Microsoft + LinkedIn = better B2B marketing?

June 17, 2016

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn has split marketers when it comes to assessing the future of the social network. Some point to Microsoft’s chequered past with acquisitions, such as its $7bn takeover of Nokia. Others, meanwhile, suggest that Microsoft has learned from such failings and will not repeat mistakes of the past.

We’ve adopted the positive outlook for the time being and chosen to look at the ways that LinkedIn and the B2B marketing landscape in general could improve following Microsoft’s input…

1. Outlook Sponsored Promotions

The working world still revolves around email, which is why Gmail Sponsored Promotions have proved so popular with B2B marketers as it gives them the ability to target business users based on their Gmail account activity. Could we be about to see ‘Outlook Sponsored Promotions’, giving us a means to target those firms still using Microsoft’s email offering?

2. Reach Microsoft users anywhere

It’s not only Outlook users that might be reachable via sponsored updates. Microsoft suggests that it will give B2B marketers the opportunity to engage and influence Office 365 and Skype users – two of the most-used tools in business. Discussing the acquisition, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, said: “[New opportunities include] giving Sponsored Content customers the ability to reach Microsoft users anywhere across the Microsoft ecosystem, unlocking significant untapped inventory.”

3. Enhanced lead databases

If your business uses Microsoft Dynamics, you might be able to look forward to the prospect of enhancing your lead database with information from LinkedIn. Weiner says the merging of the two platforms – Sales Navigator and Dynamics – can “redefine social selling”. It could also mean that the lookalike audiences – people who are similar to your current customers – from the LinkedIn platform are presented based on actual social graphic and firmographic information from the two systems, as opposed to just one.

Weiner adds that the merger will realise “LinkedIn’s full potential to truly change the way the world works”, with the two partners to “innovate on solutions within the enterprise that are ripest for disruption, e.g. the corporate directory, company news dissemination, collaboration, productivity tools, distribution of business intelligence and employee voice.”

Maybe Weiner staying on as CEO is reason enough to give us all hope that LinkedIn will get better from a B2B marketing perspective, rather than worse.

Dan Vivian - Business Development & Marketing Director