Help Attendees Maximize On-Site Experiences — Before They Even Pack

Author: David McMillin       

We live in a last-minute world, as demonstrated by the way we behave as consumers. We wait to book hotel rooms until the night before we travel. We send colleagues urgent emails that require action before the end of the day. We put off buying holiday gifts until we have no choice but to pay for that next-day, priority shipping option. And many attendees approach business events with that procrastinator’s mindset. While they may pay to register months in advance, planning how to get a real return on that investment — by browsing sessions, downloading a mobile app, or mapping out a daily schedule — happens only a few days before they pick up their name badges, if it happens at all.

Instead of hoping for an impressive open rate on the “What to Know Before You Go” email, the organizers of Dreamforce get attendees thinking about how to navigate the annual Salesforce users’ gathering in San Francisco months before anyone is packing their suitcases. Earlier this month, they launched the seventh season of a weekly broadcast series called “The Road to Dreamforce,” with interviews with the conference chair, the director of events marketing, content, and operations, and a number of other leaders who are responsible for hosting the four-day, 2,700-session program, at the Moscone Center, Nov. 19–22.

“The Road to Dreamforce is your go-to show for everything Dreamforce related,” the website states. “Each of the 11 episodes will provide a deep dive into topics like Dreamforce programs, top sessions, newbie tips, and tons of practical information. Basically, the kind of stuff you’ll find useful and actually want to know about.”

The episodes are posted each Thursday, but Dreamforce takes a cue from today’s on-demand television landscape: For those who are unable to join live at 11 a.m. PDT on the Dreamforce website or the conference’s Facebook page, the content is available within 48 hours. And those who may not want to watch the full episode — each requires a 45-minute time commitment — are in luck, too. The Dreamforce Facebook and Twitter accounts feature two-minute clips from the footage that focus on specific pieces of the on-site experience.

Salesforce earned more than $13 billion in 2018, so it’s safe to assume that they can afford to invest in every detail of its biggest live experience. While the Dreamforce budget is beyond most organizers’ reach, the series can be replicated in a low-cost, low-production manner. Sure, Salesforce’s production studio and multiple camera angles make the videos polished, but it’s the early-bird-gets-the-worm approach that makes this series successful and worth replicating. Even if those attendees don’t bother downloading the app until they board a Bay Area–bound plane, they won’t get lost in the crowd when they arrive if they’ve tuned in.

This isn’t the first example of innovation at Dreamforce that has caught our attention at Convene. Check out the conference’s floating solution to a sold-out room block.