Q&A with Paige O'Neill, CMO at Sitecore

Paige O'Neill, CMO of Sitecore is an experienced, data-driven B2B marketer with enterprise and mid-market SaaS experience that ranges from Fortune 100 to late stage startups and stages in between. Her career graph uniquely combines extensive product marketing and PR / communications backgrounds resulting in an adeptness at creating brand stories and differentiated positioning. 

In this thought-provoking Q&A with MEDIA 7, Paige shares her journey into the field of marketing and her unrelenting zest for technology.

MEDIA 7: What inspired you to get into Marketing?
PAIGE O'NEILL:
 My journey started when I was a Ph.D. student at New York University, and I thought I was on the road to become a college professor, but one day I had an interview at a high-tech PR firm for a part time job. The enthusiasm for technology at that agency changed the course of my life. I felt enamored with everything I heard about “PR” – even though at the time I didn’t even know what it actually was – so I dropped out of the Ph.D. program and started a career working for IBM’s PR agency. I loved technology communications, but wanted to tackle messaging from a more technical perspective, which led to my interest in product marketing. The transition from technology public relations to a product marketing role wasn’t an easy one. It’s an uncommon trajectory and there wasn’t a precedent at the company I worked for at the time, so I had to build my own path. In the end, I hustled to prove that I could leverage the skills I learned through my communications-focused position and translate them to a more product-focused role. It took persistence to prove that point.

"Success for marketers is defined by the ability to deliver experiences that are aware and adaptive to individual customers’ specific needs, in a way that is seamless to the end-user."



M7: What is your favourite part of working at Sitecore?
PN:
I love working with organizations during times of change, and there’s a lot of that going on at Sitecore. We are in the midst of a complete marketing transformation at Sitecore that starts with our top-level messaging, augmenting those messages more towards the marketing department. We are doing this through a new visual identity and branding, an expansion of our demand generation function (which is scaling to map to new personas and go-to-market areas), and, finally, a complete digital transformation leveraging Sitecore’s technology to build a new version of our website and align our digital channels to the customer journey. It’s truly a thrill to be a part of.


"Consumers’ expectations outpace companies’ abilities; most organizations are still early in their efforts to transform the business for a digital world."



M7: What do you consider the biggest challenges for a CMO these days?
PN:
 Marketers have had to accept a heavy truth: it is up to consumers, not them, to decide when, where, and how to engage with their company. Success for marketers is defined by the ability to deliver experiences that are aware and adaptive to individual customers’ specific needs, in a way that is seamless to the end-user. In many cases, though, consumers’ expectations outpace companies’ abilities; most organizations are still early in their efforts to transform the business for a digital world. Getting there will take an investment in technology, and we’ll see marketers rely more on things like channel-agnostic services, machine learning capabilities, and data management systems. But marketers are also going to have to rethink their people and processes, so they have the right training and organizational design to make sure they can leverage the power of those technology investments.


"Marketers have to rethink their people and processes, so they have the right training and organizational design to make sure they can leverage the power of technology investments."



M7: The past year has seen Sitecore hiring four women in executive leadership roles. Is the gap between the number of men and women at Sitecore shrinking? How do you see it?
PN: 
Our CEO, Mark Frost, has always had a passion for diversity and bringing women into senior roles, and it’s been great to see him implement his proactive approach to inclusive hiring at Sitecore. As a result, diversity representation is definitely on the upswing - although we prefer to think of it as more than just a numbers game. Rather than having a quota for female hires, we focus on setting benchmarks that will ensure an equal representation of potential candidates for any position. We’re also taking a top down/bottom up approach to ensure that leadership is setting the right example, while every department is just as engaged in diversity practices.

M7: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
PN: 
Speak up! Articulate your professional goals and don’t wait for someone to notice you and hope they will give you an opportunity. There’s no way for those around you to know what you want, if you don’t vocalize it. I think a lot of time women in particular think if they work hard, someone will notice them, they will earn that promotion or be selected for that exciting opportunity, but I know from personal experience that making your career ambitions known, can pay dividends.

ABOUT SITECORE

Sitecore is the global leader in digital experience management software that combines content management, commerce, and customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud™ empowers marketers to deliver personalized content in real time and at scale across every channel—before, during, and after a sale. More than 5,200 brands––including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, Dow Chemical, and L’Oréal––have trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalized interactions that delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue. Visit Sitecore to know more.

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PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Alibaba.com, a leading platform for global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and part of Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group (AIDC), will launch its latest Smart Assistant features powered by artificial intelligence (AI) at CES in Las Vegas, NV from January 9-12, 2024. The Smart Assistant, an AI-powered global sourcing tool, caters to both newcomers and seasoned entrepreneurs in the dynamic world of global commerce. As a one-stop B2B sourcing platform, Alibaba.com remains committed to delivering innovative solutions to help buyers and suppliers streamline operations to more efficiently reach their goals and continue to grow. The Smart Assistant updates unveiled at CES will help business owners adeptly enhance their supply chain and solve complex sourcing needs and challenges as they seek to stand out in today's competitive marketplace. 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First announced at CES and coming soon to the Alibaba.com Smart Assistant is the Instant Help feature, which leverages an AI-powered chatbot to answer basic inquiries and offer real-time insights and resources, regardless of time zones or language barriers. The Instant Help feature provides buyers with essential knowledge and industry insights about a variety of verticals and product types, as well as offer tips to elevate their communications with suppliers. It will help ensure small businesses can increase efficiency, purchase smart and keep up with trends by leveraging AI to increase competitive advantages. Since their launch in September 2023, the first two features of the Smart Assistant – Upgraded Image Search and Smart Request for Quotation (RFQ) – have already provided significant benefit to entrepreneurs using the Alibaba.com desktop platform. 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The Alibaba.com booth is located at the Las Vegas Convention Center's Tech East in the AI and Robotics section in North Hall's Grand Lobby on level 1, Booth 9017. Visitors to the booth will also have the opportunity to network and connect with 20 top-rated suppliers in-person, personally experiencing the ways Alibaba.com offers buyers advanced sourcing solutions and AI-powered tools to take their business to the next level. Tech and AI Power the Future of Businesses, E-commerce and Sourcing In addition to announcing new Smart Assistant features at CES, Alibaba.com leadership will discuss the evolution of e-commerce and sourcing, as well as how sourcing has been influenced and improved by AI and other technological innovations. Going "Entreprenuts" to Support Small Business Innovation To complement its presence at CES, Alibaba.com is also debuting a new campaign celebrating entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. 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PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

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Alibaba.com Introduces New AI-Powered Feature at CES to Boost Efficiency and Growth for SMEs and Entrepreneurs in 2024

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Alibaba.com, a leading platform for global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and part of Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group (AIDC), will launch its latest Smart Assistant features powered by artificial intelligence (AI) at CES in Las Vegas, NV from January 9-12, 2024. The Smart Assistant, an AI-powered global sourcing tool, caters to both newcomers and seasoned entrepreneurs in the dynamic world of global commerce. As a one-stop B2B sourcing platform, Alibaba.com remains committed to delivering innovative solutions to help buyers and suppliers streamline operations to more efficiently reach their goals and continue to grow. The Smart Assistant updates unveiled at CES will help business owners adeptly enhance their supply chain and solve complex sourcing needs and challenges as they seek to stand out in today's competitive marketplace. "Today's small businesses face a variety of headwinds, but with the right technology and support, they can feel confident that they will overcome obstacles and help their business thrive, which is why we're expanding the features of our new Smart Assistant tool to better serve today's entrepreneurs," said Chris Lu, General Manager at Alibaba.com North America. "With advances in AI, we are ushering in the next generation of sourcing and empowering small businesses to succeed with our Smart Assistant at their side." The Smart Assistant: Shaping the Future of Sourcing Alibaba.com developed the Smart Assistant as an AI-powered, intuitive personal guide to sourcing that helps small business owners discover new opportunities, stay up-to-date on trends, seamlessly track orders and more in a single, efficient touchpoint. First announced at CES and coming soon to the Alibaba.com Smart Assistant is the Instant Help feature, which leverages an AI-powered chatbot to answer basic inquiries and offer real-time insights and resources, regardless of time zones or language barriers. The Instant Help feature provides buyers with essential knowledge and industry insights about a variety of verticals and product types, as well as offer tips to elevate their communications with suppliers. It will help ensure small businesses can increase efficiency, purchase smart and keep up with trends by leveraging AI to increase competitive advantages. Since their launch in September 2023, the first two features of the Smart Assistant – Upgraded Image Search and Smart Request for Quotation (RFQ) – have already provided significant benefit to entrepreneurs using the Alibaba.com desktop platform. Based on Alibaba.com's internal study since September 2023, buyers using the Upgraded Image Search have seen a 28% higher deal closing rate than those only using traditional text search. Buyers who used the Smart RFQ tool saw 29% more quotes from suppliers, while suppliers saw a 21% increase in buyer responses to quotes as compared to the original RFQ process. "Developed from buyer-supplier feedback and embedded with profound industry knowledge, we are excited to demonstrate how the Smart Assistant rapidly and accurately produces product requests and images aligning with buyer needs," Lu said. "Smart Assistant helps buyers embrace their creativity, improve the efficiency of matching buyers and sellers, while making sourcing more accessible for all." Alibaba.com will provide a showcase of Smart Assistant features at their booth on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 11:00 AM PT, hosted by smart sourcing expert Stella Shenshen. The Alibaba.com booth is located at the Las Vegas Convention Center's Tech East in the AI and Robotics section in North Hall's Grand Lobby on level 1, Booth 9017. Visitors to the booth will also have the opportunity to network and connect with 20 top-rated suppliers in-person, personally experiencing the ways Alibaba.com offers buyers advanced sourcing solutions and AI-powered tools to take their business to the next level. Tech and AI Power the Future of Businesses, E-commerce and Sourcing In addition to announcing new Smart Assistant features at CES, Alibaba.com leadership will discuss the evolution of e-commerce and sourcing, as well as how sourcing has been influenced and improved by AI and other technological innovations. Going "Entreprenuts" to Support Small Business Innovation To complement its presence at CES, Alibaba.com is also debuting a new campaign celebrating entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. The Entreprenuts campaign highlights how entrepreneurs are willing to bet big, as well as maintain persistence and boundless creativity, against daunting odds. In other words, they can go a little "entreprenuts" to achieve their dreams and create new products – just like the products showcased each year at CES. Throughout the Entreprenuts campaign, which will run from January 8 through February 8, 2024, Alibaba.com will encourage buyers to share stories of their craziest entrepreneurial moments, utilizing the most "nuts'' stories in a video highlight to showcase what it means to be an Entreprenut. Buyers can also earn their Entreprenut badge and profile by answering a questionnaire that will determine their unique Entreprenut characteristic. At the end of each quiz, buyers will be provided with exclusive tools and services to help them achieve their goals as they kickstart 2024. "This campaign demonstrates Alibaba.com's continued support of small and medium-sized businesses in the United States and helping them realize their entrepreneurial dreams and push beyond what others might believe possible," said Rah Mahtani, Head of Marketing for North America at Alibaba.com. "As buyers share their experiences, Alibaba.com will offer innovative new resources and products to help these 'Entreprenuts' succeed on their journey." The campaign debuts at a key crossroads for small business owners. The US has seen a surge in the number of newly registered businesses, which hit record highs in both 2021 (5.4 million) and 2022 (5.1 million). Sadly, 20% of these new businesses face failure within the first two years, and a staggering 45% of startups do not surpass the five-year mark due to challenges such as market volatility, supply chain disruption, shifting consumer demands, and inventory management. This makes the tools and capabilities Alibaba.com offers, which are designed to help entrepreneurs level up their sourcing and supply chain operations in the increasingly competitive small business arena, more valuable than ever. About Alibaba.com Launched in 1999, Alibaba.com is a leading platform for global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce that serves buyers and suppliers from over 200 countries and regions around the world. It is engaged in services covering all aspects of commerce, including providing businesses with tools that help them reach a global audience for their products and helping buyers discover products, find suppliers and place orders online fast and efficiently. Alibaba.com is part of Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group.

Read More

TECHNOLOGY

Sovos Acquires Aatrix Software, Expanding Solution and Service Capabilities for SMBs

Business Wire | January 12, 2024

Global compliance technology solutions and services provider Sovos announced today it has acquired North Dakota-based Aatrix Software, a leader in payroll tax forms, extending our leadership in compliance with enhanced capabilities across e-Filing for 1099 and ACA 1095 reporting and W2/payroll reporting – increasing our local, state and federal coverage. This acquisition brings together two companies with significant experience and expertise in helping small and medium-sized businesses navigate the complexity of tax and regulatory compliance. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve and electronic filing thresholds are lowered, it’s important that SMBs have access to the technology solutions and services they need to ensure proper and timely tax filings to maintain compliance. Together, Sovos and Aatrix will better inform users about changing mandates and provide them easy access to the tools and support they need. Between our two companies, we bring to bear extensive reach in terms of existing partnerships and configurations to work with nearly any platform or systems provider. “The continued digitization of tax compliance affects businesses of every size, and this is especially true for SMBs,” said Kevin Akeroyd, CEO, Sovos. “Small businesses really are the backbone of the U.S. and we have made a commitment at Sovos to provide them with the technology and support they need. We believe that Aatrix shares these same principles and fits perfectly into our existing portfolio, we are excited to welcome them into the fold.” Aatrix occupies a strong segment of the market and offers customers a deep level of form functionality as well as a flexible solution that can adapt to their various software offerings. Primarily focused on serving customers through integrations with ERP and payroll providers, Aatrix has been able to leverage its critical business functionality, embedded relationships with payroll partners, and high customer satisfaction to create a highly sticky solution. Its ‘sweet spot’ is primarily mid-sized companies with geographic scale to require multiple tax forms, however the solution has broad appeal across market segments and industries. “Aatrix has been a leader in helping small and mid-sized businesses meet their compliance obligations for nearly four decades and we are extremely proud of the work we’ve done and the partnerships we’ve created,” said Steve Lunseth, CEO, Aatrix. “I believe that the timing is right for us to bring our solutions portfolio under the Sovos umbrella to create even stronger opportunities for our customers, partners and employees. Our combined expertise and reach will assure that any business that wants to streamline their filing process will have access to the best people and solutions on the market.” The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sovos is owned by Hg, the London-based specialist private equity investor focused on software and service businesses, and TA Associates. Holland & Hart LLP served as legal advisor to Sovos. About Sovos Sovos is a global provider of tax, compliance and trust solutions and services that enable businesses to navigate an increasingly regulated world with true confidence. Purpose-built for always-on compliance capabilities, our scalable IT-driven solutions meet the demands of an evolving and complex global regulatory landscape. Sovos’ cloud-based software platform provides an unparalleled level of integration with business applications and government compliance processes. More than 100,000 customers in 100+ countries – including half the Fortune 500 – trust Sovos for their compliance needs. Sovos annually processes more than three billion transactions across 19,000 global tax jurisdictions. Bolstered by a robust partner program more than 400 strong, Sovos brings to bear an unrivaled global network for companies across industries and geographies. Founded in 1979, Sovos has operations across the Americas and Europe, and is owned by Hg and TA Associates. About Aatrix Aatrix Software is a leading provider of W2, 1099 and ACA reporting solutions servicing over 300,000 businesses. Aatrix has been developing innovative accounting software solutions since 1986. Aatrix' finance software has received numerous awards, including Software Digests highest overall rating and Home Office Computing Editors Pick. Today, the Aatrix Electronic Forms Division is one of the nation's premier payroll reporting specialists.

Read More

FINANCE

DREAMSPRING AND WOODFOREST NATIONAL BANK COLLABORATE TO STRENGTHEN SMALL BUSINESS LENDING AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACROSS THE U.S.

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

DreamSpring, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Small Business Administration (SBA) lender, and Woodforest National Bank® (Woodforest), a national bank with over 760 branches across 17 states, are working together to provide access to $1.5 million in debt capital to low- and moderate-income (LMI) small business entrepreneurs. The influx of lending capital from Woodforest to DreamSpring is a milestone in their shared commitment to spur community development and job creation through expanding peer networks and increasing access to capital. "Our collaboration with Woodforest widens the path for entrepreneurs to access much-needed capital and business resources," said Anne Haines, President and CEO of DreamSpring. "With Woodforest at our side, DreamSpring continues to expand our capacity to help small business owners realize their dreams and build stronger, more resilient communities through entrepreneurship." Daniel Galindo, Senior Vice President & Director of the CRA Program & Strategic Initiatives at Woodforest National Bank added, "Working with a strong CDFI like DreamSpring combines both organizations' financial strengths to provide access to LMI small business owners who struggle to get the funds they need to run and grow their business which is a key focus for our team." Both financial institutions share a commitment to empowering communities through entrepreneurship. The term loan agreement will allow DreamSpring to provide microloans to small business owners and LMI entrepreneurs as they start or grow their businesses across 10 shared states in DreamSpring and Woodforest's national footprints: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, and Texas. The agreement between DreamSpring and Woodforest also strengthens the teams' vision to expand peer networks across their shared footprint to provide more resources for small business owners. For instance, in South Dallas, both organizations have embraced the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) acclaimed Dallas REACh initiative, aimed at increasing LMI access to capital. Woodforest facilitated DreamSpring's connection to the monthly Dallas REACh roundtable, bringing together banks, CDFIs, and community stakeholders and leaders. This collaboration has resulted in a greater network of support in South Dallas, enriching the local small business ecosystem. One South Dallas-based small business owner who has felt the life-changing impact of capital is Taylor Symoné. Her small day spa business offers beauty and hair treatments, therapeutic post-operative care, massages, and facials. When she was first getting started, Taylor remembers calling about 15 financial institutions and feeling frustrated every time by the paperwork needed for a small loan, as well as rigid requirements for only helping businesses with at least two years of operational history. DreamSpring was different. Taylor has since repaid three DreamSpring loans to fuel her business growth and create even more opportunities for her family. "I'm really big on generational wealth," says Taylor. "I like to teach my kids about being their own boss, being the star of their own show, and learning and understanding that you can create your own passageway — you just have to want to." For 30 years, DreamSpring has developed small business training and a range of loan products to meet the needs of entrepreneurs like Taylor. Today, DreamSpring offers credit-building small business loans, lines of credit, SBA 7(a) loans, and commercial real estate loans in 27 states to level the playing field by bridging credit and knowledge gaps that hinder economic mobility. About DreamSpring DreamSpring is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lender dedicated to accelerating the economic inclusion and strength of underserved communities. Founded in 1994, the organization provides rapid access to capital and customized wrap-around support to the most vulnerable small business owners in 27 states, focusing on communities including people of color, women, low- to moderate-income earners, people with disabilities, and start-ups. To date, DreamSpring has issued more than 48,796 loans totaling over $538 million to small businesses that support an estimated 65,138 jobs. About Woodforest National Bank Celebrating over 40 years of community banking service, Woodforest National Bank has successfully stood among the strongest community banks in the nation, proudly offering outstanding customer service since 1980. Woodforest currently operates over 760 branches in 17 states across the United States and is an Outstanding CRA rated institution.

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