Dreamforce, one of the world’s largest sales & marketing conferences, was hosted by Salesforce once again in San Francisco. Over 2,700 sessions were conducted over four days, with topics focused on transformations in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, community, and organization building to realize innovation. Here are the latest key trends that every marketer should keep an eye on for 2018.
Challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution and its related trends were a hot topic during the sessions. According to Miles Everson, PwC’s Global Advisory Leader, 43% of CEOs are not comfortable with current innovation trends, although 100% of them believe that their institutions need to innovate in order to survive.
In short, innovation is very challenging.
The challenge comes at least in part from big data and AI, as may be expected. Currently, only data scientists and those with PhDs in computer engineering have the skills to use these tools to their full potential. Despite this, everyone has experience with AI in one form or another, even if it’s as simple as buying a book on Amazon or connecting with an old friend through Facebook. Of course, companies want to do more, and for this reason, there is a general fear of failing to utilize AI properly and being left behind.
It will take some time for machines and humans to learn to work together comfortably, but rather than worrying about the changes of an unknown future, the best course of action is to embrace change now, one step at a time.
100% of jobs will change with the evolution of AI
Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, claimed, “Singularity will not come for many, many decades. According to a study by MIT, roughly 10% of jobs will disappear, but 100% of jobs will change. It is important to create an environment where anybody, even people who are not computer experts or PhD holders, can work together with machines and build their skills through training.”
Marc Benioff, the chairman and CEO of Salesforce, stated, “Our company’s services are creating an ecosystem that enables data to be handled even if you are not a data scientist. As long as you study, you can become a leader of the digital transformation, even if you are in the middle of your career. We will continue to produce these kinds of leaders and pioneers.”
The company reported that 3.3 million Salesforce-related jobs are expected to be created through IT. Although some jobs will disappear as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, these will be offset by the jobs being created.
3 New Marketing Trends
Three main marketing trends emerged at the event.
1. The age of true one-to-one marketing is finally here. The barriers between B2B and B2C will gradually disappear.
2. One-to-one marketing will only be possible through the use of data science. A unique customer experience will be required for each customer, especially end users. This will mean leveraging AI and data for companies who want to survive.
3. The most important capability of marketers will be to develop and lead a community. Employees who are able to create this type of customer experience will be those who were nurtured by companies with unrestricted communities. And those who can develop such a community will be the new leaders of society.
The Age of B2I
Mike Kostow is the senior vice president and general manager of Pardot, the marketing automation tool for Salesforce. His consistent message is that, even for B2B, designing and controlling a journey that considers the end user experience will have a significant impact on the point of purchase.
Originally, the characteristic feature of B2B marketing was that the purchaser, put simply, is an organization and differs from the actual end user. However, even at the point of purchase, products designed for a clear appeal to the end user have more appeal. The issue used to be that technology couldn’t keep up with this need. B2B companies couldn’t directly obtain data for end users. This problem is quickly disappearing, and B2B companies will need to adapt accordingly.
Construction companies may purchase screws, but the carpenters on site are the ones who use the screws. Naturally, a screw that reflects the needs of carpenters is easier to sell.
As IoT advances, everything changes. These days, even elevators speak to the people riding in them. Ms. Rometty says this is clearly a transition from BtoB and BtoC to BtoI, or “Business to Individual.” We have entered an age where the needs of end users must be understood by all.