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The Art of Dreamforce

By Kyle Simenson October 11, 2017


“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

These are just some of the marquee lines from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Written more than two thousand years ago, it sets forth lessons on military strategy. Despite its age, Sun Tzu’s tactics for victory on the battlefield have been adopted by many business leaders and are almost considered a rite of passage when entering the business world.

I am a bit of a late adopter in many things, so I recently completed The Art of War and felt compelled to explore how I believe Sun Tzu’s writing applies to marketing, customer experience (CX) initiatives, AND how it can help others navigate Dreamforce as well. Therefore, in true Sun Tzu style, I’ve laid out my thoughts below in numbered rules because…well why not?

Rule #1

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”

To say there are many messages, interactions, and content coming at customers on a daily basis is a massive understatement. The same can be said for Dreamforce attendees. Knowing this, make sure that the presentations you attend will be able to increase your organization’s current baseline metrics and help differentiate yourself from competitors.

Rule #2

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.”

Many times after something is presented, there is an extended time frame where no action is taken. We can find this when we are looking to engage our customers via marketing or when attending Dreamforce. Urgency should always be prioritized when looking at new systems or processes in order to keep things evolving.  

Rule #3

“Move swift as the wind and closely-formed as the wood. Attack like the fire and be still as the mountain.”

The only constant is change. It is a cliche, but it’s true. If you repeat the same tactics or repeat the same strategy you will eventually fail—it’s only a matter of time. From a customer experience standpoint, adopting an agile methodology can help this. Agile development and project management methods encourage this fast and flexible response to change. While doing this, it is important to listen to requirements and standards and hold true to what is needed to be successful. For Dreamforce, make sure you go in with a plan and see what needs to be seen, but be flexible enough to take ad-hoc meetings or pivet based on new opportunities that are presented.

Rule #4

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

For those that are interacting with your message, brand, or organization, the most effective marketing is that which feels natural, allowing customers to let their guards down for increased engagement. Take this into account while at Dreamforce by understanding how new roll-outs and improvements will impact your current environment.

Rule #5

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

Communication channels, technology, and consumer experiences are in a constant state of evolution. This allows for a multitude of opportunities to create inspiring Salesforce environments that truly make an impact. Seize the moments at Dreamforce to take in new information and make new relationships. The amount of opportunities that will come from taking advantage of this event will generate more returns.

With the world’s largest software conference only weeks away, I hope my application of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War was able to provide you a few tips on how you can make yours, a Dreamforce to be reckoned with.


Posted in on October 11, 2017