I’ve been to Las Vegas too many times to count and have always left with good stories, but I never thought that my best Vegas story would be work-related. That story of course is about last week’s marketing activity at VMworld. Definitely not your typical day at the office.
While I have enjoyed the headlines (My Favorite: Microsoft attacks VMware with Poker Chips), the speculation as to what transpired has been most amusing to me. Unfortunately, I have to disappoint all those Oliver-Stone-like conspiracy theorists out there. Sorry, but Las Vegas Police were never called to the scene. Nor were we escorted out. We didn’t even attract the eye of hotel staff or security. Sorry! More than anything, I am glad that the right tone came through and loved hearing that it was “Great to see”, “Relevant and unexpected”, and “Pretty hilarious”. I couldn’t help but eavesdrop when I saw attendees share the collateral with a friend or hear someone chatting about it during the conference.
The street team did a great job, and the marketing effort exceeded expectations (3,800 cards in <90 minutes, 25+ articles/blogs, 15,000+ visits and 175,000+ hits to www.VMwareCostsWayTooMuch.com in 7 days, and multiple tough questions on TCO to Paul Maritz). And, yes, that’s more visits to the site than attendees at VMworld! The site and the on-the-ground activity were part of our marketing/PR efforts at VMworld and designed to cut through the noise (over 200 press announcements in 3 days) with one, simple message: Microsoft offers a better TCO than VMware.
Well, all good things must come to an end. Like a developer who spins up a VM for app test/dev and deletes it when he/she is done, our VMworld test is now complete. It was successful, scrappy, and fun. On Monday, the site will go away, but we may leave a short message for those that stumble upon it later. While the site goes away, the facts still remain. TCO matters when it comes to IT purchases. We cited this TCO difference back in February, and now we have customers reiterating the same points in case studies and analysts taking note of it in their reports. It’s of course important to tell the vision for where the technology is going but that must also be grounded in the reality that customers face today.
One random thought to close, I wonder what VMware would say if we asked to pay for our VMworld Europe sponsorship with casino chips? I now have a stockpile of messenger bags that have served a chip-carrying purpose before…