Candice Lee, Sr Events Program Manager at Salesforce [Interview]

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Posted on September 18, 2019

On #InEventTalks today, we present an interview with the Program Manager at Salesforce, Candice Lee, about event management. Read the full interview below:

What are Salesforce main events and how many people are involved with it?

Salesforce is a huge organization with over 20,000 employees! While the company is most certainly best known for our Dreamforce event, I am charged with bringing the Salesforce Engineering brand to life in top conferences both domestically and internationally. As part of the Technology, People, Innovation, & Learning organization, I am responsible for bringing the challenges and successes we face internally to the wider engineering community in a compelling and interactive way. I regularly partner with Recruiting teams, Engineering leaders, Security, and external vendors to produce 100’s of events annually. 

What are the most critical decisions you have to deal with when planning and executing these events?

First, Salesforce as a general brand is an end-user brand and my team is committed to building a hiring brand so there in lies a challenge in of itself. While Salesforce certainly has a clear brand identity, it is much more closely associated with Sales and Marketing. Oftentimes our event audience will confuse our presence at developer conferences and trade shows as trying to sell the Salesforce product instead of promote hiring. Secondly, the cartoon and character nature of the Trailhead brand does not always resonate with the general technology audience in the same manner. Lastly, by utilizing such a heavy Salesforce brand, all of our other engineering organizations that have been acquired (Heroku, Quip, Mulesoft) can be drowned out entirely.

How important are the in-person interactions and experiences for the whole marketing strategy of Salesforce business?

In-person experiences are fundamental to my team’s marketing strategy. As a developer hiring brand, we are not selling a product but instead an experience, the experience of working at Salesforce, essentially we are charged with creating a positive association between our brand and their own professional development. We often think about what our targeted audience is aspiring to from a grander lifestyle perspective and in turn, we look to highlight those associations in our brand messaging. The developer audience as a whole favor authenticity and are quick to steer clear of gimmicks and ‘selling’. We always aim to be honest and transparent in our marketing efforts and in doing so we are able to forge strong community within our audience. In addition, experiential marketing works particularly well here. When we tie our brand to a fun experience or activation, our audience is much more apt to engage with our messaging and become active participants in it rather than passive observers.

We are living the consumerization and data-perfection age. Experiences are getting more personalized every day. Under this very dynamic and fast-evolving scenario, what would you say that can be defined as a good customer experience? Could you share a case with us?

I would say the most dynamic experiences are ones that are audience tailored, demonstrate unique brand essence and personality and most importantly, surprise and delight :) Particularly as most of us live our day to day lives on screens, the importance of curated experiences are the most tangible ways to ‘feel’ a brand offline. To be memorable, the experience or activation should always be on-brand and relevant to the audience. Experiences offer brands the opportunity to really distill and strategize on core messaging and messaging is always best felt when participants are in a state of enjoyment.

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Check the latest projects Candice Lee is working at the moment. You can find her on LinkedIn and at her official website .


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