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5 Themes to Listen for at #DF14

We’re kicking off one of the biggest weeks of the year in the marketing, sales, and software industries. As Dreamforce 2014 begins to pick up steam, many of us are thinking back to some of the themes covered last year and wondering what we can expect from this year’s event (aside from a look at Marc Benioff’s sweet new kicks). Will themes like mobility, the “Internet of Things,” and 1:1 marketing make a comeback, or will they be replaced by new trends and best practices?

We hazard to guess that the answer is both. While those themes still form the backbone of the current marketing landscape, we expect to see a few offshoots that will build upon last year’s themes. Wondering what you should listen for? Here are a few things that we predict we’ll hear a lot about this week (and if you aren’t able to make it for this year’s event, don’t miss your chance to stay up to date by streaming the keynotes here!):

Connected Technologies

The Internet of Things was big last year, and with it, the theme of connectivity. This year, we expect to see it taken even further with themes like “connected technologies” and the “connected world.” We’ve seen the recent growth of wearables and the introduction of products like Salesforce1, which aim to simplify the lives of consumers, marketers, and sales reps by connecting them to the apps, data, and technologies that are most important to them. Keep an eye out for even more interconnectivity — and even new product debuts — at this year’s event.

The 1:1 Journey

Last year, there was a huge emphasis on 1:1 marketing and selling using products like Salesforce1. This year, we expect to see an equally large emphasis on the entire customer journey. The buying cycle is no longer controlled by companies; rather, it is controlled by the whims and research processes of our buyers. How can today’s marketers and sales reps cater to these changing consumer preferences?

Mobile Everything

Mobility was huge at Dreamforce 2013, and we don’t expect that to change with Dreamforce 2014. As the importance of 1:1 and real-time marketing grows, so does the importance of being able to market and sell on the go. Recent studies by Return Path indicate that 43% of your consumers are using mobile devices to open all emails, and we’re willing to guess that their mobile usage extends far beyond opening emails. Marketers need to be where their consumers are — and their consumers are on their mobile devices.

The Power (and Necessity) of Personalization

It’s impossible to create an authentic, 1:1 customer experience without personalizing the selling process for each buyer. This means targeted communications, timely sales and marketing messages, content personalized to buyer interests and pain points, and targeted web content. Your buyers are looking for a personalized selling process from you — and if they don’t get it, chances are good they’ll turn to your competitors. This year, expect to learn more about how marketers can use buyer data and analytics to create highly personalized marketing experiences.

The Service Revolution

Lastly, we’re predicting some more talk about the “service revolution” this week. How can companies better serve their customers? How can they leverage mobile technologies to provide better service? How do marketing and sales factor into this revolution? Listen for the answers to these questions and more.

Other themes will likely take center stage during any number of this year’s 1,400+ sessions, like the growing role of analytics, real-time sales applications, video marketing, marketing automation, and more. What other themes do you expect to encounter in Dreamforce keynotes and sessions this year? Let us know your predictions in the comments!

Image credit: Jakub Mosur Photography