked off the event, outlining Sitecore’s vision for the future and issuing those in attendance “The 1% Challenge”. Even though there is widespread recognition that content is still king, that’s the number most organizations currently invest in their content marketing budgets.

“If you can win that extra 1%, imagine the impact that will have on your business,” Tzikakis said.

He outlined how Sitecore’s composable strategy helps organizations in three distinct ways – lower your total cost of ownership, increase ROI from content, and simplify your martech content stack.

He then went on to announce the three new exciting and game-changing products Sitecore is introducing to the market – Content Hub One, Sitecore Search, and Sitecore Connect. Our CEO also invited Pendragon CMO Kim Costello to the stage to explore the impressive work they are doing using Sitecore technology to meet the demands of consumers in the luxury automobile sector.

He then handed things off to Chief Operating Officer Nick Malone to dive into the big news of Sitecore’s expanded partnership with Accenture. Nick was joined by Bob Markham, President of Accenture Song and together they detailed the goal of the new relationship and how it will help customers get the maximum value out of Sitecore’s technology and improve the customer experience.

Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill then began her keynote that explained the theme of this year’s conference – Meet Every Moment.

“Meeting every moment requires brands to be distinct,” O’Neill said.

In addition to sharing incredible visuals that were AI generated, her keynote revolved around 3 pillars: Mute the Noise, Stand Out, and Build Boldly. To give examples of how customers are delivering on these tenets, she first brought to the stage Mats Gylldorff, Global Director of Marketing Communication at Thule, followed by Anne Guichard, Global Head of Digital at L’Oreal Groupe.

“We are experiencing a shift from product focus to an experience and customer focus. At the center is content,” Guichard said.

Paige’s third guest came straight from the metaverse. Touchcast CEO Edo Segal joined Paige for a live demo from the Triumph Motorcycles virtual showroom as Paige explored options for her first motorcycle.

“Preparing for the metaverse will mean even more content types. Eight out of the 10 largest tech companies are investing billions in the metaverse,” Paige said.

Symposium is also about giving back, so Paige welcomed Erica Jensen, Senior VP of Marketing of Be the Match, the designated charity for this year’s event. Be the Match had a booth in the Solutions Pavilion where attendees could build a structure and Sitecore would make a donation on their behalf. Paige also had a surprise for Erica, bringing out Horizontal Digital who wanted to make a $15,000 donation to their cause of finding bone marrow and organ donors for patients in need. Sitecore also announced after the event that we would be making a $20,000 donation to Be the Match.

The first guest keynote of the conference was delivered by Azeem Azhar, author, entrepreneur and the founder of Exponential View. He provided some local Chicago history to make the case about inflection points in history where technology has taken root and changed society, like the automobile and the telephone. He provided fascinating research about how today’s technology is moving things forward at unimaginable speeds and will likely continue to do so for some time.

Sitecore Chief Customer Success Officer Lee Miles capped off Day 1 with his keynote, where he reiterated Sitecore’s commitment to serving our customers’ needs, including the launch of Sitecore360, giving Sitecore customers faster time to value, access to Sitecore experts, and better results.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that customers appreciate our experts. So Sitecore360 includes 24/7 expert support,” Miles said. “We are determined to be the most innovative digital experience solutions provider in the industry. Hearing what drives you and your business is important to me. Because my Number 1 priority is staying in touch with our customers and partners.”

Lee then had a special set of guests join him on stage to share their incredible digital story. INEOS Automotive and EPAM discussed the amazing launch of the new Grenadier off-road 4x4 vehicle, a first for INEOS that required them to build the brand, create a digital experience that had to be unique and perfect, and offer an ownership experience that was as good as the vehicle itself.

To end the day, Lee announced the three winners of this year’s Sitecore Ultimate Experience Awards – JD Finish Line in the Americas, INEOS Automotive in EMEA, and Insignia Financial in APJ. Congratulations to all!

Day 2 of Sitecore Symposium was led off by the keynote every attendee has a keen eye on – the products. Sitecore’s Chief Product Officer Dave O’Flanagan gave everyone a closer look at the three new products that we announced earlier on Tuesday – Content Hub One, Sitecore Search, and Sitecore Connect, plus Cloud Portal. He also discussed Sitecore’s product roadmap that includes new releases for Sitecore XP 10.3 launching in a couple weeks and Sitecore XP 10.4 coming early next year.

“Today, we’re on a mission to define the DXP category with our composable DXP,” O’Flanagan said. “We believe in a future where brands can assemble a stack as unique as their customers and business. Composable means choice. Our commitment is that each product will be best of breed on its own and fit within your stack. We will be a friendly neighbor, with open APIs that allow you to connect easily with others in your stack.”

Paige came back to the big stage for the session that so many people in attendance were looking forward to seeing with our celebrity keynote for Symposium 2022 – Emmy-winning writer, director and actor Mindy Kaling, best known for her role as Kelly Kapoor on NBC’s “The Office”. The fascinating conversation ranged from how she started in Hollywood, to breaking down barriers, staying authentic, embracing being a role model for young women, and the ability to say outrageous things through her characters that she couldn’t say in real life.

“My singular mission in my career is with every project to get closer to my true self ... when you do feel seen, it feels really good,” Kaling said.

That wrapped up the general sessions, and it was then off to the 90+ breakout sessions available to attendees, where partners, customers, and Sitecore experts provided insightful and inspiring presentations.

And if you were there, you know. The Sitecore party at the iconic Museum of Science and Industry had something for everyone, with food, drinks, various musical performances, and exhibits that wowed attendees.

To everyone who contributed to making this the best Symposium ever, from our sponsors, presenters, keynote speakers and guests, to the team at Freeman who put on the event, to the Sitecore employees who provided support, the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, we cannot thank you enough.

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