4 Quick Takeaways from Dreamforce 2015

As the last day of Dreamforce 2015 wraps up it’s a great time to reflect on the event and conversations. My first Dreamforce was way back in 2008 when we had a tiny booth for Pardot in the furthest corner of the exhibit hall. At the time, the show was said to have 20,000+ attendees and today it’s said to have 120,000+ attendees (I think these numbers are routinely inflated by 20%). Needless to say, the show is massive.

Here are four quick takeaways from Dreamforce 2015:

  • Marketing Automation is No Longer the Center Stage Cage Fight
    Back in 2012, the last time I attended, I walked into the main expo hall only to see a sea of marketing automation vendors. Directly in front, on the left side, was Marketo, Pardot, and Silverpop, in that order. On the right side was Eloqua with Act-On on the next row and HubSpot around the corner. Today, in 2015, Pardot was the only vendor present. Going from an incredibly competitive market with six vendors slugging it out to a single vendor in three years is astounding.
  • Social Not Even Mentioned
    Three years ago you couldn’t turn a corner at Dreamforce without seeing a message about how business is social and the need for engaging customers over social media. Now, social isn’t even on the radar. Terms like analytics, big data, and Internet of Things are the hot topics. Times change quickly.
  • Standing Out from the Crowd is Incredibly Hard
    With so many people, sponsors, and exhibitors, it’s incredibly hard to stand out from the crowd. SalesLoft put on a great guerilla marketing campaign around Benioff 2020 handing out buttons, shirts, flags, and even $2 bills with the message stamped on it. Only the show is so big and noisy that it was hard for a well executed campaign to get much attention.
  • The Cloud is King
    Previously, the cloud was talked about the up-and-comer and a there was a constant reminder of how installed software is dead. Now, no one even talks about installed software. The cloud is mainstream. The cloud won. Salesforce.com owns the most important cloud ecosystem.

Dreamforce never disappoints and is truly the Super Bowl for SaaS startups and companies. If you’ve never been to a big tech tradeshow, put this one on your list.

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