Microsoft and Salesforce don’t exactly love each other.
Founded in 1999 by former Oracle executives, Salesforce is a very successful cloud based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) company.
There’s no love lost between them and Microsoft though and earlier this year Microsoft sued Salesforce claiming it had infringed a number of patents.
This week Salesforce held their annual conference in San Francisco with an estimated 20,000 people attending.
Microsoft couldn’t resist the temptation to undertake a bit of guerrilla marketing at the event (guerrilla or ambush marketing is where companies that are not officially at an event try to get their message across in an “unofficial way”).
The Segway’s had a prominent advert on the front encouraging people to sign up for Microsoft’s own CRM product, Microsoft Dynamics.
The text on the advert on the front of the Segway’s read “I didn’t get Forced! I got a cloud-based CRM solution that works the way I do.”
So how did Salesforce react?
In what can only be a classic way to react to guerrilla marketing, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce nicely turned the tables on Microsoft.
Salesforce tracked down “Bernard”, the actor whose face was on the Microsoft adverts on the front of the Segways. During Mr Benioff’s key note speech at the conference Bernard was invited onto the stage and asked if he would “come back” to Salesforce.
To great cheers from the audience he said that he would be very happy to return.
Mr Benioff seemed rather relaxed about the attempt by Microsoft to hijack the conference with their guerrilla marketing tactics. The video below captures the moment when he was on stage at last week’s conference with Will.I.am of the Black Eyed Peas.
He didn’t look exactly worried during his dancing and he certainly didn’t look as worried as his personal physician probably looked.