From September 15-18, a collection of over 170,000 marketers, developers, executives, and sales professionals gathered in San Francisco for the annual Salesforce user conference, Dreamforce. As a first time attendee, you could say I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the largest tech conference in the world. I did manage to navigate the crowds and attend a multitude of keynotes and breakout sessions that gave a snapshot of what matters in the digital world in 2015. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the Dreamforce conference:
1. Bad Content Marketing Is the New Pop-Up Ad
The popularity of content marketing has exploded over the past few years and as a result there seems to be a never ending supply of blogs and whitepapers. What used to be a unique and innovative way to do marketing has become the new pop-up ad. Everyone is doing it and they are doing it to varying degrees of quality. It was obvious from the long lines at the marketing break out sessions that everyone was trying to crack the secret of what it means to have a successful content strategy.
The thing is, all of these people know that they need to be doing content marketing, but they aren’t sure how to do it successfully. We are reaching a tipping point with this type of marketing where audiences have become so desensitized to a constant stream of content, that only the very best gets noticed. Look for marketers to invest more time and money in trying to develop truly great content to support their digital goals in the coming year.
2. The Internet of Things Has Arrived in a Big Way
Mobile has been the hot trend in the proverbial streets for the past few years, and while it is still very important, the Internet of Things (IoT) has usurped mobile as the thing everyone seemed to be talking about. For anyone who doesn’t know, IoT refers to the network of connected devices that consumers have available to them now. Everything from your refrigerator to your car is now internet connected and there were plenty of these examples on display at Dreamforce.
The thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t just a technology revolution, it’s a customer revolution. Everything being connected allows for an infinite number of user experiences, and as a result, an infinite amount of data is being compiled at each touch point. This explosion in data leads directly to takeaway number 3...
3. Data, Data, Data, and More Data
A shocking statistic that I kept hearing in keynotes and breakouts was the fact that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past 12 months. That seems impossible, right?! But, when you break it down and think of all of the connected devices and online experiences we are having, it starts to make sense. Big data has been a trend we have been hearing about for a few years now, but we are finally getting access to tools that are making sense of the large volumes off Dreamforce ca data being created. A large portion of Salesforce founder, Marc Benioff’s keynote was dedicated to the ways his company has taken advantage of all of this data and turned it into actionable information for customers.
The bottom line is that sales and marketing are getting more numbers focused and smarter about the decisions they make. The data being produced allows for closed loop reporting and levels of optimization through the sales process that were previously unheard of. Look for this to be an area that sales and marketers continue to grow going forward.
4. The People
If you are a professional who is at all interested in technology, marketing, sales, or just being around smart people and hearing great ideas, Dreamforce is where you need to be. It was very cool to be around thousands of others who are trying to achieve similar goals to help their organizations and clients. Being able to discuss and bounce ideas off of other like-minded professionals is arguably the greatest value that the conference offers its attendees.
As I mentioned above, being a first time attendee to a conference of this scale can be a little overwhelming at first. However, once you get used to the crowds, venues, sights, and sounds, it ends up being one of the best ways to learn and network. The takeaways listed above should be a good barometer for what many organizations will be focusing on in the coming year and I am excited to see where these trends lead to in 2016. If you have any questions about how you can optimize your content or use your data for better insights, just give us a shout.