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The Marketing Secrets of Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, is a brilliant marketing exec. In this short, punchy interview in Forbes, he shares his secrets, which I found interesting. A sampling:

  • Always pitch the bigger picture. Salesforce.com was about "the end of software," not customer relationship management software or software as a service.
  • Before you start talking to the media, get ahold of your metaphor. This isn't a sound bite. It is a metaphor that is easy to understand. Salesforce.com's AppExchange is the eBay of enterprise software; AppStore is the iTunes. Early on, Salesforce.com was Amazon.com meets Siebel Systems.
  • But back then [the 90's], if you didn't throw a party, you were a no one. It was not a strategy. It is, though, an example of how tactics do dictate strategy. A successful tactic executed a number of different ways becomes a great strategy.
  • For our big event, Dreamforce, I'll get my messaging together over several months. I do dry runs in front of eight to 10 customers. I don't just get on stage and start shooting. I've edited my ideas again and again.
  • We realized that companies had gone entirely digital with media kits. So we decided to do the opposite. We started mailing our press kits and throwing in a bonus. The football, the potato head. Everyone loves chocolate, so we mailed out chocolate--and the good stuff, not junk. People open our press kits for free chocolate.
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