Dreamforce 2013 : Welcome to the Internet of Customers – 3 Must Reads for Customer Centric Professionals

Dreamforce ’13. That’s a wrap!

Sitting at a Starbucks at Dulles Airport, back on the East Coast, I’m reflecting on an action-packed week in San Francisco at the annual Salesforce.com conference with (as typical) very little sleep.

This year’s mantra was “Welcome to the Internet of Customers” as over 120,000 registrants were greeted by signs at the Moscone Center proclaiming this message.

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Here’s the opening keynote, in its entirety (2+ hours).

Indeed, the theme of Dreamforce this year was all about the customer – as organizations from Ford to Unilever to Tesla to CareerBuilder were highlighted in keynotes as customer…insert qualifier here (driven, obsessed, centric, etc.) – Customer Companies. Messaging focused around how social and mobile are redefining the customer experiences.  Of course, this is not news to customer centric professionals. Following are 3 must reads curated from the blogosphere on how Salesforce is positioning itself to address the customer revolution.

Salesforce Blog – Key Strategic Insights:  4 Strategic Lessons from Dreamforce 2013

Focus on the Customer and Internet of Things:  ‘Internet of Customers’ Is Focus of Dreamforce

Overall Wrap Up from the Week/Emerging Topics: Dreamforce Wrap Up 2013 #DF13

More to come this week and next on some key customer-focused sessions I attended. Enjoy!

Gamification – Three Reasons It Matters

I just completed an online course from Wharton on Gamification via Coursera. It was amazing. If you want to learn more about it in detail, I would highly recommend you check out this six week course (it should be offered again in the Fall).

Why does Gamification matter? Why would you want to take a course on it when spell check doesn’t even recognize it as a word?

Here are my top three reasons following this week’s wrap up of the course. Again, if you want to learn more you should check out the course description (or send me a message on Twitter).

It Can Help You

Let’s face it. There are certain things you simply don’t want to do. Gamification applies game elements to these non-game activities to make them fun. Going to the gym. Eating healthier. Walking. Running. Any personal goal. You get the idea. Gamification, if done properly, can utilize data to apply common game elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and –most importantly– fun to transform these activities.

It Can Help Your Company

Extending the concept of activities you don’t necessarily want to do, but your company does, Gamification can also be applied to internal organizations and their customers. Internally, activities such as blogging for your company, engaging in social media on behalf of the company, speaking at events, or simply sharing knowledge are good examples of Gamification candidates. Externally, encouraging customers to perform desired activities like engaging on your website, purchasing more products or services, and social sharing are examples of activities that could be Gamified. Game elements may be similar or different to those mentioned above depending on the overall design.

It Can Help Achieve Social Good

Most importantly, Gamification can help achieve social good, moving beyond what is good for you or your company to what can benefit society as a whole. Recycling. Saving energy. Tackling teenage obesity. These are all examples of areas where Gamification can help drive changes in behavior. Again, the particular set of game elements may vary in order to be most effective.

An important note is that Gamification is not easy. While understanding game elements is relatively straightforward, designing a Gamified system requires a thorough understanding of business objectives/target behaviors, players, activity loops, and (of course) fun! Sound challenging? Take the course! 🙂


ad:tech San Francisco 2013 – It’s All About You!

Moscone Map

The ad:tech San Francisco conference wrapped up today. Billed as “the leading digital marketing event for 10,000+ marketing and technology professionals from all over the world,” ad:tech included “Think Tank” sessions focused on the future of digital marketing.

What does that future look like from an ad:tech perspective? While I enjoyed each of today’s speakers, four key takeaways emerged among them. It’s great to see this focus on being customer-obsessed coming out of ad:tech SF.

  1. You are in control of the future.
  2. You participate and constantly redefine your terms of engagement.
  3. Your experiences are dynamic and are always shaped by #1.
  4. Agility will be rewarded, complacency will be punished.

Here are a few of my tweets from today’s session…

  • What kind of future do you want to live in? First, ask yourself what is the history you want to be from? @IntelFuturist #adtechsf
  • The participation age is here to stay. It’s time to adapt. @DainaMiddleton #adtechsf
  • Become a #customerCMO. You must connect with your customers in new ways, engage, service everywhere, use communities. @lazerow #adtechsf
  • Become a #customerCMO. Connected products + apps deliver predictable experiences, drive trust and loyalty. @lazerow #adtechsf

Top Three Intelligent Tweets – Week of Jan 21

It’s hard to believe 2013 is almost a month in! This week’s top Intelligent Tweets extend last week’s focus on the skills gap for Big Data specifically to the realm of Marketing, then look at a great explanation of the vision of Salesforce around ‘Customer Companies’ and end with an interesting article that presents the view on how Big Data will take human jobs.

Last week’s top three intelligent tweets:

Tweet #1:

Skills needed for Marketing redefined! Marketers Upping the Ante on Big Data in 2013 http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/9904/marketers-upping-the-ante-on-big-data-in-2013 … via@marketingprofs #bigdata

Marketing is a profession that is being transformed by Big Data. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all “batch and blast” direct mail and email campaigns. The empowered customer will no longer tolerate this barrage of spam. As a result, today’s modern marketers must possess the skills to leverage technology alongside Big Data to help delver a 1:1 personalized customer experience. This requires a retooling of traditional Marketing expertise and is driving many organizations to invest in high-powered analytics.

Tweet #2:

Great insights from @Salesforce – The companies of tomorrow will be ‘Customer Companies’ powered by #bigdata #cloud#mhttp://lnkd.in/UQCirA

Source: Salesforce Blog

I love well-done visuals and Salesforce has nailed it with this excellent piece put together to demonstrate the value of a fully-integrated customer-centric CRM platform. Salesforce is clearly targeting this flipbook towards an audience who may be skeptical or simply doesn’t see the value of the trends that are unfolding right before us. I can relate in that it can be a hard sell given the pace of change, but companies must wake up and realize this or risk becoming irrelevant to future generations. Salesforce is an excellent evangelist in this pro-customer movement.

Tweet #3:

Jobs – old lost, new created! Big Data and cloud computing empower smart machines to do human work, take human jobs http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/big-data-and-cloud-computing-empower-smart-machines-to-do-human-work-take-human-jobs/2013/01/25/6697ee22-671e-11e2-889b-f23c246aa446_story.html …

This article focuses on jobs that may not be needed, or needed much less (think meeter reading) due to advances in Big Data and the Cloud. This is certainly true, but the trend is no different in technology than in other areas where advances have made jobs irrelevant that once were widespread. Also true, however, is that new jobs will be created due to these advances, and this is a natural progression.

Top Three Intelligent Tweets – Week of Jan 14

Keeping with my new format for Intelligent Tweets, this week brought some great nuggets around the talent shortage for Big Data skills, privacy (always a key topic), and using Big Data to track the flu (very timely, indeed).



Last week’s top three intelligent tweets:

Tweet #1:

Talent shortage! Big data means big IT job opportunities — for the right people http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=383A6C19-D921-6BFC-5989BCDF457FBAFD … #bigdata

Source: Telefonica Public Policy Blog

This is a great article focused on the shortage of qualified candidates to fill positions in the Big Data space. What, you say? Shortage? Isn’t unemployment still high? Indeed, but there are pockets of the economy where talent is sorely lacking and Big Data is one of them. Not enough people have the specific background and experience necessary to fuel Big Data initiatives and competition is fierce. Learn more about the skills needed for Big Data.

Tweet #2:

Be transparent. Designing for the Hidden Dangers in Big Data http://mashable.com/2013/01/11/big-data-design-privacy/ … via @mashable #bigdata

The focus of this excellent piece from Mashable is on planning ahead for Big Data. In other words, prepare now instead of landing on the front page of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Companies are many times ill-equipped to consider the far-reaching implications of managing Big Data. Taking the time to develop a transparent strategy early on is key to avoiding horror stories down the road.

Tweet #3:

Flu tracker! Big Data Helps Track The Flu : Discovery News http://news.discovery.com/tech/apps/big-data-helps-track-the-flu-130115.htm … #bigdata

Source: Smart Planet

The flu season of 2012-2013 has been brutal. It seems that everyone I know either has been sick, is sick, or has someone in their personal or professional lives who is sick. How can Big Data help track the outbreak? Several interesting sites have popped up in addition to the old standby, the CDC, to incorporate social media and crowdsourced feedback to help gauge the impact.

Top Three Intelligent Tweets – Week of Jan 7

To ring in 2013, I’m kicking off the new year with an updated format for Intelligent Tweets. I’m going to limit each week’s highlighted tweets to only the top three, with a comment about why each made the list. I welcome your feedback on this change. Here we go!

Last week’s top three intelligent tweets:

Tweet #1:

Great looking course! I just signed up for Gamification #gamification – a free @coursera online class. Join me at https://www.coursera.org/course/gamification …

Source: Bluewolf

Gamification is a hot topic that everyone should know more about. Everywhere you look, it’s being used to incentivize the right behaviors and the rise of social networks has accelerated its prevalence in personal and professional settings. Perhaps one of the most well-known but annoying examples is the Farmville app for Facebook. More practical examples include FitBit and Nike+ for tracking fitness progress and applications many employers have deployed to promote desired behaviors around employee activity e.g. sales and social engagement.

Tweet #2:

Why? Because Marketing is being transformed. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff Doesn’t Know Why He’s At CES http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/09/marc-benioff-ces/ … via @techcrunch

Source: Maketing Land

Marketing, as with most other functions, is undergoing a radical transformation in the social era. Facing the new realities of empowered customers is proving to be a daunting challenge for many organizations whose technology and, equally important, organizational infrastructures have not adapted quickly enough. Salesforce, more specifically its Social Marketing Cloud, can help integrate key capabilities throughout the organization to become more customer centric. This topic is so important that I dedicated an entire post to it.

Tweet #3:

Check them out, the Top 10 Bluewolf Blogs of 2012! #agile http://lnkd.in/KZwi8b

Source: Adland Creative

My day job is at Bluewolf and I try to blog there whenever possible. There were certainly some great blogs in 2012 from my colleagues and the top 10 are highlighted in this post. Some of my personal favorites include United Airlines Fails to Land the Customer by Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge, focused on the importance of the customer experience missed opportunities to engage, and Gamification – Why Play? by Kate Hagemann, Bluewolf’s Director of Change Management & Adoption, focused on what gamification is and several of its advantages.

Intelligent Holiday Season Tweets

The holidays are surely a busy time, and this has proved to be no exception for Intelligence Guy! As a result, I’ve consolidated all holiday tweets into a single post.

Top intelligent tweets of the holiday season focused on:

  • The continued struggle around leveraging social media being experienced by many organizations.
  • Oracle’s shocking acquisition of marketing automation provider Eloqua.
  • Skills and applications needed to maximize the value of investments in Big Data.

Social Media Is a Corporate Blind Spot for B2B Execs http://lnkd.in/VSe7mw

Nice to see investment in downtown SF! Salesforce planning for huge growth http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2012/12/salesforce-planning-for-huge-growth.html?ana=twt …

RT Yacine Baroudi@FasTake  Why Your HR Department Needs #SocialMedia http://fstk.it/2gCbXQ  #SM

Unbelievable. Oracle To Buy Eloqua For $23.50/Shr In $871 Million Deal – Forbes http://lnkd.in/8C38qR

Great view from our CEO. Why Oracle bought Eloqua, and what it means for the market http://lnkd.in/_NGszB

Everyone knows it. @salesforce should have bought @Eloqua today, not Oracle. #epicfail

Not surprised! It’s Becoming Abundantly Clear That Google Doesn’t Want To Share Android Anymore http://www.businessinsider.com/its-becoming-abundantly-clear-that-google-doesnt-want-to-share-android-anymore-2012-12?0=tools … via @sai_tools

We don’t need more data scientists — just make big data easier to use #bigdata http://lnkd.in/mbgDX6

If you’re not already social, or going social (in a big way), you will soon be irrelevant.

5 Big Data Predictions For 2013 http://lnkd.in/WB8hy4

Data driven! Barack Obama Used http://Salesforce.com  For Sentiment Analysis of Core Voters – The CIO Report – WSJ http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/12/07/obamas-campaign-used-salesforce-com-to-gauge-feelings-of-core-voters/ …

Nice! Campaigning in the Cloud: The Obama Campaign’s Salesforce Success http://bit.ly/RbzEKh  via @salesforce

Salesforce Surges to Record After Susquehanna Upgrades http://bloom.bg/X5XTq5  via @BloombergNews

Big Data + Cloud = Win! Cloud and big data – a fusion of two innovative IT trends #bigdata http://lnkd.in/JC_R59

Smart move! Never Mind PCs, Dell Is Getting Into Social Media Consulting http://mashable.com/2012/12/05/dell-social-media-consulting/ … via @mashable #bigdata

Nice app! Big Data Needs Eye Candy to Go Mainstream. Here’s the iPad App to Do It – Forbes http://onforb.es/UeTLld  #bigdata


Intelligent Tweets – Week of 11/19

Last week’s top intelligent tweets focused on:

  • Strategies for successful global Cloud deployments. This is not limited to SaaS application functionality, it also applies to managing data within as this is also a significant change for most organizations to adopt.
  • A short-sighted move by my wireless provider, who won’t allow me to upgrade my mobile phone less than 30 days before my eligibility date. This shows a failure to leverage customer data to make better decisions – given my current and past relationship with the company.
  • Coverage of Salesforce.com’s recent quarterly earnings report. Salesforce beat most analysts revenue estimates. This is great validation for the world’s most innovative company (named by Forbes).

Excellent article from one of my Bluewolf colleagues! Going Global: Implementing the Cloud Without Borders http://bit.ly/Tejb75

One month away from @VerizonWireless upgrade date…customer support says I have to wait. Would you rather I move to another carrier now?

Nice work, Salesforce! http://lnkd.in/9aESkC

Intelligent Tweets – Week of 11/12

Last week’s top intelligent tweets focused on:

  • A continued discussion around the role of Big Data in the 2012 US Presidential election. Stay tuned for a dedicated post on this topic.
  • A plug for my upcoming discussion of the role of Big Data for sales, best practices for leveraging it in a social context.
  • Additional views on the importance of Big Data, first from a career perspective, and second determining use cases within an organization.

How social media, data mining, and new-fangled technology tipped the 2012 election http://bit.ly/Rqarbo  via @DigitalTrends #bigdata

2012: The First Big Data Election – @HarvardBiz http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/hbreditors/2012/11/2012_the_first_big_data_electi.html … #bigdata

In Raleigh Thursday? I’ll be speaking for @Bluewolf and @salesforce on Best Practices for #Social Selling. RSVP now! http://www.bluewolf.com/landingpage/exec_tse_raleigh/ …

Want To Kill Your Career? Just Ignore The Big Data Boom – Forbes http://onforb.es/TzGwOk  #bigdata

Good overview of Big Data from a fellow @DukeFuqua alum! Is Big Data Right for Your Business? – Forbes http://onforb.es/T4FnAs  #bigdata

Intelligent Tweets – Week of 11/5

Last week’s top intelligent tweets focused on:

  • An excellent article from the Economist on the importance of location, one of the most vital Big Data assets.
  • A discussion of the Big Data divide – the haves and have-nots, and competitive advantage.
  • The role of Big Data in the US Presidential election. This is a hot one and I will be dedicating a future post entirely to this topic, as it not only received mainstream media attention but also applies to many areas beyond the election.

Well worth the read! Special report: Technology and geography: Location, location, location | The Economist http://econ.st/UHJq7l  #bigdata

How Big Data Will Separate Haves From Have-Nots http://shar.es/GqFQ6  via @CIOonline #bigdata

Big data helped shape, predict the 2012 election (Video) http://www.examiner.com/article/big-data-helped-shape-predict-the-2012-election … via @examinercom #bigdata