This week on the Marketing Cloudcast — a podcast for Trailblazers who are leading the way in their companies and careers — we take a sneak peek into Connections 2018Salesforce's digital marketing, commerce, and customer service event of the year, which will take place in Chicago on June 12-14. (If you haven't registered yet, don't miss the chance to register today!



The goal of Connections is to inspire attendees through more than 500 insightful breakout sessions, interactive hands-on demos, and eye-opening keynotes from industry leaders. You’ll get to meet Salesforce experts, chat with Salesforce partners, network with fellow Trailblazers, and explore a world of innovation at the Customer Success Expo. You’ll even get to dance the night away at an epic concert. And for those who love to give back, there will also be unique volunteer opportunities to participate in.


That's a lot of ground to cover in three short days. So, here are five tips to help you get the most out of this year's Connections:


1. Choose the right breakout sessions (for you)

All breakout sessions will be led by product experts, thought leaders, and our very own Trailblazers. There will even be a special live recording of the Marketing Cloudcast podcast.

For the email marketers out there, don’t miss "Overcoming Barriers to Designing 1:1 Email Experiences." Design experts Justine Jordan, VP Marketing at Litmus and Kristina Huffman, from the Salesforce creative services team will share best practices for creating captivating email campaigns that spark real and meaningful engagement.

If your interests lie more in artificial intelligence (AI), be sure to check out "Beyond the Buzzword: What AI Really Means for Marketers" and "How Artificial Intelligence Drives Smarter Consumer Journeys." In the words of Salesforce’s Chief Digital Evangelist, Vala Afshar: “I'm not a futurist, but I will make a prediction. In my humble opinion, and in working with some of the top futurists and analysts in the world, we believe, I believe, that in a couple of years – let's say by 2020 – if your marketing doesn't include AI-powered CRM, and specifically machine learning, then you're not marketing.” 

Along those same lines, especially for those of you in charge of your brand’s social media presence, you must check out "Einstein and the Modern Marketer: How AI Is Changing Social Media." As you already know, social media marketing is essential for any organization, but managing a social presence can be a daunting task. This session will shed light on how AI can help automate tasks to free up your marketing team, generate leads, identify influencers, increase ROI, and so much more.

And finally, for you mobile marketers or digital experience managers out there, your go-to session should be "Getting Started with Mobile Messaging." Here, you'll hear Trailblazers stories from Kroger's Dana Kleinholz, Buffalo Wild Wings' Matt Mannen, and Live Nation's Lydia Colaresi. If one session on mobile messaging wasn't enough, then be sure to check out "Driving Business Impact with SMS." This session will provide an even deeper dive into the power of SMS as an engaging marketing channel. 


2. Embrace thought leadership

The world of marketing evolves at an increasingly rapid pace. Salesforce's Principal of Marketing Insights, Mathew Sweezey will share some thoughts on the current state of marketing as well as how today's marketers can make the most out of this ever-evolving environment in "Five Key Traits for High Performing Marketing Organizations." 

In his own words: “There are a lot of consumer micro-trends facing the industry today. One such trend is the move towards using chatbots as a marketing tool. In fact, we just finished up a major study on chatbots and discovered — oddly enough — that baby boomers find more value in them than millennials. But there are many more micro- and macro-trends worth exploring. What we know to be true, however, is that as media changes, all things within that media landscape change as well, including consumer habits and the very definition of marketing today.” To hear more from Sweezey, register for his session, follow him at @msweezey, and read his book, "Marketing Automation for Dummies."

This is just one of many incredible thought leadership sessions taking place at Connections 2018. Want to hear what Gartner's Marty Kihn or Forbes' John Koestier are thinking about? They'll be speaking at the conference, too. Here's another talk you won't want to miss: Jeff Rohrs, Yext CMO and co-author of "AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers" will be interviewed by Cloudcast founder, Heike Young in a live audience Marketing Cloudcast recording to discuss the latest marketing trends. (While you're at it, make sure to bookmark this: "The Marketing Cloudcast Live: What We Learned From Interviewing 100+ Marketers.")


3. Have fun networking like a pro

Don't be shy. Say "hello" to the person sitting next to you in a breakout session. Or maybe offer someone a beverage during the lunch break and introduce yourself. You never know who you’ll meet and what you might learn from another Trailblazer. Be sure to mark your calendars – Wednesday night (June 13) will be a great opportunity to relax, dance the night away, and network with your fellow Ohana. Just remember this: if you really want to go to that 8:30 a.m. session the next day, don’t stay out until 2 a.m. Get some sleep and make the most of the conference. It’ll be well worth it.


4. Get inspired

"We Are All Trailblazers: Customer Success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution" is a must-see. In this keynote, we will honor Trailblazers from Adidas, Ticketmaster, US Bank, as well as another very special  Trailblazer (this one's a surprise!). But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There will also be informative product keynotes for the Marketing, Service, and Commerce Clouds that you won't want to miss. 

Our goal is for you to leave Connections 2018 feeling inspired – and to continue the momentum even once you're back in the office. One easy way to do this is to share the recorded live stream or keynote highlights from the Salesforce blog with your colleagues. Sharing this content is a great way to extend the Connections 2018 experience so you and your team can all be inspired and grow together.

Lastly, be sure to share what you learned at Connections 2018 with your local user group. You can find a user group near you by visiting the Trailblazer community – and if you don’t see one, why not start one? It's never too soon to become a local Trailblazer.


5. Feel a part of the action (even if you can’t attend)

Even if you can't attend Connections 2018 in person, you can still follow along at salesforce.com/video. This will give you access to Salesforce Live where we plan to stream the Marketing, Commerce, and Service Cloud keynotes. We'll also have a number of videos from the event posted on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud YouTube channel as well as event highlights sprinkled across our social media channels. Finally, be sure to visit the Trailblazer community where many of the presentations from the event will be posted as well.   


Tune into the full episode of the Marketing Cloudcast to learn more about what's happening at Connections 2018. Join the thousands of Trailblazers who are already Marketing Cloudcast subscribers on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, or Overcast. Have a topic in mind for a future podcast? Tell us about it today!

Learn more and register for Connections 2018 at salesforce.com/connections.