Dreamforce 2019: An Evolution from Dreamer to Trailblazer to Transformational Leader

by Shany Seawright

As we approach a brand-new decade, its interesting to look back at how marketing has evolved in the last ten years and how new technologies and tools will drive innovative best practices in the future. Through it all, marketers have learned to shift, adapt, and morph into trailblazers in order to keep up with the changing times and expectations.

Yet not everyone will be able to keep up with the pace of innovation. It really depends on how you define yourself: Are you a Dreamer, Trailblazer, or Transformational leader?

A dreamer is a marketer who spends a significant amount of time thinking and planning for things they would like to change or implement. They have a wish list and ideas, but it doesn’t come from a practical place. There is less of a focus on the “why” and often the dreamer is distracted by the “cool factor” of a new technology or tool.

A trailblazer is on the front lines of doing and learning. They go beyond just thinking and put action behind the plan. They are willing to be the first to test out a theory or tool. They are innovative, pioneers and often lifelong learners who want to make a difference. In fact, thousands of them have trekked across the county this week and gathered at Dreamforce 2019, where they are networking, gathering insights and pushing forward on their learning journey.

Transformation leaders are often the quiet leader, those who have a vision and strategy to make significant changes, and lead by example. Many of these leaders took the stage at Dreamforce and shared how they made transformational changes in their industry whether as President of the United States, Olympic and World Cup Champion, NBA MVP, author, artist, or activist.

Most of us fall into one of the first two categories but strive to reach a stage in our learning journey where we can make a bigger impact.  To get there, we need to be mindful, understand the revolution we are in, and continue to embrace change in a thoughtful manner.

When Ariana Huffington took the stage on Day 2 of Dreamforce, to talk about the power of trust and mindfulness, she told the audience that, “When we take that little time to pause, reconnect with ourselves and recharge, we are actually more effective at everything we are doing.”

This rings true as we look at how to transform the marketing initiatives that we are creating today and in the future. If we pause, take a closer look at the transformation that is occurring, we as marketers become even more effective.

We can’t deny that digital transformation is here and impacts how our customers engage with us and we with them. Here are just a few that impact us today:

Trust is scarce: With the rise of Internet and social channels, influencers, and the ease of spreading false information, trust is hard to come by. How is your organization building that connection with their customers? How do they show they are a trusted source?

Intelligence is automated: From smart devices to artificial intelligence, insights are gathered at nearly every interaction. Each data point tells you more about who your customer is and what they want. Ignoring these insights or pushing them aside to push forward with another agenda, could be the downfall to your next campaign.

Customer-centric to the core: This is not new, yet some marketers still struggle with this concept. Ultimately, it is always about the customer and everything you do should be customer-centric. Consider what value can you provide that will ease a customer pain point or issue and how you can impact their digital transformation.

In this new digital revolution, customers have access to information at their fingertips at any moment in time.  Are you ready to meet them where they are?

They will turn to a company that they trust, that helps educate them, that understands their needs, and that will empower them to do better. If you are dreamer, you need to consider how to take action in a meaningful way that will help you evolve into a trailblazer. For all of the trailblazers, Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff pointed out, “That is why we’re here {at Dreamforce} as Trailblazers: to improve the state of the world with trust, customer success, innovation, and equality”.

To all of the transformational leaders who come before us, thank you for your insights. We continue to learn during this journey with the hopes of bringing that transformational change into our own business and customers.