Blogger: Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director
Today, Microsoft announced that it will take over LinkedIn – the biggest acquisition yet by current Microsoft CEO Satja Nadella. What implications may this have for the exhibition industry?
Announcing the deal to Microsoft employees, Nadella said that “this deal brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network.” With reportedly 433 million professional profiles on the LinkedIn platform, the deal clearly shows Microsoft’s eagerness to add value to its cloud based Office offerings – and surely also to market this solution to LinkedIn’s customers.
Think about it: Our industry is about
delivering valuable face to face connections between people.
It also shows that the global players in the current digital world are focusing more and more on personal profile data and how it is used in a professional environment for their future growth– something that lies at the core of the exhibition industry’s value proposition. Think about it: Our industry is about delivering valuable face to face connections between people, and the highest value in any organiser’s vault is the knowledge and the data about which show visitors to connect to which exhibitors – on the show floor and increasingly beyond.
So far players like LinkedIn and regional competitors like Xing in Germany have been focusing on the possibilities to set up and maintain profiles, adding communication and collaboration tools to them. With LinkedIn now a part of one of the digital giants, that might change. As LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner writes:
“Imagine a world where we’re no longer looking up at Tech Titans such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, and wondering what it would be like to operate at their extraordinary scale — because we’re one of them… And imagine a world where a global economic downturn doesn’t limit our ability to execute…With today’s news, we won’t need to imagine any of it because it’s now our reality.”
As we’re still ourselves coming to grips with digitization and the
changing needs of exhibitors and show visitors, we’ll likely see new,
more integrated competition in the digital marketing space,
competing for the digital space where a lot of the growth
for exhibitions as market place providers lies.
For the exhibition industry, this will be a space to watch. As we’re still ourselves coming to grips with digitization and the changing needs of exhibitors and show visitors, we’ll likely see new, more integrated competition in the digital marketing space, competing for the digital space where a lot of the growth for exhibitions as market place providers lies. Reading through Mr. Nadella’s message, you find the prospects clearly stated: “(For Microsoft and LinkedIn), New opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.”