First things first: I’m not a developer. As such, I have a limited perspective as to how this year’s tech-oriented sessions played out. But as a marketing creative, I came to Symposium for insights, ideas and questions that would fuel my thinking forward. Specifically, I was looking for inspiration and ideas to help me create storytelling experiences that take advantage of the Sitecore platform. And while I found some great nuggets here and there (shout out to the accessibility session!), I also found myself wanting a bit more.
I realize that Sitecore’s bread and butter has always been technology. But as today’s Symposium is just as much about developing incredible customer experiences as developing for Sitecore itself, I’d love to see the event stoke bigger conversations amongst marketing professionals. After all, Sitecore is the scaffolding from which we hang our images, words and ideas — all in service of making a more meaningful connection amongst audiences.
So enough preamble. Let’s get to some ideas for Symposium 2020 and beyond.
1) Let’s talk tomorrow’s biggest marketing challenges
Admittedly, the world doesn’t need another TED Talk series. But there are some fundamental shifts on the horizon regarding how people use the internet and what they expect of information.
For example, how will voice search impact content in the immediate future?
Currently, 65% of 25-49-year-olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once a day (PWC, 2019). And stats show that by 2020, 50% of all online searches will be voice searches (Wordstream, 2018). How will this translate to corporate websites and user experiences?
Other potential topics include:
How will AI help designers create custom experiences for users? Beyond recognizing a user’s history with a site as well as geo-based information, how can AI help influence the look/tone/feel of an experience? In short, how will AI influence the creative experience going forward.
What does the future of ecomm look like? More and more people are discovering brands on Internet store shelves…how can brands make the sale when the traditional purchase funnel has been subverted?
I’d love for Symposium to invest in a handful of these clear and present challenges and explore how the company is equipped to help marketers forge ahead. In short, Symposium could be more of a tool to help us talk about where we’re going vs. where we’ve been.
2) Break out the new toys
AR and VR aren’t buzzwords anymore. Apple is expected to release its AR headset in 2022, followed by AR glasses in 2023. And a lot of experts see Apple as laggards in respect to these new technologies.
I’d love for Symposium to show me a roadmap of how their products play nice with the promise of more immersive, engaging and even emotional experiences that people will come to expect as AR/VR mature.
Better yet, show me a demo. Let me get as close to hands-on with the experiences of the future as possible — all so I can dream bigger today and help prepare clients for the world right around the corner.
3) So what’s cool with websites?
Sometimes the easiest way to get people talking is to simply show people what’s possible with the everyday tools at their disposal. Essentially, Sitecore should show marketers of all stripes breakthrough examples of their core product: websites and how brands can manifest themselves creatively within the platform.
These examples could be interesting brand narratives, connected experiences, customer tools…the list goes on and on.
In short, we’ve seen thousands of hero videos on homepages. Show me something more engaging and how Sitecore helps empower these interesting moments.
Again, I enjoyed the conference and the success stories within Sitecore. But next year I hope to see more sessions geared towards marketers — all so I can share with my colleagues and clients and truly ratchet up the excitement for what we’ll create together on the platform.