Key Takeaways from the Sitecore Symposium 2020

The Sitecore Symposium 2020 was all about Moments that make experiences. This year was a little different to the previous events, as it was bought to attendee’s in an all-digital format, with thousands of people from across the world live streaming the event. The Symposium delivered two days of insightful keynotes and inspirational customer success stories as well as announcing the Ultimate Experience Award winners. This blog provides a summary of our key takeaways as well as a more in-depth focus on some of our favourite talks.

Sitecore Symposium Day 1

Moments that make Experiences – Paige O’Neill and Sr. Aaron Watkins

Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill kicked off day 1 of the Sitecore Symposium, with her keynote ‘Moments That Make Experiences.’  The unprecedented nature of 2020, has meant people have had to change the way they live their lives, adapting to a new normal both in their personal and business lives. Paige revealed that because of the pandemic businesses have had to react very quickly to the change in demand for certain goods and services. Customers are now expecting an instant or ‘moment to moment’ response from businesses. She used the example of Enterprise car hire, emphasising how they quickly responded to the pandemic with helping young people rent a car to travel home. The keynote highlighted that it is the emotions and feelings that customers take away from each moment that matter most and how the brands work to create enduring memories to win their customers’ time, attention, and loyalty.

Paige was then joined by Sr. Aaron Watkins, Director of Internet Strategy and Digital Content Marketing at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Johns Hopkin’s website traffic has increased 4-fold and seen a 370% rise on their social media channels. He highlighted how the company has quickly increased its digital efforts to meet new expectations.


Sitecore Business Update with CEO Steve Tzikakis

Paige O’Neill’s keynote was followed by a business update from the new CEO of Sitecore Steve Tzikakis. Tzikakis spoke about the future of the company and where he sees it heading as it continues to grow.

“We want to become the Number 1 digital experience company in the world. We want to be the undisputed leader in the content-to-commerce market…(and) we’re going to be associated with the very best digital experience and personalisation the industry has to offer.”

Tzakakis also announced that in early 2021 there would be a new version of Sitecore AI – Auto Personalisation available.


Creating digital moments that matter - Dan Heath

The final general session keynote of the day was given by Dan Heath. He started by describing the Magic Castle Hotel, a run-down outdated resort in Los Angeles. The Magic Castle Hotel ranks above many other well-known resorts, and as Dan explains this is all due to the memorable moments it creates. Children can use a phone beside the pool to call for a waiter in white gloves to deliver them a platter of ice lollies, making this experience unforgettable for them as well as their family. Heath explained that great experiences hinge on peak moments and that people will overlook little complaints if they get the peak right. He revealed the four key elements that help create peak moments: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. By achieving a peak moment this creates a memorable and meaningful customer experience.

Sitecore Symposium Day 2

Day 2 of the Sitecore Symposium started with an EMEA regional welcome and panel discussion. The panellists discussed how today’s leading brands are adapting to meet the needs of today’s digital customer. This was then followed by the long-awaited Ultimate Experience Awards a staple at every Sitecore Symposium, the categories this year included ‘Most Impactful Human Connections in a Changing World, ’Most Intelligent Content Optimisation’ and many more.

Day 2 also showcased four customer success stories that organisations can use as inspiration for their own Sitecore implementation. Each of these was led by one of the events Influencer sponsors, Microsoft with General Mills, Valtech with Ferique, EPMA with Project Management Institute and Horizontal Digital with DP world. 

Paige gave the final general session, where she led a roundtable discussion between CMO’s and CIO’s. In order to succeed in the digital world, marketing and IT teams need to bridge their communication gap, to help drive results and meet quickly changing customer needs. The session focused on why it is so vital that they work effectively together and how to make it happen.


As Sitecore partners, we want to help you increase your digital efforts to meet new expectations. As this symposium highlighted it is essential that business react quickly to these new and constantly changing moments. And with 75% of people using and converting to digital platforms as a result of the pandemic, it is now more important than ever to successfully and effectively utilise your digital channels.

So, if you are currently using Sitecore or are thinking of changing platforms and want to make sure you are getting the most out of your platform, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


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