Make the Most Out of Dreamforce 2016: Sessions, Soirees, and Sights

Modern Marketing


So much to do, so little time.

As San Francisco emerges from its summertime fog into crisp fall days, it’s also getting ready for hundreds of thousands people to descend on it for Dreamforce—a week full of fresh insights, entertainment (hello, afterparty), and tourism (you can fit it in!).

If you’re in town for Dreamforce, make sure you make the most out of your time, especially if you’ll be dealing with the crazy commute.

Whether you have a full-pass to the conference or not, there are plenty of things to do and see. Here are some of the top sessions, parties, and sights you can take in while you’re at Dreamforce:

1. Sessions

Marketing is undergoing a digital transformation, empowered by new tools and technologies, to drive results across the organization and improve the end-to-end customer experience. These sessions reveal how to become tomorrow’s marketer, from the tools you’ll use to the knowledge you’ll need.

Marketo’s Secret Sauce to Account-Based Marketing
Location: SPiN, 690 Folsom Street at the corner of 3rd Street
Time: Tuesday, Oct 4, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM & 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Account-based marketing is the key to targeting and engaging key accounts at scale. What’s the secret to doing it well? Mike Telem, VP of Product Marketing at Marketo, will reveal best practices for ABM, based on our experience practicing it day-in and day-out. He’ll also unveil Marketo’s new account-based marketing tool, the only solution that delivers all three essentials for ABM success within a unified platform. Reserve your seat now.

Women on the Rise: The Next Generation of Sales & Marketing Leaders
Location: Open Lounge, One Kearny Club, 23 Geary St
Time: Tuesday, Oct 4, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Now is the time for women—not just in tech, but also in other critical business units like sales, marketing, and operations. Tracy Eiler, CMO of InsideView, will be moderating this panel of successful women leaders from Zoura, Infer, InsideView, Salesforce, Everstring, Gainsight, and Terminus who are kicking @$$ and taking names. They’ll share their personal stories and advice on how to reach your full potential. Hang around Open Lounge after the session for more thought leadership sessions and discussion panels. Did I mention there’s free Wi-Fi, charging stations, a rooftop patio, food and Napa Valley Wine? Check out the full schedule.

Fortune CEO Series: Disruptors Shaping the Future
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Theater
Time: Wednesday, Oct 5, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
This session has quite a line-up, and for good reason. We’re in a high-growth era, with private companies valued at $1 billion or more growing both in number and size, and faster than any other time during the last decade. How are these unicorn companies hitting milestones that took Fortune 500 companies decades to reach? Pattie Sellers, Executive Director of Fortune MPW Summits and Live Content, will moderate this panel featuring four disruptive start-up CEOs from ClassPass, Casper, IFTTT, and PlanGrid. They’ll explain how they’re connecting with customers in a whole new way, leveraging the latest technology to fuel high-growth.

Keynote: “Be a Customer Trailblazer” with Marc Benioff & Special Guests (Live Streamed)
Location: Open Lounge, One Kearny Club, 23 Geary St
Time: Wednesday, Oct 5, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Sure, they’ll be presenting the keynote live at Moscone, but with over 160,000 people attending Dreamforce, do you really want to battle for a good seat? (Been there, done that, not fun.) Not to mention, live streaming has evolved into a great, real-time medium, so enjoy the keynote from the comfort of InsideView’s Open Lounge.

Marketo’s Operations Journey to ABM
Location: Trou Normand, 140 New Montgomery St
Time: Thursday, 10/6, 1:00 PM
By now, you’ll probably have seen a good share of sessions about account-based marketing. But if you’re in a marketing role, you might be wondering how this affects marketing operations. Renaud Bizet, Director of Global Marketing Operations at Marketo, will share how we’ve solved the challenges around data quality, sales efficiency, and pursuing enterprise accounts as we moved to a large-scale ABM strategy.

Mastering Your Story: How to Create Characters That Tell Amazing Stories
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Forum
Time: Friday, Oct 7, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
I’m personally really excited for this session. As marketers, we need to become master storytellers of our brand and who better to tell us how than Andrew Gordon, Directing Animator at Pixar, and Rebecca Stockley, founder of Bats Improv? They’ll touch on what’s at the heart of a good story—failure, creativity, and collaboration—things we can all relate to, especially in content marketing.

2. Breaks and Parties

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Let’s face it, one of the best things about attending a conference is that sometimes you can squeeze in a little time for yourself—be it networking, drinks, or relaxing baths in your hotel room (don’t judge).

Professional Profile Pictures and Demos
Location: Jillian’s, 175 4th Street
Time: Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 4-6, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Okay, so maybe it’s not your typical glam shot, but it’s also not an awkwardly cropped profile photo. This year, we’re bringing a professional photographer to Dreamforce to help you capture your best professional self for your social media profiles. But the fun doesn’t stop there…you can also get a personalized demo of our latest solutions, including the newly released Marketo ABM, and updates on Project Orion, our next generation platform. Refreshments and snacks are on us, so stop by to wind down and freshen up. Say cheese!

Glow Party
Location: SPiN, 690 Folsom Street at the corner of 3rd Street
Time: Tuesday, Oct 4, 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM
If you’ve ever been to Summit, then you already know that Marketo knows how to throw a party. Looking for more fun at Dreamforce? Join us for our glow-in-the-dark soiree! Show off your ping pong skills and go up against an Olympic-level pong expert for some serious bragging rights, throw back some cocktails, and kick back. Space is limited, so get glowing!

Rock Out with U2
Location: Cow Palace Arena, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA 94014
Time: Wednesday, Oct 5, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
The rumors are true—U2 will be headlining Dreamfest this year. Don’t miss out on the chance to see them live! It’s going to be “a beautiful day, don’t let it get away.” I know I’ll be there, “with or without you.”

Bonus tip: Want to mingle with thought leaders like Matt Heinz? Check out this handy list of where he and his team will be at Dreamforce to pick his brain on the latest-and-greatest in B2B marketing.

3. Sightseeing

For those looking for an adventure, wander outside of the Moscone on your free time and check out some local favorites that are just a walk, Muni/Bart ride, or Uber away.

Yerba Buena Gardens
Take a moment to smell the roses amidst the hustling and bustling of the busy conference. The Yerba Buena Gardens are located right behind the convention center and feature an array of different gardens, fountains, public art, and shopping and dining.

Pier 39
Be sure to check out Pier 39 for some dining, entertainment, shopping, and attractions unique to San Francisco. With views of landmarks like the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Angel Island, Alcatraz, and the city skyline, you’ll definitely want to check it out. Pier 39 is also home to some serious chowder bowls and basking sea lions.

Crissy Field
Crissy Field is another great place to check out, and not just for catching Pokemon. You can also get some great views of the famous landmarks from here, but in a more secluded setting. Plus, Ghiradelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Lombard Street are all nearby.

Big conferences can be overwhelming—from all the people to information—so I hope this list helps you create a fun to-do list of important stuff to do and see. Are you going to Dreamforce? What other sessions and events do you recommend checking out?