Sitecore Symposium 2018 – Day 4 Recap

The keynote this morning was about building trust with consumers. A very timely topic considering what has happened in recent months, particularly with Facebook. The format of this keynote was a panel, moderated by Mark Zablan, Sitecore’s CRO.


The key point is that trust is built over time through 3 key functions: Transparency, Accessibility and Personalization. Overall, you must provide something of value to get something of value.

The panel consisted of:

  • Eric Stoll – CEO and co-founder of Arke
  • Sabrina Sexton – Director, Digital Marketing Stanley Black and Decker
  • Scott Liewehr – CEO and co-founder Digital Clarity Group

Interesting within the discussion is the concept of a central authority being created for trust that brands would tap into in order to create personalized experiences. It is important that trust is the baseline for all interactions or someone else will. The goal of marketers is to carry the conversation from one interaction to the next with the help of AI and ML.

Citadel’s Personalization Journey (Courtney Rowan & Mary McCleaft – Citadel Federal Credit Union)

It was great to see a presentation from a Sitecore customer that has delivered success on the promise of personalization. Courtney and Mary were inspirational for anyone looking to move forward with personalization on the platform. I cannot cover everything that they went over in this post, so I will keep it to the most important parts.

About Citadel Federal Credit Union

  • Credit union 30 miles outside of Philadelphia (Go Eagles!)
  • Top 100 credit unions in US
  • 3rd largest in Pennsylvania

Key Points

Citadel choose Sitecore for many of the familiar reasons, the biggest being the promise of personalization out-of-the-box. Courtney and Mary were smart to understand that doing a phase approached made sense. However, they also understood the trap of the mythical phase 2. They developed the initial phase with personalization in mind, to prove that it works in order to get to phase 2.

They provided so many great pieces of wisdom from their experience, a very important one is that while personalization is difficult, focus on what you want to accomplish.

  • What are your objectives
  • What drives value
  • Who is the audience
  • What are the tactics

Citadel realized the promise of Sitecore. To work effectively, tasks were put into waves, similar to agile sprints. Throughout these waves 4 of the 6 waves involved no development. You read that right, Courtney and Mary delivered impactful personalization in many different ways just by using what is available in Sitecore. You can too.

Some other points included why you should work with a Sitecore partner and how to do so effectively. What they described is similar to how The Reference works with its customers: share knowledge constantly, enable internal people to continue to build on the platform and understand organizational strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, measure what you do. It is the only way to know if what you are doing is working and how to adjust.

Agile approach to the customer journey (Daniel Persson & Paul Griffiths – MedTouch)

A ton of value was presented throughout this session. Daniel and Paul showcased why creating customer journeys is important. Moreover, they described why it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Taking an agile approach to customer journeys, similar to development provides many benefits.

First, the impact of customer journeys in their business is very important. Going to the doctor may be a scary time for many. A good customer journey helps the patient.

  • Reduce stress in the patient experience
  • Journeys build empathy and understanding for the patient

The problem is that creating customer journeys is a time-consuming process. You have to create personas, do tons of research, launch, optimize, etc. The research tends to become static and getting to the latter stages of a journey may never happen.

Instead of defining everything up front, there is a better way. Focus. Prove out the smallest thing that provides value to show the journey can work and your assumptions are correct.

Agile Journeys work as follows:

Borrow from agile development

  • Stories
  • MVP

Prioritize measurement and impact

  • Can’t know if you cannot measure it
  • Be focused
  • Get feedback to test hypothesis
  • Be flexible to incorporate change
  • Consider that the journey might not be right

Overall, journeys do not have to be complex and overwhelming. Journeys are important to build empathy for the consumer. Emphasize making an impact through your journeys. Remove what doesn’t work and keep what does.

Closing Keynote

The closing keynote was a look towards what is coming in Sitecore in the next few months and over the next year. The closing keynote was presented by Ryan Donovan the CTO Sitecore. There are 3 areas of focus for Sitecore:

  • Content lifecycle
  • Next gen UI
  • Commerce

For the content lifecycle there was an extensive demo of the StyleLabs product and integration. Some of this was technical on how developers can extend the platform. StyleLabs is delivered differently than the Sitecore Experience Platform in the sense that it is only available as a SaaS product.

The next gen UI is what interested me the most. Getting the UI right is a challenge all complex platforms face. Sitecore is definitely moving in the right direction with their Horizon initiative. The focus on the editor and marketer is very helpful.

The last part was on commerce. Ryan discussed how Sitecore is now a leader in commerce and that they will continue to build on that. Some things to expect in the near future with commerce:

  • JSS support
  • B2B
  • Integration
  • Product Information Management (PIM)

As you can see, Sitecore has been quite busy. The Reference is running a Meetup in New York City to do a recap on the Symposium focusing on what’s new for marketing and how you can leverage Sitecore to achieve your goals. Join us for the recap or feel free to reach out.

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