Working in MRY’s San Francisco office, I had an insider’s perspective on everything Dreamforce. I must admit, the preconference chatter was exciting – Fortune 100 companies declaring how social has revolutionized their business and allowed them to connect with customers in a whole new way, creating what Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff has described as a “trust revolution”. With the preshow buzz in full effect, I was anxious to take part in the festivities.
As I got into the trenches of Dreamforce, my first observation was the logistical impact it had on San Francisco. People decorated in Dreamforce lanyards were everywhere, hailing all the taxis, crowding the restaurants, and crippling the bus system. San Francisco isn’t equipped to handle conferences of this magnitude (contrary to popular belief), as Dreamforce attracted over 90,000 registered attendees, billing itself as the world’s largest ‘vendor technology’ conference. Doubling in volume from last year, Dreamforce is twice the size of rival Oracle’s OpenWorld Conference, soon to invade San Francisco next week.
Complementing the frenzy of people in the streets was the Dreamforce branding. Buses, billboards, digital signage, branded promotional staff, all pumping up an all-star line-up of speakers that included Gen. Colin Powell, Tony Robbins, Sir Richard Branson, and of course, Mark Benioff. Dreamforce was unavoidable! So was the overarching message and mission of the conference: business is social. Around the city and in the conference one thing was very clear, become a social enterprise or become irrelevant.
This talk of creating a truly social business was especially exciting for me, as at MRY we have been preaching to brands that social is an organizational commitment. Not just siloing social activity within marketing, but socializing every department, from customer service to PR to sales. This was certainly the message being stressed throughout Dreamforce and in all its related branding.
As Benioff’s keynote kicked off, there was much buzz around the “special guest” slated for an appearance. With such a star-studded and well-publicized roster of participants, who could possibly excite this audience? None other than Bay Area legend MC Hammer. The Twitter powerhouse (almost 3-million followers) was the perfect fit for Dreamforce, not only for discussing the impact and ultimate revival social media has had on his career, but also for the Chatter-infused “Can’t Touch This” / “2 Legit 2 Quit” mash-up he performed on stage. The perfect dual threat and a welcome surprise to the opening session.
Attending Dreamforce meant having the opportunity to listen to some of the top business and management minds in the world, all with great stories, insights, and lessons to share. All focused on the power of social media and how it has largely impacted how they communicate, do business, and ultimately succeed. The power has been shifted to the consumer and social is the only way to embrace this shift. It was gratifying to listen to these incredibly impressive and successful individuals speak about the necessity of all organizations to integrate social practices now or be left behind. Social is not a trend, a “nice to have”, or a channel; it’s a revolution that has transformed the way we do business.
Salesforce is certainly providing the necessary tools and technology to make their vision a reality. Dreamforce served as a launch pad for several new and updated social, mobile, and marketing enterprise tools to give organizations the necessary firepower to drive collaboration and build their social business. Chatter Communities will help companies socialize their processes by streamling connections, communication, and collaboration. The Touch mobile platform, announced last year, has officially launched and will help connect the mobile workforce with the entire Salesforce ecosystem. And the most exciting announcement (from my perspective) was the Marketing Cloud, the much anticipated fusion of the Buddy Media and Radian 6 acquisitions, unifying social listening, content management, engagement, advertising, workflow, automation, and measurement into one platform to create a seamless and powerful social marketing solution. Marketing Cloud is the culmination of Salesforce’s dive into social media marketing and rounds out their all-encompassing offering for the social enterprise. The plethora of technology releases, accompanied by the many organizational examples (presented by the actual organizations) is literally putting Benioff’s theory into practice.
As Dreamforce wound down and I fought my way through the hordes of people crowding the sidewalks, it dawned on me that the only thing that matched the enormity of the conference was the excitement around making business social. With all the big names, product announcements, and parties, this message is what people will remember and take back to their respective organizations. That and the MC Hammer performance (which you can see, along with all the other keynotes at youtube.com/dreamforce).
Written by Tony McRoberts @notbnz