CHICAGO — A new partnership with Accenture highlighted several announcements at Sitecore Symposium 2022 in Chicago last week, the company’s first live Symposium since 2019.

Sitecore, a digital experience software company, has worked with Accenture, the Dublin, Ireland-based professional services company, for 22 years, said Steve Tzikakis, Sitecore CEO. During that time, the two companies have worked together on more than 250 engagements in 21 countries. The collaboration has included clients across a variety of industries, including CNH Industrial and Iveco Group.

“This is probably one of the biggest partnerships that Sitecore has made in the last 22 years,” Tzikakis said. “We're joining (the) Accenture strategic platform group."

The Sitecore CEO added his company will add the services of a "great partner in creativity in technology and strategy in advisory with a lot of industry insights, coupled with a composable DXP.” Tzikakis expects the partnership to provide huge momentum for Accenture as well as for the Sitecore ecosystem.

“Ninety-five percent of executives globally are reporting their customers’ lives are changing faster than their businesses can,” said Bob Markham, Accenture Song (formerly Accenture Interactive) North America lead. “As a result, organizations are fundamentally rethinking what products and services they offer, how they operate their businesses and how they interact with their customers. To remain relevant, companies must be able to react to customer needs quickly, creating compelling, agile digital experiences. Through our strategic partnership, we are even better positioned to help our clients design, deliver and optimize digital experiences across the entire customer life cycle.”

Here are some other takeaways from Sitecore Symposium 2022, the theme of which was “meet every moment”:

Related Article: 4 Major Announcements at Sitecore Symposium 2022

Sitecore's Doubling Down on Content

“There is a fine line between victory and defeat,” Tzikakis told attendees in a keynote. “For many of us, it often comes down to that 1% — it's the last throw in a match; it's the last quarter, often the last idea in a meeting. If you can win that extra 1%, can you imagine the impact this can have in your business?”

Content is king — most businesses invest 1% of their revenue in content, according to Tzikakis. “So going after that 1% will take the right strategy, the right platform and the right ecosystem. Together we can win that extra percentage point."

He pointed to the current challenges companies are facing, including changes in labor, workforce changes, rising inflation and energy prices and declining equity prices.

“Everybody's talking about the recession coming, so on the other hand, you have a lot of companies that are looking for growth — they're looking for efficiencies,” he added. So companies are looking for better efficiencies for the 1% they invest in content, a market that continues to grow despite other challenges on the economic front.

“Gartner and IDC say that the content market will continue growing for the next seven to eight years by 20%,” Tzikakis added. “But 5% of the content receives 90% of attention. Can you imagine going back to your own business? What is the impact this has for you? It wasn't what you can do with content, engagement, performance and personalization online conversion. And these are fundamental questions we’re trying to answer for our customers. And hence we coined it the 1% challenge, helping you improve your business one percentage at a time.”

Tzikakis added that having good content is amazing, but content with personalized, well-optimized understanding of the client is even more impactful.

Related Article: Sitecore Symposium: Search Takes Center Stage 

Learning Opportunities

Consumers Expect to Engage With Companies in Virtual Environments

Marketers need to be thinking about what they need to do to meet CX moments today and ones that are fast approaching, according to Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill, who pointed out three key strategies:

  1. Deliver what the customers care about: They want to connect with brands that align with their values and operate with authenticity. A brand can build a stronger relationship by selling empathy and understanding of their needs right in the moment. Even if a customer leaves, if the brand operates with authenticity, as many as 34% of those customers will return.
  2. Increase your content strategies: Every moment requires brands to be distinct, to be memorable. The top reason companies invest in CX is to differentiate themselves from the competition to stand out. Content marketing is shifting from white papers to text-based videos. And a shift is actually occurring right now in how content is being discovered changing over from search engines right into social media.
  3. Build boldly to get ready for the moments that are coming tomorrow. According to Sitecore’s “2022 Perceptions of the Metaverse” report, nearly half (42%) of all US consumers say they’re metaverse “enthusiasts,” and are most excited about using the virtual environment to attend virtual events, pursue thrill-seeking adventures, tour homes, try on clothes, buy cars and explore places before traveling.

Most consumers in the survey (88%) expect to see brands selling and advertising in the metaverse in the next one to two years via direct messages (59%), pop-ups (52%) and influencer marketing (52%). Three in four marketers (69%) say they plan to build metaverse experiences in 2023.

Nearly one-third (31%) of marketers said the metaverse is already part of their current marketing program, while more than half of marketers (56%) are already investing in “metaverse-like technologies,” such as augmented reality or virtual reality. 

Related Article: Sitecore Symposium Attendees and CX Professionals Share 2023 CX Priorities 

Sitecore's New Public Cloud Offerings and What's Next

The company released new public cloud products and services:

  • Sitecore Search: A product that uses predictive capabilities to help users find results faster with an AI engine that customizes how content is matched, sorted and promoted. The company uses the product on its own website. 
  • Content Hub One: This is a headless CMS designed to enable brands to launch and manage experiences on digital channels. Developers can build frontends using any framework for data-driven experiences, while marketers author content at the same time. 
  • Sitecore Connect: A low-code/no-code interface to connect Sitecore products to an existing technology stack. 
  • XM Cloud Enhancements: New editing interfaces, native personalization and testing capabilities will be included in the new release.

“Every customer journey is unique; grabbing their attention in a TikTok world is incredibly hard and keeping them engaged even harder,” said Dave O’Flanagan, Sitecore chief product officer. “Their expectations are continually rising, and customers expect the digital interaction to be as easy as booking a stay on Airbnb.”

Some customers may want to self-serve digitally, O’Flanagan added. “Others may want to speak to a person at some point in the customer journey," he said. "Everybody is different regardless of how every customer interacts, fast, frictionless understanding to meet bigger customer expectations is a huge opportunity for your brand. What really excites me is this flexibility and choice. It can bring some complexity in terms of how resources are integrated.”

Sitecore is working on future enhancements and capabilities, O’Flanagan added. Among them are extended capabilities for merchandising, analytics and AI.

“We're going to create a store for the next empires with a suite of performance components that can be assembled in a visual authoring environment that you share together, and we believe this is the only type of change that we have composable compensates,” O’Flanagan said. “Through the project the team has assembled tracking features, and we expect to have this in the house offers next year.”