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5 things we LOVED at Salesforce Connections 2019

by Stu Elmes

Salesforce Connections 2019 in Chicago was awesome. Plenty of useful knowledge was shared, amazing connections were made, and more than a few happening Chicago nightspots were visited.  

At this year’s Salesforce Connections event, the Phrasee team was out in force. With so many fabulous things to see and do on offer, it was (sadly) impossible to take it ALL in, but we did what we could. 

Here were a few of our very phavorite highlights 

1) Women of Email

It’s no secret that Phrasee is a big time supporter of the Women of Email organization – we have been for quite some time, as a matter of fact. We’ve even got a fair few WOE members on the Phrasee team! Maybe we’re a little bit biased, but we thought it was great to see such a strong Women of Email presence at Salesforce Connections 2019. [Pictured above: Phrasee’s WOE networking drinks at Parlay at Joy on the Sunday before the conference]

Aexpected, these ladies came to play. Their panel: “Tips for Email Marketing 2019 with the Women of Email offered up some really useful knowledge for anyone looking to keep their email marketing careers on the right path in 2019Chaired by none other than Salesforce’s own Guilda Hilaire, this starstudded WOEpanel also featured Rentpath’s Aysha ZouainKarin Holmgren from Pitney Bowes, and Corrina Cohen from Caleres. 

Some of the notable nuggets of advice offered up by the WOE speakers on the panel included: 

 “Stay flexible. You can’t just learn one type of dev language – you need to keep growing your skill set. Be willing to teach others and share knowledge. Don’t be tight and hold onto your knowledge. Document everything, share and teach as much as you can. 

“Keep looking forward. Don’t settle for where you are. Put yourself out there. Support one another. Don’t undermine or one up each other.” – Corrina Cohen 


“Ethical personalization is an exciting opportunity to build a better email marketing strategy. The more you lessen the pain points in your processes, the more people will convert.”   

“Gather people together. Maintain friendships outside of your job. It’s also important to have friendships with people that do the same thing as you and to have mentors within the industry.” – Aysha Zouain 


“Put an elaborate matrix in place so your team will know what to do when something goes wrong with a campaign – and how to fix it. This will make sure you’re prepared and eliminates panic if something does go wrong.” 

“’What if…?’ and why now?’ Ask those questions. Explore possibilities of what’s out there with your skills. Prove that you can learn anything. Encourage your team and encourage each other.– Karin Holmgren

2) R “Ray” Wang

When Founder, Chairman, and Principle Analyst of Constellation Research R “Ray Wang took to the stage at Salesforce Connections to talk about “The Evolution of Marketing Analytics and the Foundation for AI”, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. 

What we got was one of the most exciting, energetic, and fascinating presentations we’ve seen in a while. 

With AI technology moving to the forefront of the modern marketing discussion – not to mention that it’s the foundation of what we do at Phrasee – we’re always eager to learn more about the evolving intersection between digital marketing and 2019’s most exciting technology. Offering sharp insights into how AI can be applied in a practical way to marketing today, and where this relationship could be heading in the future, Wang’s in-depth understanding of digital marketing performance metrics challenged our understanding of marketing performance in new and wonderful ways.    

Of particular interest was the surprising fact that the world’s hottest stock since 2010 is Domino’s (a Phrasee customer!) rather than a brand one might expect, such as Apple, Facebook or Amazon. 

Wang posited that useful performance metrics must always have an actionable purpose and not be manipulated, and thatclassic content marketing vanity metrics often count things but don’t relate to revenue or action.The need to target performance measurement back towards revenue, Wang says, is very real. 

Metrics that tie back to revenue:  

1. Customer lifetime value 

2. Marketing qualified leads 

3. Sales qualified leads 

4. Customer acquisition costs 

5. Average search position 

6. Average revenue per user 

7. Conversion rates 

Wang also spoke about marketing relevance, a subject near and dear to the hearts of everyone in the marketing world in 2019.Contextual relevance, Wang says, earns you the permission to engage. Once you’ve engaged, you can identify the next best action to keep the process moving forward. 

Wang says that AIdriven smart journeyscan keep your messaging relevant through every stage of the sales funnel, which is important, since relevance generates compliance, and compliance is where the money’s at” – which is one of our favorite quotes now.

3) Networking, networking, networking

What would an event with the word “connections” in its name be without the amazing networking opportunities that make these events worthwhile? 

The Phrasee squad in attendance at Salesforce Connections 2019 met a lot of trailblazing folks (and shook a LOT of hands) over the event’s three amazing days. 

Here are just a few of our partners who had time for a quick photo: 

4) Beyond the Buzzword: What AI Means for Customer Lifecycle Marketing 

As a company that has been working with AI to make marketing more effective for quite some time now, Phrasee is very much aware that the words “artificial intelligence” have become one of the marketing industry’s most overused and misunderstood terms of late.   

Pushing past this fact and explaining to the world that AI is much more than just a tech buzzword  and that it’s a useful, powerful set of technologies that offer effective real-world solutions to some of digital marketing’s most enduring pain points  has become something of an obsession for us. 

When we heard that Salesforce Senior Product Manager Shrestha Basu Mallick and Salesforce Senior Product Marketing Manager Andrew Simmons would be discussing how AI can impact customer lifecycle marketing, we knew we needed to be there. 

And we’re glad we were. 

Mallick and Simmons’ call for marketers to begin defining marketing success differently, and progress beyond their current preoccupation with ROI was music to our ears. This quote from Dominque Hassans, Former CEO of The Marketing Science Institute and Professor at UCLA was a particular standout: 

“ROI is an efficiency metric. It can only show how efficiently you spent your money, not how effective your marketing was.”  

Mallick and Simmons put forth some interesting thoughts about how rising consumer expectations will mandate the personalization strategies of the future. And they brought some statistics from Salesforce’s own ‘State of the connected customer’ report with them to back those thoughts up: 

 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services 

– 57% of customers have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience 

– 67% of customers say they’ll pay more for a great experience 

The presentation’s position that customers will willingly exchange their data for a better digital experienceechoed the sentiments of many at the forefront of the data marketing revolution, and it behooves marketers across the industry to keep this in mind as they evolve their strategies for the years to come. 

While marketers must still deliver performance and productivity, Merrick and Simmons argue, we also face increasing data and scale challenges, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. 

They posited that savvy marketers will turn to artificial intelligence for assistance/solutions to these issues in growing numbersas it has the capacity to address both the personalization and performance mandates. 

 Some other key takeaways from this fascinating presentation are as follows: 

1. Customers crave personalization and are open to AI-powered experiences that deliver it. 

2. AI can help marketers both deliver personalization and improve performance and productivity. 

3. AI is being democratized and can be used across almost any marketing use case. 

4. Over half (59%) of customers are open to companies using AI to improve their experiences.

5) The performances

Imagine if all of the awesomeness we’ve listed above came sandwiched between performances from one of the world’s greatest living musicians and one of the decade’s most famous pop stars… 

Yep, that’s pretty much what happened at Salesforce Connections 2019. 

On day one, Salesforce Connections attendees were treated to fireside chat and a magnificent performance from none other than legendary cellist Yo Yo Ma (which was indescribable), hosted by one of cable news’s best and brightest personalities, the incomparable Soledad O’Brien. 

Tough to top? Yes, indeed. 

The folks at Salesforce, however, were equal to the task, welcoming pop icon Gwen Stefani to the stage for a spectacular performance to end this amazing event.

Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all… 

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