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This year’s Connections conference played out like a big-budget summer movie: the host city was bigger, the stakes higher, and the aspirations grander. Unfortunately, as with most summer blockbusters, the character development was sacrificed in order to make room for flashy action and special effects. Having the event in New York City was apropos given ExactTarget’s absorption into Salesforce. Just as the Marketing Cloud feels smaller under the Salesforce umbrella, the close-knit community feel of previous ExactTarget Connections was lost within the big city. The change in location and atmosphere brought on a peremptory wave of nostalgia for the ExactTarget culture of Indianapolis, which proudly hosted the conference for years. I left wondering if the original cult following would be trying to make Connections at future Dreamforce events.
There was one piece of particularly good news: Salesforce University is moving forward with the launch of platform certification courses. I think we have all been expecting it, but to finally see it and know it will be here soon is encouraging. It is an educational piece that has long been absent and very much in need.
At the last Connections conference nine months ago, mobile was quickly catching up to desktop in terms of email opens and views. Now, it’s number one, and the 2015 Connections conference in New York City reflected that evolution. Placing priority on responsive design is not only “old hat,” but an everyday expectation. The big buzz now is data—no real shock there. And of course, with more data comes the expectation to deliver more sophisticated marketing campaigns to customers. The tools to do this are not only coming from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, but the partners developing impressive technologies that work with the platform. As was stated during the event, “We are no longer limited by technology when it comes to digital marketing. We are only limited by our own minds and ideas.” This is very encouraging, especially considering what I have already witnessed in my first six months working at Trendline Interactive!
The concept of “One to One Marketing” seems more accessible than ever, and everything from email to SMS mobile push is more tightly tied together to better serve B2B and B2C relationships. Joel Book of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud emphasized the importance of establishing that one to one connection during his presentation on acquiring, engaging and retaining customers. He stated that “Data is the ‘digital fuel’ for delivering a personalized customer experience.” Which is key, considering “93% of US Consumers are Email Subscribers.”