Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016

The expo floor at Dreamforce is the epicenter of cloud software.

Hundreds of companies are all vying for the attention of over 150,000 attendees during the course of 4 full days. Talk to any marketing, sales, or design team at a sponsoring company and they’ll tell you just how much thought, time, and budget goes into making their booth stand out amongst the crowd.

Every year marketing teams work to think up the best booth. I’ve been one of those marketers and after owning Dreamforce at Radius the last 3 years, this year I had the opportunity to take to the cloud expo in search for the best booths I could find. I searched for companies that delivered interactive onsite experiences, killer design, integrated messages, and a little bit of that “WOW factor”.

Check out the short video below as I nerd out on the top 10 booths at Dreamforce 2016!

1. Salesforce

Although they have home field advantage, Salesforce rocked it with the national park theme. They took designing the tradeshow experience to a whole new level this year.

As soon as you approached Moscone, big wooden signs truly made it feel less like you were entering a cloud software conference and more like the Yosemite National Park. Signage, maps, and messaging all embraced the Customer Trailblazer theme. Salesforce always does a marvelous job of putting their customer front and center, but this year they extended it to theaters featuring customers, their products, and even selecting them at campsites.

Eye-catching areas like the mobile campfires and “Living Docs” were creative takes on the Salesforce product suite. The staff was outfitted appropriately with national park rangers caps and scarfs. Every detail was well-thought-out and presented in a very genuine, imaginative way. Bravo!

2. Radius

top-10-booths-dreamforce-2016-radius

Sure, I’m a bit biased, but I truly believe Radius advertised on one of the boldest, brightest, and integrated booths at Dreamforce 2016.

The Revenue Driver theme was embedded across the copy, creative, swag, content, and prizes (Formula 1 giveaway). Persuasive messaging and designated stations to experience solutions specific to your needs put attendees in the driver seat. Comfortable seating within a presentation theater allowed folks to take a load off while also learning about the hottest cloud technology category – predictive.

Radius even had customers delivering presentations so attendees could hear directly from users. And the extension booth across the expo – the “Pit Stop” – refueled attendees with coffee and phone charging stations. I’m proud to say Radius competed for the top booth at Dreamforce this year.

3. Bluewolf

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - BlueWolf

Wow – if I were judging on looks alone, it would be hard to NOT crown Bluewolf as the victor. The modern, sleek design of their booth was incredible! Even the Radius design team was awe-struck at our next door expo neighbor.

Bluewolf took full advantage of their famous State of Salesforce stats with prominent text, neon lights, and an interactive element using colored yarn (see the video for details). The translucent images of faces were hard to ignore right as you walked into the expo, and a giant multi-screen display looped videos that almost hypnotized you. In the booth, touch screen monitors offered a fully self-service experience to help educate attendees on Bluewolf’s services and story.

4. G2 Crowd

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - G2 Crowd

G2 Crowd has run a product review center at Dreamforce for several years now. Attendees can submit reviews for their favorite (or least favorite) software providers and even look at real-time dashboards featuring these reviews. It’s a brilliant example of “show, don’t tell” event marketing.

But the element I loved the most about G2 Crowd’s booth is that they actually crowdsourced all their booth traffic. Other sponsors recruit their customers to visit the G2 Crowd booth to provide a review, which means G2 has all the sponsors marketing their booth for them. It’s smart and resource-effective!

5. Slack

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - Slack

The Slack booth, just like their product and brand, was beautiful. The living wall with real plants and wood design made you feel calm, even in the middle of a hectic conference expo floor. The large screen displayed lighthearted cartoons mixed in with customer stories featuring some of the most notable brands on the planet. There wasn’t anything spontaneous or outlandish about Slack’s Dreamforce experience. Just a simple, well-designed space that was open and inviting for attendees to learn more.

6. IBM

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - IBM

IBM is one of most advanced technology companies on earth. Yet, their Dreamforce booth was one of the least technical-looking ones.

Whiteboards, sticky notes, and the ‘outthink competition’ message spanned IBM’s 20×10 booth. The contrast between IBM’s super-advanced technology brand and their organic collaborative booth elements was hard to discount. Excluding the occasional IBM branding, this was one of the few booths that took the design of their booth in a completely different direction from the standard printed panels.

7. InsideSales.com

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - InsideSales

Insidesales.com always goes big for Dreamforce, and they always display compelling experiences. Their booth elements have clear value props and the videos make their technology looks ultra sophisticated.

One thing InsideSales has mastered is ‘booth theater’. Copied by many, InsideSales has the best booth theater experience – almost creating an amphitheater with a mini stage and large plasma TVs – of any booth besides Salesforce. This year they also fully baked in the most messages around new product launches onto their t-shirts and copy. All round, very solid work this year!

8. MapAnything

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - MapAnything

MapAnything had two locations, both with large screens that showcase maps (go figure). The jumbo screens definitely made people stop and stare while presenters showcased their mapping tools.

MapAnything even carried their brand across the expo floor with printed maps on the floor and miniature stoles designed like location pins. In addition to the massive screens, MapAnything’s team made a smart move by adding several smaller TVs, so their staff could have more intimate meetings.

9. FairWarning

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - FairWarning

I had never heard of FairWarning, and can’t say data security is an ‘eye-catching’ topic for me. However, FairWarning’s lineup backdrop and cutouts of people really grabbed my attention. It was a very smart move to position their demo display right next to the lineup display and to leave the rest of the floor open. This allowed them to bring in crowds for short demos. FairWarning gets major creative points!

10. InContact

Top 10 Booths at Dreamforce 2016 - InContact

InContact had a fun, interactive play on the famous “Price is Right” game Plinko. The game drew a line around the expo.

Even though most participants didn’t know what they were waiting for, InContact definitely got their name out there by generating a game show frenzy. Booth lighting is always a major factor, and InContact had backlit panels that made the entire exhibit shine. Also, it wasn’t just fun and games – they provided a spacious area for presentations and meetings.

Over To You

All these selections are my own and it was extremely hard to pick. Among many others, companies like Conversica, Jitterbit, and Mulesoft had fantastic booths at Dreamforce and definitely deserve an honorable mention!

I’d love to hear which booths you believe topped the rankings at Dreamforce 2016, and hope this list gives you inspiration for next year!

Want to get the inside scoop on major trends and announcements from Dreamforce 2016? Join several of today’s top product executives in a live discussion about the convergence of data, software, and revenue.

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