In a sea of Dreamforce attendees, one thing is certain: data is being utilized in new and exciting ways to help marketers overcome the roadblocks they face. The best example of this was the focus on Einstein, Salesforce’s artificial intelligence tool that continues to advance across all Salesforce clouds.

Related: How chatbots are integrating with consumer-brand experiences.

Historically, major announcements have been made during Dreamforce—whether new product lines, features, etc.—it’s always a good chance that something will be announced. While Salesforce’s newly formed partnerships with Google, Sitecore, and others grabbed headlines, this year we didn’t see too much of that. Instead, enhancements to those previously released products/features were front and center.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud keynote at Dreamforce 2017

Once again, Salesforce was able to take 170,000+ people and bring them together for one event. Although it’s impossible to be able to consume all of the content, product updates, innovations, our team of 35+ DEGers set out to bring most of it back to you in one (albeit lengthy) blog post.

Here is what resonated most with us from four days in San Francisco.

Tony Toubia, Senior Relationship Marketing Strategist

As a strategist frequently working with clients already on Salesforce Marketing Cloud, this Dreamforce was particularly exciting. The launch of Einstein Engagement Scoring is presenting real, actionable opportunities to make an impact on marketing campaigns today. Marketers may use the likelihood to remain subscribed as a simple segmentation tool in order to target the most active subscribers, therefore protecting sender reputation and improving deliverability.

Einstein Engagement Scoring is presenting real, actionable opportunities to impact marketing campaigns.

In addition, any marketer should find themselves asking questions such as “What would I say differently to my subscribers who have a high likelihood to click, but low likelihood to open, as compared to my subscribers who have a high likelihood to open and click?” That approach can bring to life simplified and actionable dynamic content and significantly boost relevance.

Salesforce DMP also continues to be a focus for me personally. I am not a media guy by trade, but DMP presents some really compelling opportunities for audience strategy, which transcends any one channel. How can we use the context of a discovered segment’s behavior and interests to begin personalizing site experience, emails or even to trigger journeys? Furthermore, Einstein Journey Insights as a component of the DMP is giving marketers insight into the ideal path to conversion, making optimization a cinch.

Tony Toubia presenting with Piper LeJeune of The Salvation Army

Lastly, having spoken at three sessions at Dreamforce, it was truly an amazing experience to hear from everyone after each session and discuss their unique perspectives and challenges. Shout out to the amazing folks from Hallmark, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and The Salvation Army who all did tremendous as co-presenters with me!

Jeanette Thomas, Senior Team Lead of Salesforce Commerce Cloud Implementation

If you are not thinking mobile-first, you need to change your thought process.

In every single session I attended, there was always a mention of mobile. People are using their mobile devices to shop more frequently, even when they are standing in a physical store. Merchants need to be aware of this fact and review their sites to ensure that they are not presenting any barriers for these mobile shoppers. Touchpoints that are easy to hit, simple checkout process, payment methods that are mobile friendly; these make it easy for the mobile shopper to complete their orders online. If you are not thinking mobile-first, you need to change your thought process!

Brett Terp, Marketing Automation Strategist

One name sums up what seemed to be the theme of this year’s Dreamforce: Einstein. No matter where you looked, or what session/keynote you attended, the prevalence of artificial predictive intelligence shone through. Salesforce has put tremendous effort into what they see as the future of marketing and a technology that ultimately allows marketers to market to the moment. Which means getting consumers the right content, in the right place, at the right time, in the right channel.

As a marketer that straddles the worlds of both B2B and B2C, I continued to learn how advancements in marketing automation play an ever-present role in the creation of customer journeys. For Marketing Cloud, the growth of the platform and its ever-increasing cloud of connections (now including Sitecore!) allows for what has been and continues to be a central hub for all marketing activity and analysis. Also, while Pardot also benefits from advancements in predictive intelligence, the success stories around the use of ABM (Account Based Marketing) shows the power of the platform to truly connect both sales and marketing on deeper levels than ever before.

Data is pushing the envelope of personalization, which is one of the highest drivers of success for modern marketers.

Finally, one of the pieces that was most compelling is the continued integration of DMP into Salesforce’s growing tech stack. When it comes to the future of marketing, data is pushing the envelope of personalization which, as we well know, is one of the highest drivers of success for the modern marketer. DMP allows teams to combine data from a large variety of sources to uncover insights that will ultimately drive more relevant personal marketing.

Brenna Hawley-Craig, Business Analyst

Three words describe a theme at this year’s breakout sessions: data, data, data. A number of sessions discussed data cleanliness, from launching a new org to cleaning up a messy one. Speakers emphasized the necessity of cleaning data before starting a new project, whether that means deleting duplicate records or defining what each data type is to all business units. Understanding the business processes behind the data was also imperative, because knowing why the data is needed drives the design of the system. Following these best practices help ensure an org is as easy to use as possible and easily adoptable for users.

Jennifer Horner, Senior Relationship Marketing Strategist

The first session I attended was the Dreamtalk with Mellody Hobson on Monday; her talk focused on her life story and how she’s using her influence to affect change in the workplace. Her whole talk was inspirational and a great way to start Dreamforce, but the phrase that stuck out to me most was: “Let’s not admire the problems. Let’s solve them.” While this is a phrase that is applicable across almost every facet of my life, personal and professional, when I think about it in context of Dreamforce, I see several applications.

The Sitecore and Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration will provide easier content sharing across platforms.

With the many upgrades to the platform that were touted, advancements that can help solve routine roadblocks marketers face every day will be addressed:

  • The Sitecore and SFMC integration will provide easier content sharing across platforms. This will allow marketers to deliver more personalized experiences to customers by leveraging the same assets in email and online for a more integrated approach to marketing campaigns.
  • The Google and Salesforce partnership announced at Dreamforce will help to solve two big concerns we frequently address with our clients. First, it will allow for a more seamless integration between SFMC tracking data and Google Analytics. Tying these two major components of analytics more tightly together will allow us to get a clearer picture of what our email subscribers are doing post-click; are they purchasing or browsing, and what are they looking at on the site? In addition, the integration will allow marketers to more intelligently serve up digital ads to targeted audiences for either retargeting or prospecting based on the data coming back into Marketing Cloud through Ad Studio.
  • The Commerce Cloud upgrades noted during the keynote utilize Einstein for the Search Dictionary to more intelligently populate search on website will be powerful. We all know that there are hundreds of shades of pink, but with the new Einstein Search Dictionary, Commerce Cloud will be able to populate items with the color of peony, coral, rose, and salmon on one page to deliver a better customer experience.

With each of the new features rolled out at Dreamforce, both big and small, Salesforce is showing that it is taking steps to solve problems—each of which will help to address the overall problem we as marketers face every day around how we can better address our customers in a more personalized way to drive better conversion and brand loyalty.

Kristen Miller, Manager of Project Management

Dreamforce continued its Trailblazer theme during the 2017 conference. And with the notion of being a trailblazer, one must consider how to create new paths with the new way of working, interacting and advocating for our people, companies, and future generations.

From a product standpoint, Salesforce announced the launch of Success Cloud. The purpose of this cloud is to understand every customer’s path to success, and provide a compass in building inspired teams with purpose-driven organizations that excel in pushing real change with accelerated execution. The Success Cloud is tailored to how you want to work—do it myself, show me how, or go through the process with me—with the ultimate goal of creating a tangible and decisive roadmap, laying the path for events and releases to come.

With the continued push in artificial intelligence and an evolving workforce, change is on the horizon for developing technology that predicts and builds teams based on skill set. No longer will solutions require the combination of a business analyst and a developer. Instead, imagine the potential of looking through your existing talented staff to build dynamic work teams that solve problems in new ways. By sharing data across the company, you can bridge siloed and stale information that builds environments and incubators for powerful organizational change just by truly understanding the skills, even unknown, that exist in your teams.

Salesforce rounded the conference out with two powerful discussions. One from Michelle Obama—a powerful woman with a focused and heartfelt message, which had a striking resemblance—to a dynamic conversation around saving our oceans, the focus on our next generation. The two shared similar messages, that collaboration is the true catalyst for change. No longer can we silo our information and hoard our knowledge. Often times, our greatest threat is simple ignorance in not truly understanding the other side or simply unknown impact of the decisions we make.

All in all, Salesforce is an evolving and intelligent tool whose power can be ignited by the right team building the right solution to solve a problem at the right moment. How will you blaze your trail?

Jeff VonSeldeneck, Business Development Director

Dreamforce was amazing, as usual. I personally spent most of the conference in the Marketing and Commerce Cloud Lodge where I met tons of great people and brands, and best yet, I got to see tons of our clients. I look forward to Dreamforce 2018.

Jennifer Hoth, Senior Relationship Marketing Strategist

While there is never a shortage of topics to discuss following Dreamforce, these themes stood out to me as quick-hitting takeaways from the conference.

While mobile-first design may seem like it is top-of-mind for everyone, it isn’t.

Einstein and AI

Einstein is gaining more traction, but you need lightning to be able to use most features.

Mobile-first Design

While this may seem like it is top-of-mind for everyone, it isn’t. Mobile is still often the after-thought of design.

Salesforce Announcements

Salesforce is expanding around the globe in both technology and in its mission to change the world. Salesforce is now offering customized trailhead options that help fit with your company’s needs. Probably the biggest announcement is the partnership with Google. This is groundbreaking, and gives Salesforce a huge competitive advantage.

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