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Event orchestration | 3 July 2019

12 Imaginative Events from Salesforce

Jacob Thomas

Salesforce and its subsidiaries are known for producing incredible events. Take a look at these 12 examples and learn how you can supercharge your own event strategy.

Salesforce is the trailblazing company behind some of the world’s most innovative cloud software solutions. Founded in 1999 by current co-CEO and former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, the company has exploded in the last 20 years and now has a value firmly in the multi billion dollar range.

But Salesforce is more than a money-making, software-producing powerhouse. In 2018, Forbes named it the best company to work for and the organization is regularly commended for its support of women in the workplace. It’s also known for hosting incredible events and experiential marketing.

In this article, we’ll look at 12 imaginative event marketing examples from Salesforce (and its subsidiaries) and discuss the key takeaways we can learn from each. Sound like a plan? Then let’s dive in!

12 Imaginative Events From Salesforce

1. Dreamforce

Dreamforce - Salesforce Event Marketing

Source: Salesforce

You knew this one was going to make the list. Dreamforce is one of the largest and most recognizable events in the world. The 2018 event welcomed over 170,000 attendees, well-known speakers (like former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and NBA superstar Andre Iguodala), and worldwide rockers Metallica for a post-event concert.

No matter what field you work in or business interest you have, Dreamforce has event content for you. They also have a virtually endless amount of networking opportunities and some of the best event entertainment options ever assembled. What started in 2003 as a small sales and software trade show has steadily grown into one of the most popular can’t miss events of the year.

Key Takeaway: Dreamforce is a perfect example of the motto, “Go big or go home.” Everything about the conference is huge and well done. Follow its lead and think about ways that you can offer your audience more — more value, more learning opportunities, more fun — and focus on growing your events year after year. That’s what Salesforce did with Dreamforce and it seems to be paying off!

2. Salesforce World Tour

Source: Twitter

The Salesforce World Tour is exactly what it sounds like: an event tour (also known as a roadshow) that visits different cities around the world and gives attendees a peek behind the Salesforce curtain. Event goers hear from top speakers, engage in networking sessions, get access to hands-on training sessions, and more. Oh and did we mention that the entire conference is free?

According to the Salesforce website, the World Tour is set to visit two more U.S. cities in 2019: Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles, California. Both events will be held August but don’t worry if you can’t attend. Salesforce is sure to schedule more dates next year in multiple cities around the world.

Key Takeaway: Unless you work for and/or own a hyper localized business, your company likely has fans, customers, and future buyers in multiple cities around the world. And while many of these folks would love to attend you events, not all of them will be able to for one reason or another. So why not be like Salesforce and meet your audience where they already are?

By hosting an event series or roadshow, you’ll give your company the chance to connect with more people and build stronger bonds with them. These relationships will likely pay dividends down the road.

3. MuleSoft Connect

MuleSoft Connect - Salesforce Event Marketing Source: Wall Street Journal

MuleSoft, a Salesforce subsidiary, is an integration software company. As such, it’s not surprising that the brand’s flagship annual event is called “Connect” and operates under the motto, “Connect anything. Change everything.”

MuleSoft Connect attendees get access to hands-on training sessions as well as cloud, API, and security expert consultations, along with opportunities to get certified in the use of MuleSoft products. They also get the chance to learn from the leaders at companies like McDonald’s, WeWork, and Ebay. In 2019 the conference series will visit six cities: Atlanta, San Francisco, Sydney, Chicago, New York, and London.

Key Takeaway: Want to make your next event more attractive to potential attendees? Bring in well-known and respected speakers to educate your audience. It much easier to rationalize spending hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on event tickets, accommodations, etc. when you know and like the main keynote speakers because you trust them to deliver career altering information.

4. Tableau Conference

Tableau Conference - Salesforce Event Marketing

Source: Tableau

Tableau was acquired by Salesforce in June 2019, which means the company’s conference (aptly named “Tableau Conference”) now falls under the Salesforce events umbrella. The popular event, held in Las Vegas, brings together the data community for four days of learning, inspiration, and fun.

The conference also offers attendees the chance to frequent hands-on training workshops, take certification exams, and network with other data peeps.

Key Takeaway: We really like Tableau Conference’s approach to event sponsorship. The event makes sure to secure reputable sponsors, which lend it extra credibility. They also do a great job of offering different sponsorship levels so that more companies can participate.

Event sponsorship is a great way to help ensure positive event ROI. Look for companies to partner with and offer them something valuable in exchange for sponsoring your conference. And don’t forget to give companies different sponsorship levels and options to choose from.

5. Salesforce Basecamp

Salesforce Basecamp - Salesforce Event Marketing Source: Jibe Group

Salesforce Basecamp is an event series that’s dedicated to customer success. The events take place in many different cities throughout the year and give those who attend an excellent opportunity to learn about Salesforce tools, network with peers, and exchange ideas.

This is another free event series and we encourage you to checkout the Salesforce events website (linked above) to discover when a Basecamp event will be held in your area.

Key Takeaway: Networking is an important event element. Yes, people attend conferences to learn, but they also want to meet new people and give themselves new opportunities. So make sure networking is a priority at your next event — especially if it’s a more localized shindig like the Salesforce Basecamp gatherings. People who live in the same area will be able to collaborate more often which is something they’ll really appreciate.

6. Tableau Test Drive

Source: Twitter

The Tableau Test Drive event series is “all about making analytics fast, easy, beautiful and most importantly, useful.” It’s basically a collection of training seminars that happen in various cities around the world. Attendees learn how to use the Tableau platform from experts and get hands-on experience with the tool.

Key Takeaway: Tableau Test Drives teach us a valuable event lesson: feature product training sessions at each of your events. You could even go a step further and completely dedicate some of your events to teaching attendees how to use your company’s offerings.

Corporate event ideas like these tend to increase product sales because attendees have the chance to use solutions and discover for themselves if they like the tools. They also foster goodwill because attendees appreciate knowing how to better use the products they invest in.

7. MuleSoft Summit Toronto

MuleSoft Summit Toronto - Salesforce Event Marketing Source: Mulesoft

MuleSoft Summit Toronto is a MuleSoft conference held in (surprise!) Toronto, Canada. The event features speeches from inspiring thought leaders, customer sessions, and product demonstrations. It’s an information packed event but unlike many other conferences, expos, and trade shows, this one won’t cost you an arm and a leg to attend.

We should note that MuleSoft also hosts similar Summits in other cities around the world including New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney.

Key Takeaway: Earlier we mentioned the benefits of hosting events in multiple cities so that more of your company’s fans can attend. This event strategy makes your brand much more accessible. To really boost the accessibility factor of your events, do your best to also make ticket prices affordable. If you’re worried that lowering entrance fees will affect your bottom line, event sponsorships can help offset expenses.

8. Salesforce Women’s Networking Event

Salesforce Women's Networking Event - Salesforce Event Marketing Source: Salesforce

The Salesforce Women’s Networking Event is a special event that happens each year during Dreamforce. As the name suggests, the event allows women to network with each other while learning from and being inspired by great female leaders. Salesforce is a great supporter of women in business and this unique event is proof.

Key Takeaway: Not everyone of your company’s events needs to cater to your entire audience. Consider crafting conferences for select demographics within your customer base — especially if said demographics are underserved. The folks who attend will really appreciate your company reaching out to them specifically and will likely become greater fans of your organization.

9. Tableau Conference Europe

Tableau Conference Europe - Salesforce Event Marketing Source: Tableau

Tableau Conference Europe is another great example of the Salesforce event brand meeting its audience where they are and expanding its reach. This event is very similar to the Tableau Conference already listed. The main differences? TCE is hosted in Europe rather than the U.S. and features a different slate of keynote speakers.

Key Takeaway: How can your company grow its event branding and expand its reach? Perhaps a roadshow is the answer. Or, like Tableau, maybe you decide to host a second flagship gathering in a different city, state, or country. No matter which option you choose, always look for ways to push forward and reach more people with your events.

10. MuleSoft API Workshops

MuleSoft API Workshops - Salesforce Event Marketing Source: Martina Humpolec

MuleSoft API Workshops are small, highly targeted events that feature hands-on training sessions and teach attendees how the MuleSoft platform can be used to design, develop, deploy, and manage APIs. Much like the Tableau Test Drive series we already mentioned, many different MuleSoft API Workshops are held in varying cities around the world.

Key Takeaway: Whether you host an entire training event like a MuleSoft API Workshop or simply allow event attendees to demo your company’s products, it’s important that event goers have the opportunity to see first-hand how your offerings work and what problems they can solve.

11. Salesforce Live

Salesforce Live - Salesforce Event Marketing Source: Salesforce

Salesforce Live isn’t really an event, it’s a collection of over 2,500 videos that represent the best keynotes and trainings that Salesforce has ever hosted. And every video can be watched on-demand — at the exact moment that works for you! There’s so much to be learned and that’s why we had to include it in this list.

Key Takeaway: While Salesforce Live technically isn’t an event, it does teach us a valuable event lesson: in-person events aren’t the end all be all. As technology continues to push forward, virtual and on-demand conferences are becoming more and more popular. They allow companies to reach a wider audience and are generally much cheaper to put on.

Consider hosting virtual gatherings for your audience. Or, at the every least, record your live, in-person sessions and make the videos available on-demand after your conference has concluded. Your fans and customers will love the access to information, guaranteed.

12. Data Culture

Data Culture - Salesforce Event Marketing

Source: Tableau

Data Culture was a joint venture event between Tableau and AVADO. It took place in London and explored, “one of the hottest topics in the data industry – how to successfully build and scale a data culture.” Attendees had the opportunity to learn from leaders in their field and network with each other.

Key Takeaway: Consider partnering with another company for your next event. It will allow you to share the corporate event management burden and reduce the financial strain that event hosting can put on an organization. We recommend partnering with companies that serve a similar customer base but don’t directly compete with your organization.

Main Takeaways: How to Host Events Like Salesforce

As we’ve just seen, Salesforce and its subsidiaries have an incredible b2b event marketing strategy in place and consistently produce conferences (and trainings) that their fans can’t wait to attend. Your company can do the same! Just keep these three things in mind:

  1. Always put your audience first. No matter what kind of event Salesforce and its subsidiaries are putting on, their audience always comes first. Most of the event types mentioned in this article are held in multiple cities so their fans have a better chance of attending. They also cater to specific demographics and those interested in niche topics.
  2. Get the basics right. It may seem elementary but you can never go wrong by hiring top-notch speakers and securing well-known sponsors. Both of these things will help you sell more tickets to your events and ensure a positive event ROI.
  3. Don’t be shy about promoting your company’s products and services. Many Salesforce events give attendees the opportunity to experience the products the company sells and learn how to better use them. This strategy is a perfect, low-key way to promote your organization’s offerings without looking “sales-y.”

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