With continued speculation swirling that Microsoft and Yahoo are going to find some way to forge an advertising/search deal, it's interesting to see how Microsoft is pitching its ad platform.
Mark Young, General Manager for marketing for Microsoft Advertising, spelled out Microsoft's strategy in an April 21 blog post:
"The Microsoft Advertising name and brand is relatively new and comes after a rapid period of change.
"Before, if you were buying digital advertising from Microsoft, you were traditionally buying from MSN. But now with the growth in services like Hotmail, Messenger and adCenter coupled with the acquisitions of Aquantive, Massive and Screentonic, and with Xbox Live becoming an amazing reach vehicle, it became necessary to combine all these great marketing assets under one brand."
That brand is Microsoft Advertising (with a capital "A"). The current tagline: "Connect with your target audience across multiple digital touchpoints."
Young hinted that Microsoft will have more to say about its planned strategy and tactics this summer (with or without Yahoo onboard as a partner). From the blog post:
"Those of you heading to Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival this summer or tuning into our community efforts at the event will see a new look and feel and tagline from Microsoft Advertising that reflects this commitment and brand promise.
"More importantly, you’ll hear what we’re doing to execute on that promise across Premium Display, Performance, Search and Platform."
Microsoft's "Kumo" Live Search update and rebranding launch date is rumored to be June. June just also happens to be the first time that former Yahoo search guru turned Softie, Qi Lu -- now President of Microsoft's Online Systems Business (OSB) -- will speak publicly as a Microsoft employee.
It will be interesting to see OSB's latest numbers (and most likely, losses) when Microsoft announces its FY 2009 third quarter earnings tomorrow, April 23. Company watchers also will be watching/listening closely to see whether Microsoft announces additional layoffs beyond the 5,000 already announced, as one Seattle-based analyst has speculated.
Microsoft officials had been hinting that many of the 2,000 to 3,000 new hires the company planned to make in calendar 2009 would be funneled into search and other OSB areas. I wonder if that's still the plan of record....