Dreamforce is a conference like no other. We know by now what this mega-event promises to attendees – innovation discovery, networking and parties – however, people attend Dreamforce with different goals in mind.
It’s easy to get distracted. Trust me, a packed agenda that sprawls across the city means there’s an overwhelming amount happening. Dreamforce comes with a significant money and energy investment, so creating a rough checklist specific to your interests or goals as a marketer, is key to making the most out of your experience.
I attended Dreamforce in 2017, and followed closely from ‘across the pond’ last year. Here is my list of 5 things I found useful and will form the backbone of my Dreamforce agenda.
#1: Marketing Keynotes
Keynote sessions are the main presentation about a specific product, industry or topic. They cover the current situation, the challenges being faced, and what direction Salesforce want to take going forward. Doing a rough count, there were 25 keynotes on last year’s agenda, and 50+ this year, according to the Dreamforce microsite. Clear your calendar for the Marketing Keynote: The New Decade of Data, Trust and Engagement. There’s a new approach, it seems this year, merging the two product-specific B2B Marketing Keynote (Pardot) and B2C Marketing Keynote (Marketing Cloud) into one uber-keynote.
As I said, clear your calendar for this one! The marketing keynotes have been known to get busy – the Pardot Keynote, especially, was growing in popularity year-on-year, with an increasing number of people coming to watch and standing room only last year.
The Keynote sessions are a performance, with some surprises thrown in amongst the tech. The year I watched live, rescue dogs came on stage as part of the “Pawdot Puppies” movement, and Pitbull made an appearance at the Marketing Cloud keynote (not to talk about AMPScript or data extensions, though!).
#2: Roadmap Sessions
The Keynotes are engineered to be a spectacle, presenting the direction Salesforce want to take their products and wider industry – on the other hand, the Roadmap sessions, are where Salesforce showcases product future features in more detail.
In these sessions, you will get a glimpse into the forward-looking enhancements, with product mock-ups to get you even more excited. I recommend these sessions to Pardot Consultants and Admins, especially those that have thorny challenges to overcome.
Not to mention the session agenda, bursting with innovation showcases, best-in-class use cases, and thought-provoking approaches to marketing. Here’s mine and Michiel van Gaalen’s picks:
#4: Face Time with Product Managers
At various times and places, you can strike up a conversation with Salesforce Pardot/Marketing Cloud Product Managers or the Customer Success team. Find these specialists around the Expo (there are product-specific demo booths), or around where the theatre sessions will be (to be announced, but typically they are held in one location close to Moscone).
I would recommend asking more about B2B Marketing Analytics and Einstein generally if you are considering making the move. Hearing someone explain these abstract ideas to your specific use cases can be very helpful, speaking from my own experience here.
#5: The Expo
The Expo is a sight to behold. A set of escalators takes attendees down, and you will get a good idea of the scale as you descend into what’s described as “the epicenter of learning”.
There are row upon row of booths where AppExchange Partners (AKA ISV Partners) showcase their offerings. This is the Salesforce marketplace at it’s best, and I guarantee you will be impressed by the ingenuity and variety of what’s on offer. When it comes to marketing, you will find 3rd party tools that will complement your Pardot/Marketing Cloud/Salesforce instance; perhaps you find a tool that fixes a persistent business challenge, or be blown away by something you hadn’t even considered before!
#6: Pardot Party
The Dreamforce parties are infamous (check out our list for 2019). The details of the Pardot Party and sponsor are yet to be unveiled – but, based rumours I’ve heard, this rendezvous will be one not to miss!
This post has shared my 5 recommendations for your Dreamforce schedule, to help you prepare, and ultimately, get the most of your time as a marketer attending Dreamforce.
Outside of the specific recommendations, go to be inspired by Salesforce’s own marketing. Anyone who’s read up about Dreamforce’s growth since its conception, knows that this conference set out to become exceptional, and stand out from the crowd of stuff IT conferences. Especially with the spread of the ’Trailblazer’ branding, Dreamforce encompasses ingenuity in event planning and community building that can inspire our marketing.
(*you can read a good account of Dreamforce’s conception and growth in Benioff’s memoir ‘Behind The Cloud’).