Sitecore Experience Europe 2020 – Powering Marketing through Human Connections is a wrap, and what a day it was. We hosted hundreds of marketing leaders and technologists from across Europe at etc. venues in Central London, offering a full day of insightful keynotes and inspirational customer stories in our breakout sessions. There were also great opportunities to network with peers and meet with more than a dozen Sitecore partners who were on-site.

Sitecore CEO Mark Frost opened the agenda, providing a business update to attendees, including the importance of having an end-to-end content solution to create a superior customer experience. Sitecore AI is making that even easier for organizations with its auto-personalization capability.

What the event theme is all about

Next to take the stage was Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill. The title of her keynote was “3 Ways Emotional Connections Power CX”. To help illustrate her three points, she was joined by Richard Dodd, Director of Digital at Macmillan Cancer Support, and myself to talk about how all of us leapt into our digital transformation, how we structured our content and the tools we use to keep pace with our team’s creativity.

Paige also provided details on a charitable activity that attendees could participate in throughout the day in the Exhibition Hall. Everyone was encouraged to make a pledge on piece of paper, fold it into a paper airplane, and place it back on the wall to help form a giant green heart. At the end of the day, enough people had participated that Sitecore was able to make a £5,000 donation to Macmillan.

Ryan Skinner, Principal Analyst from Forrester Research, provided an informative guest keynote on how organizations can use their content to create empathy. Customer experience is one the most important differentiators a company can control, and content can help support millions of interactions with the right tone to ensure customers get the sense that you truly understand their wants and needs.

Sitecore Executive VP Desta Price hosted a panel discussion on innovations within the industry that are shaping superior digital experiences. She was joined by Ben Morgan, Director of Digital Marketing at Avanade, Asha Juttla, Digital Solutions Architect at Bupa, and fellow Sitecore executives Tom De Ridder, Chief Technology Officer, and Vijay Gupta, Global VP of Strategy and Industries. Together, they explored the latest advancements that are helping keep companies stay ahead of the curve in meeting the needs of today’s customers, who expect more from their digital experiences than ever before.

Breakout sessions provide in-depth insights

Following a great lunch and time for everyone to network and connect with fellow marketers and Sitecore partners, the breakouts commenced with presentations in the “Building a Digital-First Business” track, where our Platinum Sponsor Valtech hosted a session featuring success stories from easyJet and JustEat on how to create a culture of achieving results. The “Shaping Digital Experiences with Content” track started with a session from Tim Pashuysen, Chief Strategy Officer of Sitecore Content Hub, where he discussed the importance of measuring content to ensure you’re optimizing your efforts.

Dr. Cristina de Balanzo, Ph.D. and Director at Walnut Unlimited, then took to the main stage to provide a fascinating look into the mind of the consumer, and how brands can use the science of neuropsychology to make better connections with their customers. At our core, humans are emotional and not logical. So tapping into the insights gleaned from research to see what makes humans tick can provide a significant competitive advantage.

In the last set of breakouts, Sitecore Product Director Jill Grozalsky led a panel discussion with David Palmer, Head of Group Marketing at Aggreko, and Miguel Gernaey, VP of Digital Marketing at Sage, where they explored how to create a consistent digital experience in our increasingly omnichannel world. Brands need to focus on the entire customer buying journey — website, landing page, social, email, app, etc. — in order to create the right experiences that will ultimately lead to a purchase. 

In the Content breakout, Sitecore Product Director Jose Santa Ana talked about the art and science of adapting content. Many organizations are feeling the content crunch — having to create multiple pieces across different channels for different audiences can make it seem like a never-ending battle to keep up. Jose explained the advantages of taking multiple content components from different sources to create new pieces and fill the content void.

How to tell a great story

To end the conference, Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller and General Manager at Microsoft, provided a fascinating closing keynote address. It was a powerful session detailing how the combination of stories, photography, and storytelling can truly impact the impressions you can make with your customers for years to come.

We hope all the Sitecore Experience attendees enjoyed the networking and happy hour session that followed to cap off an amazing day in London. Thank you so much to everyone who came to the conference, our sponsors, and all the Sitecore employees who helped make it such a memorable event.

To learn more about select keynotes and breakout sessions from the event, we’ll be launching the Experience Online page in two weeks, featuring videos, blogs, and images from Sitecore Experience Europe 2020.

Zarnaz Arlia is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Sitecore. Find her on LinkedIn.