PDA: Q&A Craig Erlich

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Detroit and Nashville, George P. Johnson Experience Marketing

DB: Where are you?

CE: In San Francisco, at the SalesForce.com Dreamforce conference. It’s an annual gathering of thought leaders, industry pioneers, and creative people. There are 170,000 attendees who gather for four days of idea-sharing, networking, and fun.

DB: What’s the big draw?

CE: We create brand experiences for our clients, so to come to the conference reaffirms for us the power of face-to-face meetings. It also reaffirms what we believe as a company: Every time you touch a client, a developer, or other people in a given ecosystem, you have to make every moment matter. The power of live experiences is really amazing in adding value to a given brand, or several brands.

DB: What’s it like there?

CE: From the moment you walk outside your hotel, there are 16,000 docents to help with anything you need. That’s incredibly impressive. You’re constantly meeting people inside and outside your field of work, whether at a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner, or an evening event. For example, the Foo Fighters performed the night before. A lot of the streets are closed down and the organizers create park-like setting for networking and learning experiences. We also learn a lot about SalesForce.com — where they’re going, and how the technology is changing. They just introduced a new platform called Lightning, and we’re learning how they work with partners like Microsoft on the latest technology.

DB: How is the acquisition going?

CE: Our company (pulse220) was acquired by George P. Johnson (in October), and I’m heading up the Detroit and Nashville markets. They’re in some 30 markets and have 1,300 employees, so there’s great opportunity for everyone. We couldn’t be happier. db