MSN – Engine Roundtable – 360i Summit

Stacey Harris, MSN’s Agency Marketing Manager, rounded out
the big three presentations by discussing Microsoft’s advertising vision.

“When I think of Microsoft, I think of Outlook, I think of
Internet Explorer, I think of my computer crashing… but I don’t think of
advertising.” Starting off with honesty helped – refreshingly disarming. Her
top level take is that Microsoft does have an audience, one that advertisers
want to connect with, so now it’s just bridging that gap.

That sounds like a no-brainer the way she lays it out,
though that’s a far cry from Microsoft’s stance in the previous decade. In the
‘olden days,’ Microsoft had suites of products, which consumers either bought
or found pre-installed on their computers. It was all sales and distribution
deals. If Microsoft had 500 million users (my own made-up number, not
Stacey’s), it didn’t care about monetizing them beyond upselling. Advertising
only became a factor recently.

Stacey switched gears and got into Microsoft adCenter Labs – Great set of research tools. I only recently took a dive
into them, and you’ll find quite a few gems to pepper into research reports and
sales presentations, and you might even gain some new insight into consumer
behavior and trends affecting your business.

Lastly, she plugged, namely its personalized
homepage and Windows Live Search.