I love the David & Goliath stories where the underdog wins. But people forget that Salesforce was one of the first at Guerrilla Marketing with that fake protest over a decode ago.
Every year we have one of the “David’s” take advantage of the “Cloud Computing Event of the Year". And Dreamforce 2013 is no different with over 130,000 registered people.
This year, we had Zoho.com using 3 wheeled pedicabs and food-trucks showing the banner, “Take a test ride with Zoho, Salesforce doesn’t have to know” slogan.
Aravind Natarajan, Brand and Marketing Specialist, Zoho.com quoted:
“We knew there would be a lot of people at the event who would be our audience. As the layout of event was such that people had to walk a lot to reach different sessions, we hired pedicabs plastered with Zoho banners to take participants around. It was a very positive campaign and one done on minimal budget too.”
“We had food-trucks too. The concept was about taking our potential customers for a free ride. There was a lot going on at Dreamforce, even if we were able to make a small ripple in that huge ocean, it would be good.”
But the press was more interested in talking about the Walmart protesters during Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer keynote.
As well, there were several anti-Sean Penn activists outside of the Moscone center with “Sean Penn does not speak for Haiti” picketers
Guerrilla Marketing at Dreamforce 2011
In 2011, Microsoft launched a new Dynamics CRM Online promotional deal titled “Cloud CRM for Less” that targeted Salesforce, SAP and Oracle. The timing was impeccable as the promotion started the day before Dreamforce.
At the time, Microsoft was offering $150 in cash per user, per seat with a minimum of 50 signups and a maximum of 500 seats per customer until March of the following year. The deal was only open to customers in U.S. and Canada and only to those that purchase at minimum of 50 CRM Online licenses. Companies were required to sign a two-year licensing subscription deal for Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM Online in order to qualify for the cash reward. (Salesforce requires a one-year licensing subscription)
Microsoft CRM Online was priced at $44 per user per month and you did NOT have to be an existing customer of Salesforce, SAP and Oracle.
Guerrilla Marketing at Dreamforce 2010
In 2010, Salesforce bought out all the billboards in the downtown area, everything from newspaper kiosks to skyscraper ads, but they left one corner untouched, and that is at the coveted Moscone center, ironically site of Dreamforce!
Oracle took advantage of this with their standard Oracle #1 CRM red, black and white banner on the corner of the building.
But that wasn’t all.
Microsoft had people on Segways to spread the Microsoft Dynamics and their $200 per user incentives to switch from Salesforce.com or Oracle, for that matter. The slogan on the Segways had “I didn’t get Forced”. Microsoft also ran a full page ad in The Wall Street Journal. The timing was impeccable.
With Dreamforce 2010 in December, SugarCRM handing out mock Christmas Carol book and had a group of carolers singing carols with lines like “On the first day of Dreamforce, Marc Benioff gave to me: An overpriced subscription fee.” Their URL for this stunt was redirected to NightBeforeDreamforce.com [today, the link is dead]
They even had the classic red Salvation Army sign with the words “Salvation from Salesforce”. SugarCRM was offering free migration to anyone switching to from Salesforce.com to SugarCRM, plus guaranteeing 50% in savings.
Here is the video on YouTube. [link still active]
Guerrilla Marketing at Dreamforce 2009
In 2009, I was handed a book shortly after parking my car at the Moscone garage in the early morning on Day 1 of Dreamforce.
SugarCRM created 1000 copies of a book titled “Behind the Smoke Screen: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Still Manages to Sell 1999 Technology 10 years later”.
They also handed out 5,000 flyers.
Of course, it was a knock-off of Benioff’s book, “Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry”
It had the same blue cloud cover, and the same thickness, but it was full of blank pages, despite 6 very short chapters. And I mean very short.
Basically, the book slammed Salesforce for using proprietary code (SugarCRM is open source) and old Oracle database software (SugarCRM runs on MySQL, which ironically is now owned by Oracle).
Back then, you can even say that Salesforce runs on 1500 Dell Servers but I’ll leave that for Larry Ellison to comment but all that is changing with Salesforce partnership with Oracle (database and hardware) and HP (Superpods)