4 Key Themes We Saw at Dreamforce 2017

We’re fresh off the heels of another incredible Dreamforce, and our marketing team is finally able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. From the keynotes to the sessions to the concerts and parties, we’re still decompressing from the whirlwind of activity from the four days of the conference. (If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year, you can catch up on what you missed in this great recap from the folks at The Drum.) While there were a lot of big topics and innovative ideas swirling around the conference, here are four themes that stood out to our team:

1. We’re in the midst of a revolution.
A common theme that was apparent across all the keynotes, sessions and breakouts was this idea of “the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” A quick history recap here: in the last three hundred years, there have been three industrial revolutions, each one closer to another, all powered by innovation. The first revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century with the mechanization of production, the rise of the factory and the introduction of steam power. The second revolution started in the early 20th century with the age of mass production and the introduction of the assembly line. The third revolution came in the middle of the 20th century with the use of electronics and IT. The fourth and current revolution builds upon the third and is being shaped by two powerful trends, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data.

Source: Fortune

A majority of the conversations at Dreamforce were focused entirely around AI, and its ability to transform the way companies build products. AI is currently a big focus for Salesforce, and they’ve been placing a great deal of emphasis on democratizing the technology and making it more customizable and easy to use.

2. ABM continues to grow.
ABM has followed a similar growth trajectory as the fourth industrial revolution. What started out as an analog tactic 20+ years ago focused primarily on a small number of accounts, has quickly grown to a scalable, full funnel strategy in just a few years, thanks in large part to the technological innovation of the fourth industrial revolution.

Source: Demandbase

It’s been really great to see ABM’s growth reflected at Dreamforce. Just last year, there were only a few handful of sessions around the strategy, and now in 2017, there over 15! And according to the analysts in the B2B space, ABM’s influence will only continue to grow. (We’re hoping there’s a track devoted entirely to ABM at next year’s Dreamforce!).

3. There’s a continued focus on diversity & inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion are always key priorities at Dreamforce, but this year’s conference raised the bar. We not only heard from a roster of inspiring women, but we also got the opportunity to join the conversation ourselves and understand the role business leaders can play in driving towards equality. As marketers start to plan their future conferences we hope to see this theme continue to grow and develop in 2018 and beyond.

4. Salesforce is shining a spotlight on GDPR.
There’s been a lot of conversation and confusion about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) lately. The regulation, which carries provisions that require businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens, is set to take effect on May 25, 2018. As the clock starts ticking down, Salesforce is doing its part to train and educate brands about how they should comply. This year’s Dreamforce included a wide range of sessions from privacy experts and leading companies, who explored GDPR in great detail and shared how their organizations were approaching the compliance process.