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LinkedIn Sees Marketing Solutions as $1 Billion Business

LinkedIn Sees Marketing Solutions
LinkedIn Corp. is working to make a $1 billion business out of its marketing solutions product by 2017, propelled by its planned acquisition of Bizo Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

LinkedIn Corp. is working to make a $1 billion business out of its marketing solutions product by 2017, propelled by its planned acquisition of Bizo Inc.

LinkedIn, which said last month that it would acquire business-marketing startup Bizo for about $175 million, detailed its expansion plans in an internal document obtained yesterday by Bloomberg News. Bizo makes tools to help marketers pitch their potential customers. The acquisition hasn’t closed.

The professional social-networking service, which is working to ramp up revenue growth, estimates that there’s a $50 billion opportunity to sell tools that help companies market to other firms, according to the document. LinkedIn is beefing up offerings that help businesses find customers and build relationships through e-mails, advertising and sharing content. Revenue from marketing solutions in the second quarter was $106 million, up 44 percent from the prior year.

“In order to achieve this vision and become a $1 billion business, we are expanding beyond our current media and content marketing products,” LinkedIn said in the document. “Our long-term vision is to build an integrated marketing and sales platform that provides a simple and effective way to reach audiences, nurture prospects and acquire customers.”

Fenot Tekle, a spokeswoman at Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn, declined to comment on the document.

Shedding Pieces

LinkedIn said in the document that it’s building a broad range of tools to help businesses with their marketing, even as competitors are focused on narrower solutions. The company also plans to discontinue Bizo’s data solutions unit, which identifies and tracks sales prospects, shortly after the transaction closes, according to the document. LinkedIn is primarily interested in Bizo’s products that target business customers by paying to promote content they might be interested in, or by displaying advertising.

Earlier this month, LinkedIn forecast third-quarter revenue that topped estimates as Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner branches out from recruiting and subscriptions, including introducing a website in China. The company is projected to make $2.17 billion in revenue this year, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, up from $1.53 billion in 2013.

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