MARKETING EXCELLENCE was founded by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff in 1999. Benioff believed software should be free of troublesome installations, maintenance issues, and continuous upgrades. His vision was “to make soft­ware easier to purchase, simpler to use, and more demo­cratic.” With that in mind, Benioff led a start-up company called that offered software-as-a-service (SaaS), or cloud computing.

SaaS differs from old-school software technology because companies pay for the product per use each month, much like a utility bill. uses the Internet or “cloud” to host its customer relationship man­agement (CRM) applications and to deliver them directly to customers, who can access the software from any device just by logging on to a Web site. They don’t have to invest in servers or software licensing, install the soft­ware, or store the data themselves. With this innovative concept, turned the software industry upside down and created an entirely new multibillion- dollar industry.

From the start, wanted its products to be everything traditional software wasn’t. Its first prod­uct had an extremely user-friendly sales interface that organized contacts, accounts, and opportunities. The company welcomed customer feedback, and as a result it could develop new features to fit users’ needs. Today, The Sales Cloud is’s key product. It lets companies track leads, change forecasts, collaborate with colleagues, and access real-time customer informa­tion, improving productivity and closing more sales. next launched The Service Cloud, a CRM solution that changed the way companies connect with their customers. This product provides companies with a call-center view of each customer and the abil­ity to track each case on an individual basis. Users can communicate with customers through every media chan­nel, escalate complaints, and plug into conversations on social networking sites, ultimately resulting in better over­all customer service.

From 2010 to 2012, acquired 19 companies in order to expand its product offerings. In 2011, it purchased Radian6, which allowed it to launch The Marketing Cloud, with which customers can listen to and engage in conversations taking place on public social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. In addition, The Marketing Cloud enables companies to monitor their brand and products across the Internet and analyze their sales leads. transitioned into the platform-as-a- service or PaaS category with the launch of PaaS provides customers with tools to build their own applications rather than supplying the application already built. For example, a university might develop an appli­cation for its student body that includes campus maps, bus routes, and school events, while a clothing store can customize sale discounts and product offerings for each customer based on previous purchase patterns. By 2014, more than 4 million customers had created their own applications using the platform.

A first mover, is also the market leader with 14 percent market share. The company spends 7 percent of revenues on research and develop­ment and an astonishing 53 percent on marketing to help generate leads and new customers. Cloud computing has become a competitive, rapidly evolving industry, inhabited by big players like Oracle, IBM, and Workday as well as niche companies that focus on specific industries such as health care and hospitality.

Over the years, has won numerous awards for its products and services. Forbes ranked it the most innovative company in the world from 2011 to 2014. With $3 billion in sales, it has expanded into 16 dif­ferent languages and has more than 100,000 customers and more than 2.1 million subscribers.

Source: Kotler Philip T., Keller Kevin Lane (2015), Marketing Management, Pearson; 15th Edition.


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