Earlier this week, thousands of marketers, commerce experts, service providers, technology specialists, and brand representatives traveled to Chicago for Salesforce Connections 2019. This three-day conference showcased the best of the best in the Salesforce ecosystem and included inspiring keynotes, hands-on training workshops, and opportunities for networking and finding the perfect business partners.
Our team of subject matter experts took the stage with our client partners—GameStop, Noodles World Kitchen, Pilot Flying J, and AMC Theatres—hosted thought-leader sessions at the largest booth in the expo hall, and attended sessions for continued learning. So, we asked them to share what the biggest news of Connections was, and why it matters.
Connections 2019 shines
Lisa Graves, senior relationship marketing strategist
Connections 2019 was an eventful three days packed with session after session, highlighting different industries, business challenges, and Salesforce products. One of my favorite parts of Connections every year is meeting marketers form a wide range of industries and learning about the similar challenges these unique companies are all facing—and also how brands are solving their business challenges using Salesforce products in new and innovative ways.
Rob Chen, architect
A favorite part of Connections is meeting marketers form a wide range of industries and learning about the similar challenges these unique companies are all facing—and also how brands are solving their business challenges using Salesforce products in new and innovative ways.
Every year, the Connections conference is a chance to see all the new and exciting accomplishments, trends, and innovations in the retail industry, as well as reconnect in person with the retail professionals we have chatted and worked with throughout the year over the phone or email.
Although this was my sixth Xchange/Connections conference, it was my first time attending as a Salesforce partner. I noticed I was no longer swarmed on the expo floor (and everywhere else) by vendors. Realizing this, I adjusted my approach to potential clients, moving toward a better way to connect with people during and after sessions where innovative ideas are shared.
Adam Spriggs, SFMC engineering team lead, Salesforce MVP
One highlight for me was a few conversations with a Salesforce Product Manager about the new interactive content blocks for Content Builder, which will likely be available for piloting with partners in the fall. It was my first glimpse into the integration of Rebel’s mail technology that Salesforce added via acquisition last year. I’m excited for us to have this to bring to our clients.
It’s also very satisfying to meet the extended Marketing Cloud Developer community. There are many thriving pockets of innovators that are building and sharing technical solutions. Shout out to the technical topic speakers!
Inspiring conference sessions
Mandy Miller, technical campaign specialist
One of the sessions I thought inspiring was “The Future is Fe(mail) – Tips for Email Marketing in 2019.” It provided a lot of good insights on where the industry is going, and advice on what kinds of soft and technical skills everyone should learn. In addition, the session emphasized the importance on sharing knowledge and teaching others by becoming a mentor, as well as how to assert yourself in the workplace.
Greg Gifford, senior Salesforce Marketing Cloud engineer, Salesforce MVP
I attended a few sessions that provided insight into the aspects of Salesforce Marketing Cloud that I’m less familiar with, including distributed marketing, Einstein, and the Dropbox integration. These sessions were beneficial and helped me find ways to get more knowledge on the topics.
This year, Salesforce was heavily promoting the new Page Builder for Commerce Cloud, which is a visual designer for reusable content components that can be easily created and deployed on the ecommerce platform. It’s expected to be released in the early fall. Currently in the open beta phase, partners and clients are able to get early access to not only build new content, but also new integrations with third-party services like digital asset managers (DAM), content delivery networks (CDN), video-hosting services, and social media platforms.
One of the sessions I thought inspiring was “The Future is Fe(mail) – Tips for Email Marketing in 2019.” It provided a lot of good insights on where the industry is going, and advice on what kinds of soft and technical skills everyone should learn. — Mandy Miller, DEG
Another pair of technologies that piqued my interest were Heroku and MuleSoft, which can work together to quickly build apps with minimal coding to provide new customer experiences. We saw an example of a customer journey during a Party City demonstration, which uses Einstein visual-search image recognition to add products to a card and recommend products that “complete the look.” The app and experience were quickly created with a couple of clicks and configurations of MuleSoft and Heroku, which are both already available as a Salesforce integration today.
Page Builder, Heroku, and MuleSoft were all examples of Salesforce trending toward clicks, not code approach to provide easier solutions to both the business users and developer community on the Salesforce platform.
Major Salesforce updates
There was also a lot of buzz this year about two major updates:
- The rollout of the new Customer 360 customer data platform (CDP) product that Salesforce will begin to pilot this fall. Read all the details.
- The recent acquisition of Tableau and what that means for current users of both Salesforce and Tableau. Check out our thoughts on the acquisition.
A few exciting announcements to note:
- Einstein will eventually have artificial intelligence (AI) built into the platform, making AI available to everyone with a growing set of tools and AI-powered analytics, predictions, and recommendations.
- Salesforce announced data sources will soon be interconnected, which will be very valuable when working between the clouds.
- A few AI developments include prepping your data with recommendations to predict missing values and AI-powered data discovery and predictions.
Customer 360 was a major topic and our experts had some additional thoughts to share. Get the details in this accompanying blog.
Mark Rubin, senior sales engineering director
Salesforce is making great strides in making its clouds talk to each other natively and make development and administration of the clouds have a lower learning curve. This led most conversations to how there are hundreds of excellent partners in the Salesforce ecosystem who are great at this one cloud or another cloud, but very few who are truly great at helping craft a cross-cloud solution. I’m fortunate enough to work for DEG, Linked by Isobar which has expertise in every cloud and channel.