Insights

Sitecore Symposium 2021 Day 1

Opening Keynotes Overview

The Biggest Symposium Ever

Sitecore Symposium 2021 was free for all attendees for the first time in the event’s history.

The all digital event meant we could enjoy Symposium in our sweatpants and from our living rooms (or home offices) for the second year in a row, which also made Symposium more accessible than ever. This year, Sitecore Symposium had 10,000 attendees, from over 70 countries, making it Sitecore’s biggest Symposium ever!

Since a lot has been happening in Sitecore this year, with 4 acquisitions in the last few months, Sitecore’s bold vision for the DXP market and their new SaaS products and product roadmaps, there’s a lot to unpack in this year’s Symposium.

Unforgettable Digital Connections

Sitecore’s CMO, Paige O’Neill, set the stage with the opening keynote, introducing this year’s theme ‘Unforgettable Digital Connections’.

In her speech she explores what makes a connection unforgettable, and the power of creating lasting impressions, which Paige explains for customers is simply to feel heard, be understood and responded to, and to have personalized experiences in context.

Paige shed’s light on the pandemic’s effect on digital experience, sharing data about the large number of consumers that are replacing in person experiences (like shopping), for digital, and the importance of giving consumers a blend of digital and physical experiences such as:

  • 48% of customers plan to shop mostly online for the holidays
  • 36% don’t see a need to return to in-store shopping after the pandemic
  • 42% of the silent generation won’t return to in-store shopping
  • ¾ want a blend of in store and digital shopping
  • 70% say a positive in store experience makes them more likely to interact with a brand online

These statistics make this next one that Paige reveals, even more alarming - 65% of customers say they haven’t had a digital experience that exceeded their expectations during the pandemic.

Paige gives 3 tips to businesses for helping to keep their customers as the world moves back to in-person experiences:

1. Digital Differentiation Is A Contact Sport

Paige says you need to get your digital experience right and make it a competitive advantage. Customers want:

  • The ability to escalate to a live person (50%)
  • Personalized communications based on past interactions (44%)

To succeed in this area you should demonstrate that you understand what communication is going to work best in what scenarios, and at what time.

2. Intimacy Inspires Loyalty

Loyalty is in short supply when it comes to consumers' relationships with brands. Customers want:

  • Discounts (62%)
  • Customized deals (40%)
  • Personalized suggestions (35%)

3. Instant Gratification Is Vital

Customers want to receive their orders faster than ever thanks to Amazon’s revolutionized 2 day delivery service, and fast returns process. You can do this through:

  • Speed
  • Convenience
  • Availability

Brands that are excelling with these really difficult dynamics are doing so by combining direct and contextual customer data with analytics and business intelligence, and as a result are able to create a deep understanding of their customer.

Then they can take this understanding of the customer to be able to anticipate expectations and needs and be able to respond with communications that are caring and connected with personalized content, which is very much a part of what customers are expecting today.

The Composable DXP Solution

Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis was up next in the opening session, reminding us of the bold promises he made at Symposium last year and Sitecore’s efforts to meet these promises:

  • Accelerate innovation
  • Customer centricity and delight will be their new northern star
  • Deepen customer relationships with partners

Steve talks about Sitecore’s sharpened and updated vision, mission and purpose, and their 1.2 billion dollar investment and growth plan. The growth plan includes hiring nearly 1,000 staff in engineering and customer success roles, committing to delivering the best projects, and acquiring 4 new companies, including:

  • Boxever
  • Four51
  • Moosend
  • Reflektion

The portfolio expansion is introduced as Sitecore’s composable DXP, set to give Sitecore users more choice and freedom, to enjoy the pieces they need. Users can now start with just the module and build up, or start with a complete suite. The DXP is built for innovation, scalability and as a feature rich platform that enables customers to evolve ahead of the demands of markets.


Stay tuned for the day 2 overview, where I'll give you a nice summary of the opening keynotes again.

Kick back and relax, knowing I'll be doing all the note taking for you. Enjoy, and Happy Symposium!