The dust has finally settled over Dreamforce 2013, what is claimed by many to be the biggest tech conference in the world. Now that we’ve recuperated from the madness (almost), we thought it would be a great time to reflect on our experiences and the things that we loved most from our first time attending the renowned event.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect, since many of the attendees are not just the typical crowd of digital marketers and IT pros at the conferences we normally attend. Aside from being a bit overwhelmed at the sheer size, we gained a lot of new insight from keynotes and breakout sessions. We also had the chance to make some great new friends, and of course made it out at night for a few of the parties.
Here are the top three reasons we loved Dreamforce 2013 and why we’ll most certainly be back next year:
1. The Speakers – One of the most impressive things about Dreamforce 2013 was the fantastic lineup of speakers. Not simply because they were big names, but because they actually talked about things that impact us personally. We overheard attendees making comments about Sheryl Sandberg’s lack of Facebook mentions during her keynote, “after all,” someone said, “this is a tech conference.” To us, what makes Dreamforce so successful and something so many want to be a part of is the fact that it touches other aspects important in our lives, way above and beyond the latest and greatest products and features. That is exactly what Dr. Wayne Dyer, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Meyer and Deepak Chopra and all gave us in each of their keynotes. We’re already looking forward to find out who will be speaking at next year’s event.
2. The Swag – Exhibitors passing out swag is the norm at every conference. From iPads to cars, we were shocked and amazed at what some companies were giving away. That made the swag at Dreamforce anything but the norm. Our top pick of the best swag has to go to Marketo. They gave away branded blankets and Snuggies, a Smart TV, iPad mini, airline vouchers and a Smart Car.
The company even included all the great stuff they were giving away in an infographic – talk about great marketing! MuleSoft was another exhibitor that stood out with a grand prize of a new Tesla. I don’t know how anyone is going to top that in future Dreamforce conferences to come, but we’re certain they will try.
3. More Focus on the Marketing Industry – Traditionally, the marketing world has not had a very strong presence at Dreamforce, but this year it was much more noticeable. This could have something to do with Salesforce strengthening their presence in the marketing cloud space with the acquisition of ExactTarget and Edgespring, but we also think it has more to do with people realizing that marketing is increasingly becoming one of the most influential departments in the organization in almost every industry. As a solutions provider with a goal of making the lives of marketers easier, we may be a bit biased, but we’ve believed this for quite some time.
Why? Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget, summarized it best at his Marketing Cloud Keynote: “Everything is connected, and it is truly the marketer who is leading this transformation in new ways by being in a very unique position to steer exactly how brands connect with their customers.”
We couldn’t agree more, which is why we created AudienceStream, which fuels products like ExactTarget through rich unified audience data. It allows marketers to segment audiences, enrich visitor profiles and trigger action through partners at the moment users interact with the brand via a variety of channels. Marketing is paving the way every organization communicates with customers and we’re extremely excited to be on the forefront. As Dorsey said during the keynote, “get to the future first and be there when your customers arrive.” Adding to that, Dorsey highlighted three main goals shared by all marketers (or at least should be) to 1. build a single view of your customer from anywhere, 2. automate the customer journey, and 3. optimize and personalize content across every digital channel on every device.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on Dreamforce 2013. What did you like best about the conference this year? What impressed or surprised you most?