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DreamForce Dispatches: Customization is the key to life

After our third day at DreamForce, we’re beginning to think the real currency of the U.S. isn’t the dollar. It’s ideas.

We were once again filled up with idea after idea on Wednesday here in San Fran, as we hopped from one seminar to the next at this sprawling, palatial complex hosting this software and idea get-together. We both feel like we’ve walked 500 miles, washed our brains in the vast waters of information and gotten about as much sleep as the parents of a newborn. But boy do we feel energized anyway.

Here’s what we yanked out of another inspiring day of talks on Wednesday. One thing’s for sure; when our coworkers ask us what we did at DreamForce, we’re going to struggle with an answer. Can we just say ‘everything?’

Becca Pittser
The seminars: SalesForce Platform Keynote: Empowering IT to Build Around Your Customer | Quip Keynote: The Modern Collaboration Platform
The takeaway: “Customization is everything”
The why: I was left to my own devices on Wednesday, which meant chasing down additions to my growing free book collection. Sadly it didn’t multiply, but I did manage to hound a guy in an Einstein character suit. He got away. Never again.

As far as my learnings, they were far-reaching and wide-ranging on Wednesday. I was struck so much by the energy of the seminars I attended, from the hilarity of the last to the crackling electricity of the IT seminar that really challenged my preconceptions on all this. The first focused on a SalesForce tool I use extensively every day, which really tickled my fancy. Sovan Shatpathy (Amtrak), Craig Walker (Shell) and Luke Kincaid (Organic Savanna) each spoke and I learned how to rebrand our SalesForce application to FPG. That got me started on the process of creating specifics on what we need and inspired me on the IT side of life.

More than anything, both that and the hilariously-delivered Quip keynote later on gave me an appreciation for customization. It’s literally everything in today’s market, and my job is no exception.

If you think about it, all of us really want to be able to take a product someone makes and form fit it to what we do every day. I love SalesForce, for example, but I’ll love it even more when I get back to Fort Worth because I’m able to mold it and customize it around components we need and can use to make us better. We can literally build apps that work for us, just like anyone can around what works for them. What an exciting time to live in.

At FPG, we customize everything we do around our clients. We listen, adapt and create to fit what our customers need like a glove created with their hand’s specific modifications in mind. The fact that I’ve learned so much about how to do that here, at DreamForce, means everyone wins in the end. I challenge you to find the same in your daily life.

Rosie Hunt
The seminars: Death to Boring B2B Marketing: The Workshop | B2B Keynote
The takeaway: “Design thinking is opposite to group thinking”
The why: Let me first say that Tuesday night was so fun. We hit up a concert with Lukas Nelson, Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys (that’s us at the concert up top), and we made sure to take advantage of the free amenities. In German, we’d say freie Dinge sind gute Dinge (free things are good things).

The real meat of my Wednesday was the three-hour workshop I attended about casting out boring marketing and really getting to the heart and soul of what you’re trying to say. I think if we’re all honest with ourselves, we want to really take the scissors to all the preamble and nonsense at the beginning of our content and “start in the middle,” or as the classic storytelling technique would tell us, “in medias res,” which means “in the middle of things.” It’s the best way to start a story – right smack in the middle, where all the action is happening – and it’s the best way to market to anyone and everyone. Be exciting, be wild and be engaging right from the start.

The crazy thing is that design thinking is the opposite of groupthink, which occurs within a group of people that want the same thing but go about irrational or dysfunctional means to get there. The paradox is that you need groups of people to really kill off boring marketing, you just need to avoid the groupthink those groups often create. How do you do it? Five steps, my friends.

  • Understand and define: What’s the challenge and why?
  • Obstacles & Unknown: What can get in the way of success? What don’t we know?
  • Metrics: How will we know we succeeded?
  • Ideas: How will we meet the challenge?
  • Feedback: What did you learn from validating your prototype?

How exciting. I learned so much, and above and beyond everything else, I realized how important a solid, teamwork-oriented group is to achieving the sort of box-breaking gains we all want. By the end of the day I was practically skipping down Lombard Street.

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Becca Pittser is the FPG sales scientist and Rosie Hunt is the FPG brand manager. They’ll be providing daily dispatches from Dreamforce in the coming days to keep you informed of what we’re learning at FPG.

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