Dreamforce, which took place last week in San Francisco, was one of the biggest cloud computing events of the year. With over 130,000 registered customers, Dreamforce naturally attracts a lot of the people that we want to talk to.
There’s only a small, itsy bitsy problem… the event is produced by Salesforce.com, and as our competitor, they of course don’t want us to be anywhere close to their customers.
So how did we get around it? Well…
1) We helped Salesforce.com customers get around their own event with free rides.
Dreamforce happens throughout several blocks in the heart of San Francisco. Going from one venue to the next takes a bit of walking. Traffic is so bad (some streets are closed) so driving is not an option. We gave Salesforce customers free pedicab rides to whatever their destination was – their next session, party or their hotel. Customers were really appreciative of this little service.
You’re out all day long in this event so you’re bound to get hungry at some point. Especially in the late afternoon as you’re walking to hear more people speak before you get to your dinner. We gave Salesforce.com customers free, warm food to help them keep going with their agenda.
Go ahead, call the number. Of course we’re not sexists, so we made a napkin and a number for women, with a different number, 415-423-0664.
3) We leveraged Social Media to greatly amplify the message
We got many good conversations with the people that took advantage of our services. But if we had stopped there, we would not have gotten very far with this. Instead, we spread this through social media.
— Zoho (@zoho) November 19, 2013
The messaging through our campaign gently invited customers to thank us on Twitter for all the help, and many of them did, for example:
As you can expect, we also ran promoted tweets telling the story of what we were doing.
Stats from Twitter are overwhelming… they tell us that our promoted tweets got a total of ˜10,300 clicks, while the next brand that was promoting tweets around Dreamforce got a total of ˜3,000 responses. The engagement rate we saw in Twitter was 4.65% and 6.51% (we ran two different campaigns). According to Twitter, the engagement rate that other B2B brands saw around Dreamforce was between 1.20% and 1.46%. Those number speak volumes about the results of this effort and how much customers liked this approach.
Why it worked
People on Twitter and Facebook were quick to label this a great guerrilla marketing effort. And I can see why. But at the same time, guerrilla has the connotation of being disruptive… and that’s where I disagree. We were not disruptive to Salesforce’s customers, in fact, quite the opposite – we helped them. We saw some Salesforce employees taking free rides from us and taking our food. Some of them were hesitant at first, but we quickly encouraged them to it – don’t worry guys, it’ll stay between us :) We had a lot of fun planning and executing this, but, most importantly, customers enjoyed it as well.