Hailed as the digital marketing, commerce, and customer service event of the year, Salesforce Connections took Chicago by storm on June 12–14 with 13,000 marketers in attendance. We have a long history with Connections here at Trendline and welcomed back the conference after its year-long hiatus by sending 20 marketing experts of our own. We made a splash in downtown Chicago with a Trendline event for clients and partners, and did our level best throughout the three days to dig into the 500+ breakout sessions and hands-on developer labs, attend keynotes, talk with vendors, and most importantly, meet face-to-face with our clients and partners.
“Our business is built on understanding our clients’ unique and varied business needs — inside out, “ said Trendline Co-Founder and CEO Morgan Stewart, “so our real insights come from marrying the new solutions that are presented at Connections with the needs we hear expressed by our clients and partners.”
Trendline Co-Founder and Chief Strategist Andrew Kordek has been involved with Connections for ten years. “It’s been interesting to see the conference grow. For years we’ve been talking about the journey, the experience of customers. One of the things that vendors, and even agencies, have misconstrued about the journey is the complexity. In years past, they’ve tried to make it simplified when, in essence, it’s truly unique. This year I saw a little recognition of that. There are a lot of different things you have to do to be connected to a customer — and by customer I mean someone who’s looking at your brand, liking your brand, following your brand, subscribing to your brand, walking into a store — there are so many different connection points. I heard questions at the booths and side chatter at keynotes that suggested people are struggling to make those connection points. There are still a lot of silos happening. However, everyone is recognizing the need to play nice in the sandbox. We’ve been talking about cross-channel campaigns for some time, but to pull that off, you have to work with different groups — the IT folks, the social folks, the direct mail folks, the web folks — in order to have a coordinated campaign. People are starting to realize that the consumer at the other end of the touchpoint is human and they interact in many, many, many different ways. They’re realizing that they have to figure out a way — even if it’s small — to test into something that will have somewhat of a connected experience across channels.”
“I manage a highly technical team,” said Vice President of Solutions Consulting Chester Bullock, “and one of the things I sometimes see at these large events is that you get the feeling they’re talking to C-Level executives, not the people who actually do the work. They make it sound so seamless that when someone gets back to the office everyone is wondering why they can’t execute a program in a week where powerful data management, hyper-personalization, and cross-channel engagement combine to create incredible customer experiences. The reality is it’s very complex and takes a lot of thought to make these things happen. You have to ask the right questions — is it worth doing? Is it worth the amount of labor involved? Is this the best solution to address our business need? It takes a dedicated team, and I think people are starting to realize that. I know our clients do.”
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