Free Assessment: How does your inbound marketing measure up?

Get Started

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.
Get Started

Free Assessment:

Microsoft and Adobe Announce Partnership: What Does This Mean for the Future of CRMs?

By Iris Hearn

Microsoft and Adobe Announce Partnership: What Does This Mean for the Future of CRMs?

Microsoft and Adobe recently announced that they’re joining forces to provide better insights for customers using Account-Based Marketing (ABM) tactics.

A new integration will leverage the marketing tools of Adobe’s Markeo Engage, and the sales tools of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 - and because Microsoft also owns LinkedIn, customers will be able to use the data collected in this integrated system to inform their LinkedIn ad targeting strategy.  

New Capabilities with the Partnership  

Upon announcing the partnership, Adobe stated that:

“This [partnership] will empower B2B marketers and sellers to easily identify, understand and engage B2B customer buying teams. This partnership will drive better orchestration, measurement and delivery of targeted content for a more personalized experience at both the individual and account level on key B2B platforms like LinkedIn.”

While an all-in-one marketing and sales platform is nothing new, the ability to connect with LinkedIn is the key differentiator here.

LinkedIn is a favorite channel for B2B marketers due to its huge user base of professionals and explicit focus on fostering business connections. Over the past year, LinkedIn has significantly beefed up its targeting abilities, adding matched audiences, interest targeting, and data from Microsoft’s Bing.

This new partnership significantly enhances these capabilities, allowing users to leverage data from Marketo Engage and Dynamics 365 Sales to gain deeper insights into the accounts they want to target on LinkedIn. This can inform their LinkedIn ad strategies, but it can also provide insights to enhance other aspects of their digital marketing efforts.

This can also help brands identify the best-fit accounts to pursue for their account-based LinkedIn strategies. Using Marketo’s Account Profiling tool, marketers can identify the best-fit companies to target out of LinkedIn’s wide audience base.

Taking Aim at Salesforce?

While this is great news for current Marketo and Microsoft Dynamic 365 customers, others feel that the capabilities offered by the integration with LinkedIn provide unfair competitive advantages to other marketing and sales platforms and their users.

Specifically, many feel that this is a direct aim at Salesforce, which is a common rival for both Microsoft and Adobe.

It appears that Salesforce recognized the potential for Microsoft to use its merger with LinkedIn as a way to gain an upper hand over other automation platforms when it openly opposed the acquisition back in 2016, stating:

“Microsoft's proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition. By gaining ownership of LinkedIn's unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage. Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinized by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union. We intend to work closely with regulators, lawmakers and other stakeholders to make the case that this merger is anticompetitive.”

Clearly, its attempts to block the merger was unsuccessful, but it still begs the question; is this truly an unfair advantage?

Well, yes and no.

I think that all platforms, Salesforce included, offer unique capabilities that can’t be matched anywhere else. This comes in the form of AI, integration partnerships, etc. So in that sense, I don’t think that this change is big enough for Adobe and Microsoft to have a monopoly over the entire CRM industry.

However, I do think that it has the potential to be a slippery slope for the future of cloud-based platforms.

In a way, it sets the standard that social media platforms can have exclusive ties to one CRM/Marketing platform over another.

For example, if the capabilities are expanded upon, and Microsoft/Adobe users have significantly more access to audience data and targeting capabilities than a regular user would have, or other exclusive assets like special ad formats, then it would be impossible for anyone who isn’t a customer to create ads on the same level.

The same thing could then be rolled out to Facebook, Google (which would also mean to YouTube), and so on.

It would definitely bring more competition, but would also significantly limit the ability for marketers to be effective across all their paid ad channels.

While we’re not there yet, it’s important for marketers to remain mindful of these types of partnerships and think about where they might be headed.

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Sales & Marketing Technology
Published on April 5, 2019

Recent Articles

INBOUND 2021 Recap: Takeaways, Speakers, and Lessons Learned
October 25, 2021 • 7 min read
Drift report on pandemic fallout reveals seismic shift in marketing strategy
September 9, 2021 • 3 min read
Google Shares New Tools to Audit Website User Experience
August 12, 2021 • 3 min read
Google: Website Content Quality More Important Than Quantity
August 10, 2021 • 3 min read
New HubSpot CMS Hub Starter Tier Released for Growing Businesses
August 6, 2021 • 4 min read
Why most marketing 'news' doesn't matter to inbound marketers
August 3, 2021 • 4 min read
Gartner: Slashed 2021 marketing budgets increases in-house ownership
July 30, 2021 • 6 min read
How to Optimize Videos On Your Business Website for Search
July 23, 2021 • 4 min read
Data: 'Funny' seniors imagery is not only demeaning, it's inaccurate
July 21, 2021 • 4 min read
Google: 'Here's how to prepare for the future private web'
July 16, 2021 • 4 min read
How Facebook's news feed algorithm works and prioritizes content
July 14, 2021 • 4 min read
Too many internal links in content can confuse Google about site structure
July 9, 2021 • 5 min read
Data: Facebook is No. 1 in revenue value for publishers, Twitter is a bust
July 7, 2021 • 4 min read
Google July 2021 core update rolling out over next 2 weeks
July 2, 2021 • 4 min read
Google punts third-party cookie ban to 2023 for 'responsible planning'
June 25, 2021 • 6 min read
Finally, Google page experience core update is rolling out
June 18, 2021 • 3 min read
Apple Mail privacy news spooks email marketers, newsletter creators
June 16, 2021 • 4 min read
Google June 2021 core update live, July core update coming
June 4, 2021 • 3 min read
You can boost LinkedIn posts and promote events, marketers
May 28, 2021 • 3 min read
Google's June page experience core update will be mobile first, then desktop
May 21, 2021 • 3 min read
Best times to post on social media in 2021 (new data)
May 19, 2021 • 4 min read
Deeper content engagement is up on desktop (new pandemic data)
May 7, 2021 • 4 min read
Google confirms demise of Q&A search feature, Question Hub lives on
April 26, 2021 • 1 min read
What is the new HubSpot Operations Hub?
April 23, 2021 • 2 min read
Big Google algorithm update moved to June with new performance report
April 21, 2021 • 4 min read