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A new integration with Google Analytics and bundling of Salesforce marketing features took center stage at Connections ‘18, the Salesforce marketing conference that drew an estimated 10,000 attendees to Chicago last week. And a forest of 30-foot inflatable redwood trees, keynote interviews with actresses and activists Lucy Liu and Kerry Washington, and an unforgettable party added spectacle to the substance of a full slate of product releases at the three-day conference.

 

The Google integration, covered by publications including AdWeekTechCrunch, and ZDNet, makes consumer insights from Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and Google’s Analytics 360 platforms viewable in a single dashboard. This allows marketers to visualize how email, mobile, and web interactions are performing and influencing each other. “For marketers, it’s always about the right message, in the right place, at the right time,” Stephanie Buscemi, Salesforce Executive Vice President, told the audience in a keynote address and demonstration.

 

The Google integration, currently used by L’Oreal, Open Colleges and Auto & General and available in beta release starting in the third quarter of this year, does not require assistance from customer’s information technology staff. That bundling of software-as-a-service features, a hallmark of Salesforce products, was a theme of the conference at a time of fast-changing media and technology.

 

 

 

“These technologies are changing so rapidly it can be intimidating,” Brett Taylor, Salesforce Chief of Product, said in a keynote address giving the company’s view of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “But it is the greatest opportunity we've had in a generation to connect with our customers.”

 

Taylor said the key to meeting that opportunity is not the new tools Salesforce introduced but the people using them, the Trailblazers, the affectionate term Salesforce uses for its customers. He presented a gold hoodie onstage to Kristin Bond for her innovative use of Salesforce’s cloud tools as Head of Email for the Girl Scouts.

 

 

 

Mary Kay Huse, a Salesforce executive vice president demonstrated how companies like Adidas can benefit from the new integrations between Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud “seamlessly, with clicks, not code.”

 

New applications of Salesforce’s Einstein artificial intelligence products and new “consumer-like” customer experience tools for business-to-business companies were also announced in a series of press releases.  

 

The new products address the challenge of harnessing the deluge of data available to companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in order to serve individual companies and their customers one at a time. “Personalization brings data to life,” Liam Doyle, Salesforce Senior Vice President, said in a keynote address that showed that approach at work for Ducati, the luxury motorcycle brand, and Ticketmaster.

 

While Salesforce executives demonstrated the bundling of the clouds to address today’s marketing challenges, celebrity speakers urged inclusivity and diversity to address society’s civil challenges.  

 

Kerry Washington, star of the hit ABC drama “Scandal,” told the crowd of several thousand gathered for the final keynote that inclusivity must extend to everyone. “Information is everything,” she told Ellen McGirt, a Senior Editor for Fortune who writes on diversity issues. “Having access to tech is going to be the great equalizer.” She said the world is in a “very dangerous place right now” regarding a technology divide based on class. “Everyone should code,” she said. “Everyone should have access to tech.”

 

 

 

Lucy Liu, known for her roles in the television show “Ally McBeal” and movies “Kill Bill” and “Charlie’s Angels,” said her immigrant family’s work ethic while facing racial stereotypes made an early impact that has continued, and given her a profound respect for connecting and coordinating work with others. “We started working at a very young age — illegally of course.” Liu said she worked a job scooping ice cream before she was a teenager, resulting in “really strong right biceps at 11.” She laughed but noted that the creative work she does is almost always with a group of people. “I enjoy it so much.”

 

 

The Chicago conference is a precursor to its larger annual conference, Dreamforce, coming to San Francisco in late September. Registration has just opened for this year's Dreamforce, and it will sell out, so be sure to get your tickets soon!