Written by Colin Withers on October 11, 2016
in Events, Technology

Another year, another successful Dreamforce. This year’s conference (the marquee meetup for all things Salesforce) saw over a hundred thousand people pour into San Francisco and as one of Salesforce’s preferred partners, we made sure we were there. With over 2,000 sessions (and one U2 concert) to choose from, there were a ton of great opportunities for attendees to brush up on best practices, get a sneak peek into the future and schmooze with fellow industry members. Here were the 5 things that got us the most excited at this year’s Dreamforce:

  1. Einstein — Einstein took center stage this year as Salesforce revealed more about the company’s foray into AI and machine learning. The Einstein technology’s impact and applications for marketers are extensive and can help reduce the lead time for Marketing Cloud campaigns to allow brands to be nimble and quicker to market. Einstein’s ability to automatically crunch KPI data and spit out recommendations will allow marketers to test and learn on tighter timelines and pick and choose from Einstein’s predictive journeys. All in all, Einstein has the potential to completely change the way we use Salesforce, and for that, it gets the first place nod.
  2. ABM Marketing — For B2B marketers, ABM (Account-Based Marketing) is one of the hottest new trends and there was plenty of chatter at Dreamforce about how the Salesforce technology stack enables and champions ABM. Many marketers over-emphasize lead acquisition and top of the funnel, neglecting (and often losing!) those in the mid-to-late funnel. B2B marketers also traditionally struggle with post-sale marketing, opting to pay through the nose for new customers rather than keeping their current customers informed and primed for upsells and renewals. Salesforce has recognized this and has begun to emerge as a true champion of ABM. The breakout sessions and conversations surrounding ABM at Dreamforce are a clear indication that they’re all-in.
  3. Omni-Channel — At this year’s Dreamforce, Salesforce once again pushed to prove that omnichannel isn’t a dream—it’s a reality. The difficulty for many marketers when it comes to omnichannel traditionally isn’t that they don’t buy into its effectiveness, but that they don’t believe it’s possible to achieve. And so, Salesforce wasted no opportunities to hammer the omnichannel reality into the minds of their attendees. While it may seem impossible on the surface, omnichannel marketing isn’t just possible—it’s quickly becoming expected by your customers.
  4. Performance Visibility — Having visibility into how your marketing is performing is key to understanding your effectiveness as a marketer. Knowing where leads are in their lifecycle stage and if they are stuck. Measuring how different campaigns are accelerating sales cycles. Gaining key insights on various segments within your customer base. All of these are examples of how marketing has moved beyond the “spend and pray” tactics of mass media and sales reps and has created an “ROI or bust” mentality amongst true marketing leaders. Marketing automation technology is one of the best ways to measure and quantify your marketing performance, and as such, it was a major topic at Dreamforce.
  5. One-to-one Targeting — Salesforce Marketing Cloud, in a nutshell, is all about moving away from “casting a wide net” and instead focusing on the one-to-one communication that customers want. So it’s no surprise that the emphasis on one-to-one targeting throughout the conference was one of the things that most excited us, mostly because we’re huge believers in the power of personalized, relevant, and one-to-one marketing and are starting to see that it is gaining traction throughout Salesforce’s user base.

For all of its grandeur, glitz, and glamour, Dreamforce is really all about two things—the technology and how to use it. While the big keynotes and new product reveals grab the headlines, what really excites us about Dreamforce is the ability to talk to both our technology partners at Salesforce and to the marketers they serve. If the U2 concert is the icing on the cake, the cake itself is the thousands of breakout sessions, coffee chats, handshakes and introductions that happen during the week. We’d like to thank our friends at Salesforce for being such great hosts, and the city of San Francisco for tolerating all the extra people gawking at your landmarks. Until next year.

Colin Withers is the Brand & Communications Manager at Ariad Communications.

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