Last week, Nina and I attended Salesforce’s conference in San Francisco called Dreamforce. Dreamforce “brings together thought leaders, industry pioneers, and thousands of your peers for a week of idea sharing.”
Perhaps you may have heard of it, as there were 170,000 attendees (or as I like to think of it, 11.3 Taylor Swift Xcel Energy Center concerts). There were so many people traveling into San Francisco for this conference, that they had to bring in a cruise ship to cater to the overwhelming demand for accommodations. Malls, hotels and movie theaters were taken over to house the 1,500 breakout sessions and expos. Keynote speakers included CEOs like Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Jessica Alba of The Honest Company and more. Entertainers were John Legend and the Foo Fighters. Needless to say, this concert was big. Huge.
Some of the insights gathered from the conference were just as big. Below are a few points that stuck out to me, as digital marketer and not a salesperson, from the conference:
1. Plan For The Long-Term + Plan For The Short-Term
One of the toughest things that I have experienced as a digital marketer is working with a brand that is working through capacity issues. This is not only frustrating for our media teams that have great plans to drive revenue, it also frustrating for our clients who would love nothing more than to see their bottom line grow. When our campaigns are delivering sales that are meeting and exceeding their goals, the most disheartening thing we could have to do is turn them off because the demand is too much to keep up with.
This is one of the issues that Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, is working through. Any semi-frequent Uber consumer may be all too familiar with their demand issue as Uber surge pricing can increase a rider’s fare from $30 to $120 during peak hours (real-life example). Uber is working to keep rides reliable and fares low by predicting their demand with long-term and short-term forecasting. Long-term forecasting will help plan for things like year-over-year business growth and peak seasonality. Short-term forecasting and planning will be as effective as it can by being flexible enough for peak demands. The more you can forecast the demand for your business, the less likely you will be to have to turn that business away.
2. Don’t Let Someone Else Tell Your Brand Story
Another theme that stood out to me during the “fireside chat” with Travis Kalanick, was that brands need to be telling their own stories. As mentioned before, Uber’s demand issue has begun impacting the consumer through surge pricing and, surprise(!!), consumer’s are not happy. Just search “Uber surge pricing” on Google and see the flood of articles coming in everyday. Not only are consumers not happy about surge pricing, drivers aren’t happy about wages, cities and states are not happy about potential law violation, and taxi companies are not happy about the changes to the transportation business model. What people are not talking about are the ways in which Uber can support communities in crisis. They aren’t talking about the ways in which shared transportation can provide a cleaner world while creating ways in which people can connect in local cities.
The reason why people are not talking about all the great things Uber is doing is because Uber has not been telling its story. Uber has been focused on driving downloads and revenue instead of establishing a brand. Without establishing their brand story, they’ve left themselves vulnerable for other people to tell their story for them. In the end, that could be hurting their downloads and revenue. This often occurs with our clients when users share negative reviews in spaces where their brand are not being positively promoted.
3. Just Because Your Customers Meet The Same Demographics, Does Not Mean They Want The Same Experiences
Salesforce has a great marketing tool called Marketing Cloud. This tool can report on your marketing channels success AND can contribute to building that success.
One of the best, most communicated parts of this tool at Dreamforce, was the Journey Builder. The Journey Builder is marketing automation at its finest. Currently, the channels are limited to email, SMS, and app notifications. What Journey Builder allows marketers to do is create 1-1 journeys based on the actions that a consumer takes. By doing email this way, the effectiveness of the campaigns has greatly improved. Plus, the emails create with Marketing Cloud allow for dynamic emails, pulling relevant products into a consumer’s email. Soon, social incorporation will take the Journey Builder to the next level.
All-in-all, the conference was a great experience. If you should ever find yourself at Dreamforce, wanting to skip the Foo Fighter conference, make sure you plan for appropriate transportation. Otherwise, you may find yourself in Muir Woods with no ride home or cell phone service. #safetyfirst