Microsoft’s LinkedIn integration, AI and what it means for marketers
Columnist Justin Freid takes a look at how Microsoft's increasing LinkedIn integration, along with advancements in artificial intelligence, will impact your marketing campaigns.
The recent Microsoft Ignite event in September told us a lot about the direction technology is going — and specifically how it will impact marketers.
Microsoft emphasized two trends that will have a significant effect on marketers. The first is an effort to make artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning available to the masses. The second is heavier integration between Microsoft and LinkedIn.
What do both of these mean for us? We’re getting closer to the holy grail of closed loop marketing, one tech innovation at a time.
AI and machine learning more readily available to business
We have all read and heard about chatbots, AI and machine learning over the past two years. As technology advances, these capabilities are becoming more readily available to the average business person.
Looking toward another piece of technology, virtual reality (VR), you can see a potential predictor of how AI, chatbots and machine learning will be part of our everyday lives.
The mobile phone industry helped VR to become mainstream. Growth in the mobile industry helped lower the costs of what was an expensive technology. With the drop in cost for this technology, the VR experience soon became available through mobile devices and headsets.
A similar story can be told related to machine learning. As technology advanced, computers were able to make computations faster, and what was once considered a “super computer” now lives within your laptop. This has led to AI interfaces, such as chatbots, becoming part of our lives.
With its Azure product, Microsoft is taking a big step forward in helping businesses harness this technology. As Microsoft mentioned at the Ignite event, its goal is to support businesses in the areas of customer service and sales support. Through its Dynamics 365 AI solution, which is being tested with companies such as HP and Macy’s, AI is being used to help customers get the products and services they need.
Through the use of Natural Language Processing, or NLP, online users’ inputs are analyzed and a response delivered. These chatbots or other versions of AI continuously learn, leading to increasingly more efficient experiences.
Microsoft also has plans to integrate with existing AI interfaces on Facebook Messenger and platforms. Looking even farther down the development path, voice-activated interactions through the likes of Cortana can be viewed as potential integrations.
For marketers, there is potential for Microsoft’s AI solutions to be a core recommendation for our clients. Instead of sending search or social traffic to a stagnant web page, we’ll be able to deliver users to an interactive experience, helping them get the information they need to take action.
Enhanced integration between LinkedIn and Microsoft
Many marketers were excited when Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, and based on what Microsoft said at Ignite, there looks to be some useful integration finally coming our way.
It looks as if the immediate integration points will bring data together to support sales teams. Linking Microsoft Graph and LinkedIn Graph together will provide additional insights into current and prospective clients.
One of the interesting updates for digital marketers is that LinkedIn InMails will now be more heavily integrated within Dynamics 365, making it more seamless to send InMails, as well as to attach the touch points to relationship insights.
Hopefully, this is just the first step toward connecting other advertising insights such as exposures and engagements back to the individual sales targets.
There’s no doubt LinkedIn is full of business professionals who make buying decisions primary targets for many marketers. And with better integration between Bing Ads and LinkedIn, the more efficient your marketing campaigns will become.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.