The biggest news in tech also happens to be one of the biggest business news stories in recent years: last Monday, Microsoft announced a deal to acquire LinkedIn to the tune of $26.2 billion. At $196 cash per share, the purchase significantly overpays for the company by 50 percent of its stock value.
So what does Microsoft intend to do with LinkedIn? Not a whole lot at first, according to sources like the Industry Focus: Tech podcast. The deal is essentially an acquisition; Microsoft will keep LinkedIn operating sectioned-off and allow their current CEO to remain in place. Instead of demolishing and rebuilding what amounts to a successful endeavor — by every measure except recent profits, at least — Microsoft will likely instead be the one experiencing dramatic changes.
As of now, Microsoft lacks influence in the realm of user data. Unlike Facebook, they have fewer metrics for factors such as audience value, market movement predictions and so on. With 143 million LinkedIn users, Microsoft suddenly gets more direct access to user data as well as a vector to get their product in front of people who aren’t just writing something down or making a spreadsheet.
Here’s what all that power, data and influence could mean.
InMail Becomes Real Mail
The ability for LinkedIn to connect two people is fairly impressive. You can literally see the faces of the people who work at companies you admire, you aspire to work for or wish to do business with. From there, you can drop them a line and hope they answer.
Now imagine if Outlook had this same ability to find people in the business world you really wanted to talk to. For email marketing, this feature would have huge implications. Organically grown lists of gleaming prospects could be lined up instantly, allowing email automation programs (or one really busy intern) to quickly cobble together lists of hot leads.
Suddenly, Microsoft has a sexy product to sell to marketers, a phrase that likely hasn’t been uttered since 1995.
LinkedIn Facilitates Actual Productivity
LinkedIn’s networking mishmash of content, people and sporadic “Bob has endorsed you for Public Speaking” notifications usually has surprisingly little to do with work. With the Microsoft-infusion, it actually could.
“Just imagine if that newsfeed talked to your Outlook calendar, if it knew all the meetings you were going to have in the next month, the customers you’d see,” gushes NPR’s Aarti Shahani. The useful features of Outlook, a tool where you can gain complete control over what you see, who you see and how it’s presented, can combine beautifully with LinkedIn, the perfect system to “autocomplete” the entries you want in them.
Together, a ridiculously powerful cloud platform could be built, one that may even meld with CRM tools a la Salesforce to become something even greater.
Other Potential Boons
Microsoft Word posts that auto-upload to LinkedIn using helpful templates. Skype (owned by Microsoft) calls placed through LinkedIn profiles rather than awkward handle searches. Cloud-based Microsoft Office Suite tools including auto-populated user-generated content from LinkedIn posts. Countries beset by forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit much. But in short, if the transaction goes through, we just might see Microsoft shoot off into a new, rather unpredictable direction. Luckily for businesses, this direction might just so happen to make digital marketing tasks easier.
If you need guidance moving forward on how to adjust to social media marketing changes in light of the likely-to-go-through deal, EverSpark Interactive can be there. From social media marketing to prospecting to enhancing productivity of your marketing goals, we can help you do it all. Visit our Atlanta digital marketing services page to learn more.