Dreamforce is always a complete whirlwind. This is my 6th (or is it 7th) Dreamforce, but each year brings something new, different, and bigger than the last! With over 170,000 attendees, Salesforce has certainly painted the town of San Francisco blue. Plus, they have turned Howard street into a glamping paradise, complete with airstream trailers, wooden decks, succulent gardens, and more! You can’t argue with that kind of ambience! Salesforce has certainly created their own microcosmic universe.
I even had the pleasure of witnessing a press briefing with Marc Benioff and the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, as Salesforce talked about their plan to donate 1 million books to schools after Dreamforce. Attendees are being encouraged to bring books with them to donate to the cause.
This year marks EverString’s first year attending the event. We are in Moscone North in booth N1044. We also have a spot in Apttus’ Sales and Marketing Lounge, and an area in Marketo’s lounge at LuLu’s. Be sure to come check us out!
Every year there is a ton to take in, and lots of nuggets of wisdoms. Here are a 5 things I have learned so far.
1. Base your marketing methods on humanity—it always scales.
I finally got to attend some non-keynote sessions this year (yes!) and I attended Cliff Seal’s—senior UX engineer at Pardot—session called “No One Cares About Your Content…Yet”. Thoroughly enjoyable! One of the key points that resonated with me is the concept of always designing your marketing plans around the fact that, no matter who you are marketing to—B2B or B2C—you are marketing to humans. As a content marketer, this sentiment strikes a cord. In order to develop strong content that tells a story and creates an experience with your audience, you must be authentic and show your human side. People don’t want to be marketed to by robots. And, they don’t want to be treated as faceless prospects. People are emotional. People like to laugh. People like to feel. Your marketing should evoke these elements. There is so much data available to you about who your customers are, use that data to create relevant and emotional content.
2. As your company grows don’t be a black box. If you are, people will fill that box with whatever is clickable.
This point was brought up by Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, during his fireside chat keynote with Benioff. There are a lot of challenges that face young, growing companies. And there are so many companies in the Bay Are that are growing up fast. As a result, many of these company’s have yet to figure out their story—what makes a company unique and what makes them relatable. Because of this, many growing companies lack transparency to the public—and as Travis points out—the public and the media will take that lack of transparency and sensationalize headlines. Without telling your own story, other people will tell that story for you. While of course this is important to all companies, it can be particularly critical to growing companies whose story is still be written.
3. Blend technology, science, and art to make a difference.
In Wednesday’s main keynote, Benioff spoke a lot about giving back and working as a community to make a difference. His first guest speaker was Dr. Laura Esserman of UCSF who spoke about how she is using the Salesforce platform to create what she called “precision medicine”—the ability to use data signals about a patient’s risk, history, and story to create a tailored 1:1 treatment plan. Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, Laura believes that the power of data can make individualized treatment much more powerful—“why not use data to create Moneyball for medicine?”. Combining data with the science of medicine and the art of creating experiences, a difference can be made.
While many of us attendees are not in medicine, there is a lot to be learned from her approach. As Benioff puts it—why not create precision enterprises? Using the data that we collect en masse to create personalized, relevant experiences for our customers. And this, of course, is much of what we believe at EverString—understanding how to leverage your own data to optimize your sales and marketing processes.
4. Your customers are always connected.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a huge focus at this year’s conference—and Salesforce’s new platform, Lightening, has been created to address our new connected world. Think about it—we are always connected and always on. Whether it is our laptops, mobile phones, tablets, watches, or even cars, IoT has become an increasingly pervasive part of how we operate. As businesses, we need to learn how to connect all of these data-points and experiences to create a seamless view of the customer. This is beneficial for both us, the business, and the customer. By collecting these insights, you can better begin to predict (think predictive analytics) who your best customers are and what is the best way to connect with them.
5. Dreamforce creates an incredible community of innovation.
It’s truly amazing to watch this conference grow over the years! Right now, as I write this, I am squeezing myself into a small space in Moscone West to work on this blog. I remember when I first started coming to Dreamforce, there were many quiet places. It’s really fantastic to see like-minded people of all roles, industries, and backgrounds converge in San Francisco to network and be educated. Each year I meet more and more people and am constantly surprised by the camaraderie of this group! From early morning events with a quick coffee pick-me-ups, to a multitude of sessions, hanging out in a bean bag chair, and networking over cocktails–Dreamforce truly has it all.
We are midway through the event, but there is still lots more to come! Be sure to check out booth N1044 in Moscone North to learn more about who we are and what we do!