Over drinks in Las Vegas, someone asked me what Salesforce.com does incredibly well in their marketing. My first inclination was to answer, "what don't they do well?" But the question prompted a good discussion about what companies can do to ramp from nothing to superstar status in only a few short years. So what makes Salesforce's marketing team so successful?
1. They let customers do the selling for them.
This is an absolute act of bravery. How many companies these days put prospects in the same room with customers who are using their products (and give them lots of cocktails, no less!) and let them have an unfiltered discussion about what works and doesn't with the company.
2. They make customers into heroes.
If you've heard me speak before, you know that the simple message I deliver is "it's all about the customer." They don't care about you, your solution, even your products. They care about their pain and how you can solve their problems. That's on the business side. They are also people, and people love to be praised, cared for, made to feel special. And that's just what Salesforce.com does. They make customers the center of their campaigns, blowing up pictures of them into larger-than-life standups, and peppering their faces over collateral, CDs, and presentations. And they constantly bring customers into the conversations about product direction.
3. They stage magnificent in-person events.
While other companies are moving their events and tradeshows online, Salesforce.com continues to invest heavily in sponsoring local company seminars, birds-of-a-feather sessions, and user groups. And their Dreamforce event is a powerhouse. From the very beginning, SFDC has portrayed itself as a big, important company. The effect of this is to multiply the excitement and buzz around the company, and convert more customers into evangelists.