One-week until Dreamforce starts! It’s returning in-person for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, and is being turbo-powered by the Salesforce+ streaming service – opening up the biggest event in the Salesforce calendar to attendees across the globe.
This will be my third Dreamforce, and I’m no less excited than previous years. As a Salesforce marketer, I spend most of Dreamforce scouting out like-minded professionals and sessions that will speak directly to my goals and challenges. Being based in the UK, it’s not very often I get to meet Salesforce marketing movers and shakers I may have connected with, virtually, and I can’t wait.
Dreamforce: Planning vs Spontaneity
My thoughts are that Dreamforce requires a balance between diligent planning and enough schedule “breathing room” for spontaneity. While this sounds contradictory, I’ve found that’s how I get the most out of Dreamforce – bookmark a handful of sessions, locate the marketing “hubs”, and strike up conversations when the opportunity arises.
Here’s a “checklist” I’ve put together – use it if you’d like.
Unmissable Dreamforce Sessions to Attend
When filtering the agenda builder, there are 258 sessions for marketers. While some sessions run more than once, it’s still an impressive scope to get immersed in.
Advice for Building Your Dreamforce Agenda
- Blend a mix of session types: Keynotes deliver a spectacle, breakout sessions give you access to the speakers for Q&A and conversation, whereas “Circles of Success” give peer-to-peer advice (i.e. a roundtable where you hear what other people in the same situation as you have to say).
- Check out which sessions will be recorded: For example, keynotes will be recorded and available shortly after Dreamforce concludes (if not before, on Salesforce+) whereas the roadmap sessions aren’t (the Safe Harbor is taken seriously!)
- Check carefully which products will be referenced: For the first time ever, the “Marketing Cloud” brand has grown even larger, now encompassing Pardot (Account Engagement). The goal behind renaming marketing products was to make them seem more cohesive, however, this is something to be aware of when building your agenda. It would be a shame to end up in a session about a technology that your organization doesn’t use currently, nor ever plans to use.
- Suss out the greatest areas of innovation: From the session list, you can usually deduce which technologies Salesforce are advocating. With Salesforce Connections having taken place earlier this year, it’s no surprise that the Salesforce marketing conversation will focus on CDP (their Customer Data Platform), and second to that, NFTs. Outside of marketing, you will find that almost all roadmap sessions are industry-focused (that’s a strong clue to what Salesforce have in the works).
- Toggle between the “Sessions” and “My Agenda” page: Ensure that when you’re bookmarking sessions, you’re not stuffing your schedule!
- Be realistic: If you see that your “My Agenda” page is a sea of blue, start culling. When you remove the session from your agenda, it will automatically keep it favorited (so you can have a plan B if the other session is full). Take location into consideration, as not only does walking soak up your time, but depletes your energy, too.
- Sync to your calendar: While the “Add to calendar” functionality is (at the time of writing) available for remote attendees, I advise you do this once it becomes available. That way, you can incorporate the partner events, meetings, and some breathing room!
The first thing to note is that there are different types of sessions – here’s a high-level overview:
- Keynotes: Will showcase the highlights in Salesforce innovations. Demos will string together multiple products to show why the Salesforce platform products are more powerful when working as a cohesive solution. These sessions will get you pumped up!
- Roadmap Sessions: Give you a sneak peek into the future innovations and features, full-to-the-brim with big-bang announcements wrapped in ‘wow’ moments.
- Breakout Sessions: Interesting sessions, with a relatively large audience, focus on a specific product area or marketing solution, with a speaker Q&A at the end (duration: 40 minutes).
- Theater Sessions: Sessions with a smaller audience and focus on a specific product area, delivering bite size information. These sessions are more casual, where you’re able to hop in and out while walking around the expo hall (duration: 20 minutes).
- Circles of Success: Personally, my favorite session format. Small peer-to-peer group discussions where everyone at the table has a chance to discuss how they use Salesforce product/s, and hear from other Salesforce customers to get ideas or solve challenges. Get there early!
- Hands-On Workshops: Bring your laptop! These guided sessions help you learn how to set up specific solutions, e.g. create an entry event, set a goal, and define customer interactions – all within Journey Builder.
Marketing-Related Keynotes at Dreamforce ‘22
Marketing Keynote: Deliver Moments That Count
“Cookieless future. Tighter budgets. Marketers, we got this — thanks to CDP and Marketing Cloud.” This will be the hour that all marketing-related innovations will be announced. I suspect there will be a recap of the Connections ‘22 keynote, with possibly some new, juicy updates.
Innovation Keynote: Discover The New Customer Data Platform
Next-gen CDP will change how you do business. Unlock your data’s full value with integrated marketing, sales, service, and analytics. Personalize in real time and earn trust — no cookies needed.
Commerce Keynote: Maximize Revenue Your Way
Commerce Cloud has been a huge investment area for Salesforce over the past year. Again, this will be the hour that all commerce-related innovations will be announced – and I suspect there will again be a recap of the Connections ‘22 keynote as well as new announcements too.
Roadmap: What’s New for Marketers
Building on the keynote, “learn about the most impactful CDP, Advertising, and Marketing Cloud innovations to date and see what’s coming next.”
NFT and Web 3.0:
Can NFTs Be Trusted and Sustainable?
(Relatively) early on Tuesday morning, kick off your Dreamforce with this thought-provoking question. NFT Cloud was announced at Connections ‘22, despite the backlash from Salesforce employees around the concept’s sustainability and questionable ethical implications. The unveiling back in June was encompassed within excellent messaging around how Salesforce have been diligent in designing NFT Cloud to address these concerns. We’ll hear more details in this session.
Web3 and the Future of Brand
Extend Your Brand into Web3 with NFT Cloud
Marketing Interest Sessions:
Some of the sessions that caught my attention…
Turn Marketing into a Recession-Proof Competitive Advantage
“Get five marketing strategies to work smarter and rise above your competitors – even during economic downturns. We’ll equip you to execute ABM, nail nurture campaigns, and prove your worth.”
Build a Data-First Strategy for Personalization with CDP
You’ve heard the big announcements around CDP, now it’s time to hear how to put them into action when you return to the office.
Ethical Real-Time Personalization: The What and the How
Ethical marketing was yet another theme circulating Connections ‘22. How do you balance personalization and “not being creepy”, all while staying within the boundaries of privacy regulations? Hopefully you will gain some answers here.
Email Platform Consolidation: The Secret to Maximizing Spend
Who doesn’t use email marketing? “Hertz will share how tackling its ESP sprawl enabled it to grow its marketing team and scale operations.” Products covered will include Marketing Cloud and the Customer Data Platform.
Tap the Full Potential of Your Martech Ecosystem
“Extensibility” is a term you may have heard, especially in the most recent Account Engagement (Pardot) releases. Learn how extensibility features, such as External Activities and External Actions, help you keep all your data in one place, and use it in automations.
Create Efficiency and Focus on ROI with Intelligence
Interested in Datorama (Marketing Cloud Intelligence)? This session will show you how one organization leverages Datorama to build a centralized view of performance, automated cross-channel data connections, and actionable insights.
Deliver 5-Star Experiences Across Business Lines
Consistency is key for a brand, but it can be tricky when managing many businesses. Unlock the power of data to create experiences that keep customers coming back with Marketing Cloud.
Uniting Marketing Systems & Data for Multiple Brands
This session will weave in Service Cloud to give you ideas on how to connect marketing and customer service for a consistently stellar customer experience.
How Salesforce Takes Marketing Campaigns Global
Team alignment is often the “last mile” with making marketing initiatives successful. Taking HQ marketing campaigns into multiple markets is complex but reaps significant ROI when successful. Salesforce shows you how to use Slack and Quip to keep everyone around the globe collaborating seamlessly.
Customer Data Platform Table Talk – Answers from Experts
Join Salesforce employees at the heart of Salesforce CDP’s development and roadmap – including an Enterprise Architect, Director, CDP Product Success, and Director, CDP & Marketing Success Architect.
Circle of Success: Boost Productivity with Pardot
A discussion on “enriching the customer experience with data-driven marketing and Account Engagement’s (Pardot) automation tools. Learn best practices on segmentation, automation, and personalization.”
Parties and Chill-Out Zones
The Pink Elephant Alibi Lounge and Relax
Sponsored by Sercante, the Marketers’ Lounge will offer free wifi and work stations so you can hang out, relax, recharge, and refuel. Join them for “Bloodys and Breakfast” following late nights (or early mornings) – tomato juice has multiple health benefits to alleviate fatigue, so that you will leave feeling revitalized!
The Genius Bar
Also at the Pink Elephant Alibi on September 20th, Sercante’s team of Marketing Cloud/Pardot experts will be on-hand to brainstorm a solution with another marketer, or gain advice on how to best leverage Salesforce marketing platforms.
The Marketing Lodge
Seek out demo booths of every Salesforce marketing-related product throughout The Marketing Lodge.
Marketers Welcome Bash
You guessed it – taking place at the Pink Elephant Alibi the evening before Dreamforce kicks-off, reunite with marketing pals and “say ‘cheers’ to a fun-filled Dreamforce.
This is a great networking opportunity to meet your fellow Pardashians and share your tips and tricks for the Account Engagement (Pardot) platform (predicted to be the largest ever!)
This is a great networking opportunity to meet your fellow Marketing Cloud practitioners and talk tips and tricks for the SFMC platform.
Demand Generation Visionaries: Live
Join Qualified for a special edition of Demand Gen Visionaries Live! as they sit down with the marketing legends that built Dreamforce. You’re invited to come and enjoy good drinks and even better company – a world-class speaker lineup that’s excited to share their stories, and inspire yours, including:
- Julie Liegl, former CMO, Slack and EVP Marketing, Salesforce
- Karin Flores, VP, Strategic Events, Okta
- Lauren Vaccarello, CMO, Salesloft
RSVP here by September 16 (attendance is limited).
Idealist Consulting’s Engagement Party
For over 15 years, the Engagement Party has been the go to event at Dreamforce for the .org community. As always, the party is free for nonprofits. Use code WELOVENONPROFITS for your free entry pass.
A Night Of Enchantment
Still looking for more marketing gatherings? Sponsored by Sercante, Stensul, DESelect, and The Spot, “Step into a whimsical oasis where you’ll be greeted by a magical wall of champagne. Regardless of your vibe, there’s something for you — a dance floor to go a little crazy, a quiet art gallery bar to network and have a glass of wine, and exclusive VIP rooftop access to take in the views.”
The amount of Dreamforce Marketing events is extensive, so make sure to bookmark all the sessions (and schedule all the events) that you wish to attend. This will ensure you get the most out of your Dreamforce experience, and mean that you will be one of the first to know all the news about the Salesforce Marketing world.