Highlighting The Future Of Customer-Driven Marketing At Dreamforce

Even if you didn’t attend any of the high-energy keynotes by Salesforce executives at Dreamforce last week, you probably still noticed a common theme running through the entire conference as you walked around the Moscone Center.

Was it building better products? Marketing more effectively? Selling more software? Nope.

“You need to get to the future, ahead of your customers and be ready to greet them when they arrive.” -Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com CEO

The Internet of Customers at Dreamforce
The Internet of Customers at Dreamforce
The Internet of Customers at Dreamforce
It was much more than a marketing tagline or a new app connecting businesses with the “internet of customers,” however. Salesforce and a few other companies also made a concerted effort to let their customers speak for them, as seen on these Salesforce banners at Moscone North and West, and Marketo’s Cloud Expo booth, visible from the highest-traffic area on the tradeshow floor.

Bill Morrow CEO Vodafone Service Cloud banner at Dreamforce 2013 Canon customers banner at Dreamforce 2013 Marketo #1 in Marketing Automation on AppExchange reviews 2008-2012
Marketo is still #1 in Marketing Automation on AppExchange. With 639 reviews as of today, they have over 150 more reviews than their nearest competitor.

No wonder Marketo is loud and proud about their popularity on AppExchange – they’ve been able to mobilize their customers to write nearly 8x more AppExchange reviews than the average company.

We did a bit of digging and discovered that the average number of reviews for Dreamforce sponsors and exhibitors with AppExchange listings is around 80. The median? Just eight. Eight customer reviews!

Smart marketers, like those at Salesforce and Marketo, are starting to realize that, in order to stand out, they have to stop saying how good they are, start letting their customers and other advocates say it for them, and then point prospective buyers in the direction of those conversations.

Not every company can blanket blocks and blocks of San Francisco with the success stories of their customers in the way that Salesforce did last week during Dreamforce, but there are more subtle marketing tactics that most marketers don’t take advantage of – like Marketo’s simple nod to their presence on AppExchange.

Unfortunately, like the lack of customer reviews on AppExchange, customer stories were mostly absent from the vast majority of Cloud Expo booths. Walking up and down the aisles of the tradeshow floor, all you could see was boring white booth after boring white booth of features, solutions, marketing jargon and hyperbole. As you moved further away from the center aisle, it became increasingly more difficult to differentiate one company from another.

I think that’s why people tended to slow down and get drawn in when as they came across Influitive’s booth, which was plastered from top to bottom with photos of #1 fans showing off how much they love their favorite companies and apps.

Check out some of the best advocate shots from our Dreamforce booth in this Facebook photo album:

In just four days, we were able to capture dozens of advocates spreading the word about all kinds of products just by asking them a simple question on the spot. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you asked your own customers to spread the word, write a review, tell you how your product adds value to their business, and more.

Did you see any other great examples of customer-driven marketing at Dreamforce that we missed?

Share them in the comments below!

  • chorenf

    Great post Cassandra. SFDC makes it look so easy to have their customers speak on their behalf or to have their testimonials plastered everywhere. There is a lot of work happening in the background but SFDC also emphasizes the need to give a voice to its customers. You really nailed it with this post.

  • Heather Page

    Cassandra – I love this post. Great pictures and great insights to be had for all. Nice work!