What’s Salesforce Doing At CES?

Later today, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff will be part of a keynote presentation at CES, along with representatives from AT&T and American Express. That might be a surprise to some, considering that the trade show usually has keynotes from folks like Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer or Intel’s Paul Otellini, who typically show off a range of new devices during those presentations.

So what’s Salesforce doing at a hardware trade show? I did an interview with Mike Lazerow, CMO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, earlier to get an idea of why CES has become important to the company. The short answer? Its customers are here.

“It’s not just the consumer electronics show, it’s a consumer show. It’s not just about the hardware, it’s about what’s flowing through it. It’s about the content, the services, and how people interact with it,” Lazerow told me. “Salesforce, as the customer company, this is where our customers are.”

I also talked to Lazerow about his role at Salesforce after his startup, Buddy Media, was acquired last year. What’s it like having a boss instead of being the boss?

“You want to work on stuff that matters, and work on stuff that has a big stage,” Lazerow said. “We had to make a decision, ‘Do we go it alone, or do we work with a company that has distribution resources?’… But when we sat down with Marc Benioff and the Salesforce team, it became apparent to us that our visions were aligned.”

We’ll have more coverage of the Benioff presentation later today. In the meantime, check out the interview with Lazerow above.