Yesterday, it pulled another cheeky one. This time outside a competitor’s event – the Oracle/Gartner CRM breakfast briefing.
Led by the senior director of marketing, the Salesforce team positioned themselves at “strategic entry points” into Raffles Hotel and gave attendees to the breakfast a "Get me out of here!" flyer that contained:
1) Free taxi voucher from the event back to their office
2) Details of a Gartner Magic Quadrant report that shows salesforce.com rated higher than Oracle
3) A free 30-day trial of salesforce.com
According to Salesforce, the reaction from attendees “ranged from surprised to outright laughter” but the team decided to leave after an Oracle partner discovered them and got “a little frustrated”. The team estimated they managed to cover 30% to 50% of the attendees.
Definitely an arresting idea – it’s refreshing, it got the attention of the key people it wanted to reach, it made its point loud and clear. No doubt if Salesforce made a large enough impact interested parties at the event would pose the question to Oracle to find out what the difference between the two offerings were and make their own educated decision on what to buy – it’s what customers should be asking anyway, nothing wrong with that.
But you know what? I think it’s fun companies can have a laugh together with the competition and foster a healthy competitive environment. It would be great to see an Oracle executive grabbing his mid-section and laughing uncontrollably at the Long Bar after the event over a beer with a Salesforce chief.
I imagine they’d be laughing about how the Salesforce team pulled a really slick one on Oracle, but then again they may also be chuckling about the successful Gorilla initiative, so says the Salesforce marketing director.