Microsoft, last week dubbed the most valuable B2B brand in the world, has bought LinkedIn for $26 billion USD.

It’s a shrewd move for Microsoft, who will use the alliance to challenge Salesforce as the home of customer intelligence.

For busy professionals, a LinkedIn profile is more useful than an email. Microsoft will take ownership of internal and external interfaces for professionals, and can start selling Microsoft solutions to the millions of salespeople, marketers and HR teams that utilise the platform.

The move underscores the increasing importance of identity to B2B marketers. While consumer marketing has been utilising our social graphs for a number of years, businesses have been somewhat slower to fold this layer into their marketing mix. But the tide is turning, and customer identity management is extending beyond the strictly transactional to the social.

Here are four reasons we think getting tighter with identity is a smart play:

1. It’s the ultimate trigger

Identity is the ultimate intrinsic motivator. It drives us in every scenario – to attain wisdom, status, enlightenment, affection or self-actualisation.

With a reliable window into identity, a business can dig deep into what motivates customers and prospects long-term, and isolate which tactics will increase and automate intrinsic motivation.

2. It calibrates context

Understanding your customer’s identity in different contexts signals respect and builds trust. You’re bothering to know their whole self in their self-selected communities.

An identity pillar also increases the odds of the conversation you have with them will help not hinder because you understand the nuance of the interaction. Businesses are people first, and those people have numerous identities. Which are you serving in any given moment?

3. It’s real-time

Customer personas and journeys may be useful patterns that help us orientate our marketing, but they’ll never be as fluid as the humans behind them. Just like our personal lives, our professional lives are accelerating and move moment-to-moment.

Plugging into a holistic social identity for your customer holds the promise of real-time insights that expose immediate opportunities and competitive challenges you can act upon.

4. It’s future-proofing

As Generation Z starts to own decision making in B2B, the defining role social and digital identity plays in their lives needs to follow them to the virtual office.

Additional disruptions to the future of work and business models mean that the only constant, other than change, will be the identity pillars that stretch across our evolving professional lives.

How are you managing identity in your B2B marketing? If you need help, drop us a line!

Why identity matters for B2B marketing

Shawn Low
Shawn has more than 15 years of content and marketing experience, working both client- and agency-sides. His diverse career has seen him work across both the B2C and B2B segments, as well as with start-ups. As Head of Content and Social for Green Hat, Shawn will drive effective content in order to meet strategic, commercial and business needs.