What to attend for as marketer at Sitecore Symposium 2018

Below you will find my recommendations for an attendee who has more of an interest in the marketing capabilities of Sitecore, those looking to elevate their customers experience.  The sessions in this guide lean towards how to apply Sitecore to elevate your marketing experience.

As with all the guides, sessions have been chosen based on a limited set of information such as the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…). Most of the schedule has been firmed up, but there is a chance for changes that I do not capture between now and October.

If this guide doesn’t feel like a good fit, you can find a list of additional guides here.

Day 1 – Monday, October 8th

Stretch those legs with some mingling of what is sure to turn into some of your best new friends.

Day 2 – Tuesday, October 9th

07:00 AM to 08:00 AM – Breakfast (is not just for champions)

Nice time to make new friends or meet up with old over pastry and hopefully bacon (lots of bacon.)

08:00 AM to 9:45 AM

General Audience Keynotes. Sit back, relax and prepare to see your Sitecore world *Elevated.

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

This time is reserved for you track keynotes. I can’t provide much insight on where to go for this. If you are a little more technical leaning the Development Keynote has yet to let me down.

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

The challenge of the experience economy

Mirco Pasqualini
Head of Design

Everyone agrees “experience” is the new product. Customers become more loyal to the experience and less to the brand. Automation solutions, data insights, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are all technologies necessary for providing better experiences, but executive teams often fail to address strategic planning from a system design perspective. In this session, we’ll offer insight on how design, as a way of thinking, can help overcome the evolving challenges of the experience economy.

WHY: Sometimes the hardest part of that infamous ‘Phase 2’ is just getting the thinking of the team and those around on the right track. This session should provide some new tools to getting the team on board and thinking how best to build that next greatest experience.


Sitecore, machine learning, and one-to-one personalization

Ramani Krishnan
Director of Sitecore Architecture
Sathish Balakrishnan
VP Delivery

Personas and rules engine in Sitecore are great, but they are not enough. Consumers today expect one-to-one personalization. They expect retailers to know them and know what they are looking for in real time. Sitecore knows the pages being visited and knows a lot about the customer based on browsing and buying history. The tricky thing is to turn all that knowledge into the experience that delivers the most mutual value. There are hundreds of thousands of possibilities and permutations. A Digital Marketer cannot be expected to set up the rules and predictions manually. A platform with h4 machine learning algorithms can make the calculations in microseconds and serve up the right content—and then improve its own performance over time.

WHY: Letting the machine begin some of the leg work you are used to doing is a change but can become a very positive one. I am looking to this session to help understand how the machine can take some of the tedious out the personalization work.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

Sitecore and GDPR: All your personal data belong to you

Martina Welander
Programmer Writer

A practical look at how evolving privacy legislation affects your Sitecore implementation, including a demonstration of what a privacy-focused implementation might look like. Includes an overview of where and why personal data is stored and the features and APIs available to handle personal data responsibly across the platform. And memes!

WHY: Requiring permission to fully personalize is great for the user, not so much for those whose job requires knowing and understanding the ‘who’. This session should provide some insight in how Sitecore allows this precious balance in building trust with the customer.


The road to personalization: from one segment to segment of one

Jean-Luc Ambrosi
Executive General Manager Marketing

Superannuation (401k in the USA) is a traditionally low-engagement industry, yet boosting engagement levels is essential in helping members achieve their retirement goals. With this disconnect in mind, becoming relevant in the hearts and minds of members throughout the customer journey is key to building engagement with the 100,000 members in TelstraSuper, the largest corporate Superannuation fund in Australia. The organization has embarked on a mission to leverage its new digital platform to build maximum relevance with members. To offer its members a truly tailored experience, it is evolving from a one-size-fits-all to a segment-of-one approach.

WHY: It is always nice to hear how others have accomplished what you are working towards. In this session you should come away with some insight on how one organization has been successfully moving toward better personalization while keeping in mind what makes each customer a little unique.

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM – Lunch

Will there be bacon?

02:45 PM to 03:30 PM

The full story of how Fujitsu, a global company with 160,000 employees, revamped its communication platform using Sitecore

Katsumi Morikawa
Fujitsu Limited

Fujitsu migrated 36 sites scattered across the company, onto Sitecore’s single platform which now sits on their own Fujitsu Cloud infrastructure. The new platform is currently available to Fujitsu’s domestic 30,000 sellers and sales engineers, as well as its partners’ domestic 20,000 sellers and sales engineers. Fujitsu will introduce project details of how they collected and defined users’ needs and how they integrated those requirements onto Sitecore, and how they use Sitecore’s digital marketing capabilities, including personalizing content and analyzing engagements.

WHY: Another interesting case study of how a large international firm has learned how to take advantage of Sitecore in a big way.


Supercharge your author experience with machine learning

Mark Stiles
Principal Web Developer
Daniel Murphy
Director of Business Systems Analysis

Content authors face an ever-growing list of new tools and responsibilities that come with a modern digital experience platform. There is mounting pressure for these unsung digital heroes to spend less time fumbling with menu options, assigning taxonomies, or struggling to find the right creative assets and more time identifying segments, setting goals, and personalizing content in an effort to engage consumers. In this session, Sitecore MVPs Mark Stiles and Dan Murphy will introduce practical ways to use machine learning to overcome tedious tasks, use your time more effectively, and focus on high-value work.

WHY: I place this session on the list for those who might be a little more technically inclined. Either way it should prove to be an interesting session on how to make content creation and management a little easier.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

Atlantis The Palm – from personalization project to context marketing program

Chris Pascoe
Director, Digital Marketing and CRM
Atlantis The Palm
Hershna Langworth
Director, Digital Marketing Projects and Innovation
Atlantis The Palm

As a leading entertainment resort destination, Atlantis The Palm is a magnificent haven for leisure-seeking families and couples for whom holidays are a precious escape from the everyday world. This session demonstrates how optimization efforts within Sitecore allowed Atlantis to achieve organizational objectives by moving from a successful personalization project (presented at last year’s Symposium) to an ongoing context marketing program. Key 2018 objectives were achieved by strategic planning through the lens of SBOS framework and methodology. Examples of use cases showcase approach and measurement of successful personalization scenarios and content tests.

WHY: Time to get inspired by an organization that has raw numbers backing up their achievements with Sitecore Experience Platform.

05:15 PM to 06:00 PM – Closing Keynote

06:00 PM to 07:30 PM – Happy Hour!!!

Day 3 – Wednesdays, October 10th

07:00 AM to 08:00 AM – Breakfast

Coffee first, then bacon. Coffee first, then bacon…

08:00 AM to 08:45 AM

Sitecore EXM for the Contact Center

Stephen Harman
Manager of Contact Center Solutions

At HBCS, we leverage technology to unify patient communications across multiple platforms for our client’s patients. We’re stepping into a digital strategy plan using Sitecore’s EXM module to co-exist with our web content. Now our payment receipts, payment reminders, statements, and itemized bills are sent through EXM. See how we are using Sitecore’s Automated Message API’s to send the dynamic data to the message template which contains variable placeholders for the data to be placed and is built using client-specific content (i.e., color scheme and logo).

WHY: One system, one source, one success…As much as people despise email it is still a critical form of communication and the more personalized and specific it the better the chances of success.


Sitecore and Salesforce – better together

Kristine Stebbins
Managing Director
Hero Digital

Personalization is the holy grail for many companies, but it can be elusive to achieve. This session will focus on how to accelerate the power of personalization by integrating Sitecore and Salesforce. In this session, we will provide step-by-step guidance on how to plan and execute an integration between Sitecore and Salesforce that does not only focus on the technical integration but more importantly walks you through the decisions regarding what customer data is captured and shared between the two platforms. Real-world examples will highlight how to share data between the systems and leverage the power of the Salesforce CRM and SFMC to deepen engagement and conversions.

WHY: Salesforce is a key platform to most sales workflows, all the rich data isn’t always put go use through the website as it can be difficult to get at or to understand how to use. I think you will walk away from this session seeing that it is possible to integrate the systems and begin achieving new levels of personalization on both fronts.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote….who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

Multiple pulse points of innovation

Matt Webb
Global CTO

As marketers, we need to know what consumers are thinking and doing and how this will shape the experiences that companies ultimately need to create. Simply storing, monitoring, and adjusting content based on existing data is no longer enough. Join us for this session as we look beyond “what we have” and ahead to “what we can do.” We’ll discuss using Sitecore components to create highly relevant clusters based on real-world data (i.e., world events, stock market, local news, and even the weather) to deliver innovative experiences that people want, and businesses need. They just don’t know it yet.

WHY: I am looking forward to this session to see how leveraging multiple external happenings to build a personalized message for visitors.


Automated personalization that “just works”

Marcos Guimaraes
Vice President, Chief Data Scientist

Sitecore’s Chief Data Scientist Marcos Guimaraes will outline our plans to leverage xDB analytics to individually optimize visitor journeys in order to maximize customer success. Through the use of machine learning, our goal is to minimize any burden of setting up segmentation and personalization rules, transitioning to a system where the intelligence “just works” out of the box. Come learn about the latest innovations, our partnership with Microsoft, and our future plans for automatic and scalable personalization.

WHY: This session has the potential to be just as powerful as the other one selected for this time slot, but on a focus using the data we already have captured to automate the personalization. Be warned this is listed under the technical track, so if config files get you feeling a little woozy better to send your developer to this one.

10:45 AM to 11:45 AM – Break

Time to discuss new opportunities over coffee in the Partner Pavilion. (Or catch a quick swim…hmmm…decisions are hard.)

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

Sustainable Sitecore personalization: Don’t build your castle on a sinkhole

John Berndt
The Berndt Group, Ltd.

For personalization and targeting, Sitecore is by far the most integrated and well-designed platform on the planet, yet many organization struggle not only to get a personalization practice going, but also to sustain it. Luckily, there are great opportunities to build a sustainable personalization practice, but you must be willing to learn from others and ground your expectations in reality. In this session, John Berndt provides analysis of the expectations, technology, operations, staffing, content, and testing layers that need to be aligned, and methodologies that set organizations up for sustainable success. Discussion will also cover typical pitfalls, and how to make the best of this new set of challenges.

WHY: If you aren’t thinking ahead enough personalization can easily crumble or become unmanageable very quickly. Sitting in this session will hopefully provide some basic ground rules to allowing you next personalization planning session set solid foundation for a future of successful conversions.


Catching up with Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon: Leveraging the right data sets to drive personalized experiences

Derek Barka
Chief Technology Officer
Avi Patel
Chief Marketing Officer
Fulton Financial Corporation

In this session, learn how SilverTech and Fulton Financial Corporation utilized customer data and Sitecore to drive targeted product offerings to qualified customer segments and next-best product cross-sell opportunities to their existing customer base. Also learn how Lotame, a third-party data management platform (DMP), was integrated into Sitecore to drive personalized product offerings to anonymous visitors through audience segmenting. SilverTech’s Chief Technology Officer, Derek Barka, will speak to how to leverage your existing data, third-party data, and the power of Sitecore Experience Database to deliver a personalized experience to the majority of your site visitors

WHY: What I find most intriguing about this session is an opportunity to better target anonymous visitors through the usage of third-party data. This is a group of visitors that are always tricky to get a good handle on to convert, so any tips are always welcomed.

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

Taxonomy & rules-based profile mapping: Go from zero user profile tracking to 100% coverage with a single pipeline extension and no content tagging

Nick Allen
Technical Architect, Digital Consultant & Founder
Think Fresh Studio

Assigning visitors to profiles is a core tenant of a content personalization strategy, however many organizations struggle with the initial setup and maintenance of content tagging, especially as the site grows. The task becomes even more challenging when you are working with sites that have large product catalogues or make use of “virtual” URL techniques such as wildcards or dynamic item resolving. In many cases, the profiles we want to associate with our users are based on meta data and taxonomies that already exist in our websites. In this session you will see how you can extract this meta data and taxonomy information to automatically profile users across the entire website without content authors having to tag a single content item.

WHY: I’ll warn you that this session is on the developer track, so be prepared to see a config file or two and probably a little Visual Studio. Even with this, this should be an insightful session on ways to move into personalization without some much leg work.


Retooling the B2B customer experience

Erin Blake
Business Analyst/Strategist
Curran Ethridge
Vice President of Customer Experience
Stanley Engineered Fastening

With so many complex products and long purchase cycles, what will it take to change the customer experience in the B2B space? We’ll discuss what happened when Stanley Engineered Fastening teamed up with Arke to redesign the digital program that drives awareness and sales to the largest B2B division under the Stanley Black & Decker umbrella. This global enterprise continues to grow by mergers and acquisitions, so the strategy not only had to work to keep the customer needs at the forefront of the solution design, it also had to scale and support for future company growth. The resulting digital strategy is the ultimate foundation for enabling marketing optimization capabilities across the SBD enterprise.

WHY: Historically I feel the B2B experience was built with a certain level of utilitarianism, but in that view more well thought out and ‘personalized’ the experience can be the growth opportunity can be huge. Hearing about a large enterprise making this change should inspire you to take the same risk and succeed.

03:00 PM to 03:45 PM

Rebuilding from the ground up with xDB and artificial intelligence

Yanick Bedard
VP Digital Strategy, Partner
Sid Lee
Brenda Plowman

As a leading law firm with over 700 lawyers, numerous practices and a global footprint, customer centricity is a top priority for Fasken.com. In order to become more client-centric, they needed to localize their global knowledge to offer a contextual and personalized experience. Doing so required a fundamental shift in web strategy, bringing control of their digital properties back in-house, and rebuilding their website from the ground up. During this session, attendees will learn about Fasken’s rebranding journey, the best practices that were applied and how adhering to them has turned their website into a high-quality lead generating platform and equipped their team to nurture h4er customer relationships.

WHY: If your team is prepping for a big rebrand or maybe even a little side project to refresh thing, this session may just provide the tips and tricks you need to bring WOW to your site.


Delivery of a personalized, worldwide customer experience at ASOS

Javier Barbosa
Senior Project Manager
Scott Frampton
Principal Engineer

‘Personalization’ … easier to say than deliver. Discover how ASOS, the #1 online fashion destination for 20-somethings, approached its journey towards personalization. In this session we will look at how we used innovative and advanced engineering and operationally aware principles, processes, and practices to enable us to spin up multiple parallel workstreams to deliver high-scale Sitecore projects in Azure.

WHY: A big site targeting a stingy market segment (those 20-somethings), this session should prove to be an interesting case study on how to plan and implement big ideas and best practices of personalization.

03:45 PM to 04:45 PM – Break

Seems like a good time to see what free stuff can be found in the Partner Pavilion.

04:45 PM to 05:30 PM

Will Smith

06:30 PM to 11:30 PM

Party like a Potter

Leave your Muggle worries behind, and join Sitecore for the most magical bash of the year!

Day 4 – Thursday, October 11th

07:30 AM to 08:30 AM – Breakfast

Can the lights be turned down a little? Just coffee this morning, please.

08:30 AM to 09:15 AM

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Who watches the watchers?

Jason St-Cyr
Technical Evangelist

We are all guardians of the digital spaces our audiences live in. We control what data is collected, how it is used, how it is stored, and potentially how it can be abused. With advancements in machine learning, personalization, and individualization, we are looking at a new world of improved customer experiences. How do we ensure this is done in an ethical way? How do we protect individual privacy? How do we avoid bias in our algorithms? We will explore these questions and others and empower the audience to take ownership of these issues.

WHY: This maybe a tricky one to follow after a night of partying, but I see it as critical to have the conversation of how to ethically leverage all the data collected.


Citadel’s personalization journey

Courtney Rowan
Director of ECommerce
Citadel FCU
Mary McCleaft
Digital Solutions Analyst
Citadel FCU

One of the major tasks for the digital channel in early 2018 has been the development and launch of full-scale website personalization. Personalization is a major strategic capability of Sitecore, the content management system selected for hosting CitadelBanking.com, and also aligns with Citadel’s Strategic Goal 2 – Create the Best Digital Experience. In April and May, a major rollout of numerous tactics was successfully completed. So far in 2018, more than 120 unique personalization treatments have been developed and deployed across CitadelBanking.com.

WHY: If you are struggling a bit after the party, this should be informative but easy way to kickstart the day. Hearing the story of how someone has made the changes to truly roll-out personalization should leave you feeling on cloud-nine.

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM

Personalizing the customer experience for anonymous visitors

Gavin Little
Senior Sales Engineer

Marketers can use the power of customer-journey mapping and customer-experience management to better understand how to personalize the experience for a known visitor. But these same strategic initiatives can also help organizations personalize the experience for an anonymous visitor. This session will help marketers better understand the power of personalizing the anonymous visitor’s experience.

WHY: The customer we don’t know anything about has great potential for becoming a future best customer, the insight here should help set a path to doing just that.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote


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