As you may have seen, Salesforce last week launched a content program. Known as Salesforce +, it’s framed as a sort of Netflix for business content including educational resources for salesforce customers to be more effective with its products. It will be staffed with hundreds of employees according to Axios.
Several questions bubble up from this unlikely move, including why? and what?. Before getting into the why, lets further level set on the what. The digital media network — delivered mostly through streaming apps and web — “will bring the magic of Dreamforce to viewers across the globe with luminary speakers.”
So though Salesforce+ likely has designs on broader video efforts (more on that in a bit), it’s being positioned at the onset as a digital distribution play to get more long-tail value out of Dreamforce content. Dreamforce, for those unfamiliar, is Salesforce’s massive annual developer and customer conference.
Given the Dreamforce integration, Salesforce+ can be viewed as a way to squeeze more value out of the event. We’re talking celebrity keynotes as well as tactical breakout sessions that have “how-to” value on integration and execution best practices. It’s the latter that holds the most “long-tail” value noted above.
In other words, like entertainment-based streaming, distribution can be unlocked through on-demand delivery. Just as value and scale have been created in the option to see premium content on your couch versus a movie theater, Salesforce wants to decouple Dreamforce content from the bottleneck of the physical event.
At least part of this was likely inspired by discoveries in the Covid-era. Dreamforce — along with the rest of the event world — had to figure out how to deliver content virtually. Beyond timing are the above content economics. Time-shifted streaming help Salesforce amplify scale and reach when distributing content.
Content Marketing Play
That brings us to the why. All of the above is essentially a content marketing play for Salesforce. To continue growing, it has to reach new markets. That includes vertical growth through its many acquisitions in areas like Marketing (ExactTarget), Data Visualization (Tableau), and Productivity (Slack).
Salesforce also needs to reach new market segments, such as its continued down-market moves to tap into the SMB long tail. Through all of this expansion, a content network could come in handy. Salesforce has a strong sales culture, but the unit economics of any long-tail market require some degree of self-serve.
And the best way to educate a self-serve market is through robust libraries of searchable on-demand content. As noted above, we’re talking about how-to videos and breakdowns for best practices in integrating and executing Salesforce software. That mission starts with existing Dreamforce content.
Looking forward, we believe investments in Salesforce+ signal broader content development beyond Dreamforce. What Salesforce has built here could be the beginnings of a much more robust network for educational content that traces back to selling, serving, and educating Salesforce customers.
And who knows, maybe content production could be Salesforce’s next vertical conquest. Could it spin out a “production cloud” that helps global brands create and manage high production-quality multimedia? This could be housed within the Marketing Cloud and create an edge over competitors like HubSpot.
Of course, the last few paragraphs include a fair amount of speculation. But some signs point to these outcomes, not to mention revenue in brand-sponsored content on Salesforce+. We’ll keep an eye out for clues. Meanwhile, Salesforce+ will launch in September, timed with this year’s Dreamforce show.