Dreamforce 2016 is right around the corner, and we will be among the 100K+ attendees flooding the streets of San Francisco to learn and network around the biggest trends and innovations in the digital marketing space.

With more than 2,000 sessions, major announcements planned during the keynote sessions, and topics that spread across the digital channels (e-commerce, social media, and email to name a few), it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

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Below, our experienced DEGers break down what they believe will be the major focal points of the conference and the topics you might want to pay special attention to as you plan out your schedule to help strengthen your marketing strategies.

And of course, you’ll want to get away from the crowd and visit us in the Marketing Lodge (and enter to win a GoPro while you’re there).

Have marketing questions? Stop by our booth for a 1-on-1 conversation with one of our DEGeniuses.

Cara Olson, Director of Relationship Marketing

I am looking forward to the industry-specific events for retail at Dreamforce. While many attendees may think of Dreamforce in more of a B2B context, there is a lot happening around B2C as well.

I’ll be hosting an exclusive, invite-only retail industry roundtable session with the Marketing Cloud from 8:30-9:45 a.m. (PST) on Wednesday morning (October 5) titled “Modernizing Email Marketing by Personalizing Every Retail Experience.” Be sure to let us know if you’d like an invite!

On Wednesday, Salesforce will present a new research report around “Leading the Customer Experience in the Consumer Products and Retail Sector.” Long-time DEG client Crocs will be presenting examples in support of many of the key findings featured in this report. This session is from 11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m. (PST) at the Palace Hotel titled “How Top Retailers Like Crocs Make Every Step of the Journey Count.” Sign up in agenda builder today!

Travis Most, Director of Salesforce CRM

Every Dreamforce is bigger than the last, in almost every way. More sessions, bigger announcements, bigger-name entertainers, and more of downtown San Francisco taken over by tens of thousands of Salesforce users, administrators, developers, partners, employees, enthusiasts, and fanatics. Although the number of attendees has been toned down a bit this year, Dreamforce 2016 is sold out and promises to be even bigger than last year in other ways. (And yes, I’m talking about more than U2 headlining Dreamfest.)

The themes of this year’s Dreamforce will be continued innovation, integration, and industry specialization.

The themes of this year’s Dreamforce, from my perspective, will be continued innovation, integration, and industry specialization. Salesforce continues to innovate with new and enhanced capabilities, headlined by the introduction of Commerce Cloud and Einstein AI. You will also see notable updates to IoT Cloud, Wave Analytics Cloud, and the Lightning framework.

The theme of integration will present itself in the focus on cross-cloud solutions and Salesforce as a platform. A perfect example of the former is social customer service, delivered in combination with Service Cloud and Social Studio (part of Marketing Cloud). This is an area we are personally very excited about at DEG, and has become one of our focus areas.

Lastly, industry specialization is becoming more and more prevalent within the Salesforce ecosystem. Health Cloud and Financial Services Cloud were introduced last year. Additional supporting products are being released to further support those industry-specific solutions. I would be surprised if a new industry-specific cloud is not introduced at Dreamforce this year (although that would require it to somehow survived being leaked early).

That said, what has been announced is the release of Lightning Bolt portal templates that have been designed for certain industries and common use cases, and the release of industry-specific Wave apps. Salesforce, ISV, and Consulting Partners all see the value in having pre-built solutions available that are designed for the specific needs of a given industry, so this trend will continue.

New to Dreamforce? Come with a plan and prepare to adjust that plan as you get immersed in the Salesforce culture.

For those of you new to Dreamforce, my best advice is to come with a plan and to be prepared to adjust that plan as you get immersed in the culture that is Salesforce. And if this isn’t your first DF, I’m looking forward to joining you in the madness once again.

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Jen Forrest, Director of Social Media

I’m always excited to hear more from Salesforce about new and innovative ways that companies can successfully compete by becoming more customer-centric in our increasingly connected world. Social media plays a huge part in it – throughout the whole customer journey. It’s always invigorating to hear about the future of what’s possible and learn from those who are blazing the trail.

Social customer care is a hot topic as companies try to break down their internal silos and work for the customer.

Social customer care continues to be a hot topic as companies try to break down their internal silos and work for the customer. Similarly, I also anticipate a blending of paid and organic social media discussion, given the way data is allowing marketers to target, engage, personalize, and further the conversation with individual customers on a 1:1 basis.

Sarah Cucchiara, Senior E-commerce Strategist

With the acquisition of Demandware and the announcement of Lightening B2B Commerce for Salesforce Lightning Bolt, Salesforce has rounded out its Customer Success platform. Allowing customers to interact with a brand and conduct commerce on Salesforce-enabled platforms completes the 360-degree servicing of customers, and the idealized personalized journey that many companies are working to achieve. These solutions will help traditional Salesforce customers take the next step into e-commerce.

Salesforce’s Demandware acquisition bolsters its ability to compete with industry players already in e-commerce.

The acquisition of Demandware bolsters Salesforce’s ability to continue to compete and take market share from other industry players that have already ventured into e-commerce. It also opens up the sales funnel to sell additional Salesforce Cloud products to Demandware customers, and to sell the Demandware e-commerce platform to the Salesforce Cloud customers — a win-win for Salesforce overall.

It was inevitable that Salesforce would venture into e-commerce, and the choice of Demandware was not a surprise. With many of the top-rated platforms already acquired by competitors and Demandware’s cloud foundation, it seemed an ideal match for the Salesforce family.

It will be interesting to see the Commerce Cloud roadmap, how Salesforce will integrate their various Cloud Solutions into Commerce Cloud, and if B2B e-commerce functionality will be built into the Demandware framework, or if Lightening B2B will manage those customer functionality needs.

In the end, Commerce Cloud is yet another opportunity for Salesforce clients to really interact and create 1:1 experiences with their customers, and the experience is becoming the most important aspect of the conversion funnel.

Follow us on Twitter @DEGdigital for updates on the latest technologies, strategies, and our events throughout Dreamforce. 

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