Marketing the cloud. Salesforce's Benioff wins one over Microsoft.
By Cari Tuna
Tech companies often aim guerilla marketing at their rivals’ events. Salesforce.com’s big confab this week proved no exception, but the company managed to twist at least one attack back on the attacker.
Outside the Moscone Center in San Francisco, people with blue suits and blue umbrellas rode around on Segways carrying an advertisement from Microsoft, which markets what the industry calls cloud-based software in competition with Salesforce’s. The ad showed a gray-haired man–symbolizing a corporate technology buyer, presumably–said to have favored a Microsoft offering because it works the way he does.
“I didn’t get forced,” the ad’s headline read, in a play on Salesforce’s name.
But Microsoft’s stunt backfired Wednesday morning when Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff, during a keynote speech, brought the man who appeared in the ad on stage.
Benioff feigned an apology to the fake customer and begged him to shift to Salesforce’s technology, which he eventually agreed to do. The counter-stunt elicited cheers and a partial standing ovation from the crowd of thousands of Salesforce customers and partners.