Dreamforce 2013: The Internet of Customers

Over 120,000 attendees, 2 Expo Halls, 350+ exhibitors, 1000+ sessions, 2 days of rain, and hundreds of thousands of miles walked.   This was Dreamforce 2013.  For those who couldn’t attend, or those who couldn’t attend every session, we’ve recapped some highlights for you.

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The theme of Dreamforce 2013 was  “The Internet of Customers”.  While last year the sessions tended to focus around the importance of social media, this year it was all about meeting the customer where they are.  Focusing on hyper connectivity and the connection of billions of customers on multiple devices, keynotes focused on getting to the future first.  With the announcement of Salesforce1, the new and improved Salesforce platform, users can sell, service, and market like never before.  The platform is designed to accelerate development and deployment in a mobile world.  Deeply integrated social features and a wide variety of APIs allow easy development of next-generation apps.

Based on the sessions I attended, here are some of the key themes that companies should focus on in 2014 to keep up with the changing landscape and increasing customer demands.

  1. Big data is not enough anymore.  The data has to be useful.  It has to tell a story and allow companies to somewhat predict what consumers are going to do or going to want.  Companies will increasingly find solutions that allow them to take data and actually do something with it.
  2. Social media is finally part of the marketing and sales mix.  It was a far cry from last year where the entire conference was about social media and nearly 95% of the sessions focused on something social.  This year, many of the social sessions were wrapped into larger marketing and sales strategies, as more and more companies are starting to realize social media is not a stand-alone solution.
  3. Automate it and they will come.   Make it easy for the customer to do their jobs by automating functions that can be automated and supplementing with human tasks.  Whether it’s marketing automation, sales task automation, social automation, or automation of data analytics and predictions, the future seems to be calling for tools that will remove the need for hours of administrative work that could be completed by software.
  4. Marketing is no longer a cost center.  More CMOs are finding ways to get seats at the revenue table by proving ROI in closed loop lead tracking.  Again, automation and clean data becomes a huge part of this transformation.  Christine Nurnberg from Sungard knocked it out of the park with her session on A CMO’s Guide to Marketing Metrics and ROI.
  5. Digital media and content continue to be ways to drive real revenue.   Didier Bonnet from Capgemini presented an excellent session on the comparison of companies that use digital media and those that don’t.    Content is becoming more targeted and more personal in order to cut through the noise and clutter that exists on the internet today.  Again, better data is allowing companies to better target and personalize campaigns and see higher ROIs in the process.

Of course, it wasn’t all sessions and business.  In typical Dreamforce style, there were parties, bands, celebrities, celebrity impersonators, lounges, receptions, and lots and lots and LOTS of SWAG.

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If you’re bummed you didn’t get to go to the show or just couldn’t make it all the way around 2 massive Expo floors, we have a treat for you.  We’ve got 6 exhibitors from the show all in one place giving short demos of their product.  You can watch the demos on demand and get a little taste of Dreamforce 2013 for yourself starting December 2nd.

Until next year!

Cari Zoch

Cari Zoch

Marketing Manager, Brand Communications & Social Media at Avention, Inc.
Cari has over 15 years of marketing experience and manages Avention's Brand Communications. Prior to joining Avention, Cari was the Global Social Media Manager at LifeSize, a Division of Logitech, and built their social media program from the ground up. Cari is an avid Longhorn football fan (yes, even this year!), and enjoys acting, spending time with her daughter, and taking advantage of all the wonderful outdoor activities Austin has to offer.
Cari Zoch
Cari Zoch
Cari Zoch

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