Industry advice to new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer: Go with mobile-first
By Staff reports
July 18, 2012
New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer faces a tough challenge in trying to turn around the digital company’s fortunes and is likely to focus on building a stronger mobile presence as one way to accomplish this goal. She has not much choice -- or time.
Ms. Mayer comes from Google, where she most recently oversaw the company’s location and local services, including Google Maps, thus putting her in direct touch with the mobile market. Her hiring is considered to be something of coup for Yahoo, whose fortunes have faded with the growing popularity of mobile and social media.
Once the leader in the digital space, Yahoo has been struggling to find its way of late, in part because of the fact that consumers are increasingly engaging in many digital activities from search to checking email via mobile devices and not laptops or desktop computers.
It is clear that leading Yahoo is not always an easy job. The company went through three CEOs in three years, the most recent one, Scott Thompson, lasting just a few months before a controversy over the accuracy of his resume forced him out.
Given the challenges that Ms. Mayer faces, Mobile Marketer queried CEOs from many leading mobile firms to ask how they would advise the new leader of Yahoo to proceed. Here is what they had to say.
Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile, Toronto
My advice for Marissa would be to not shy away from launching mobile-first products.
In our experience, designing for the big Web is different than designing for a four-inch touch-device.
Many products from the big Web companies - Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Microsoft - were designed first for a larger experience and then retro-fitted for a small screen.
Mobile is where content is being consumed and will continue to be for a long period, and represents probably the biggest opportunity for Yahoo.
Sasha Savic , CEO of MediaCom USA, New York
My advice: Make sure that you have enough time to eat , sleep and think. Everyday!
Nick Balletta, CEO of TalkPoint, New York
With Marissa Mayer as CEO, Yahoo has a great opportunity to re-approach the mobile market.
Although it may take time to grow this area of the company, Yahoo needs to utilize its available talent and resources to make immediate mobile strides, while also committing to long-term mobile goals.
If Ms. Mayer focuses on providing quality content, scaling steadily and working collaboratively with its trusted news partners like CNBC and ABC, Yahoo is poised to better infiltrate the mobile arena and create a game-changing methodology.
Sophie Vu, senior director of marketing at Kony, Orlando, FL
For a major consumer brand like Yahoo, the key to unlocking success is adopting a mobile-first approach, and making sure that you're firing on every mobile cylinder.
You have to have the foundation of a solid multichannel strategy in order to get in front of millions of consumers, while also being flexible enough to act on new technologies.
My advice would be to form a mobile center of excellence from day one, empowering that team to drive and unite strategy across all communications - from desktop to mobile.
Paran Johar, chief marketing officer of Jumptap, Los Angeles
Consumers are walking away from the PC and toward smartphones and tablets as their primary access point for the Internet.
Yahoo should take that behavior as a motive for shifting Yahoo’s effort from Web to mobile-first as Google has publicly stated they’re doing.
If Yahoo begins to create for mobile first, it will raise its profile to be parallel with consumer media consumption and behavior and reestablish themselves in the eyes of Madison Avenue and the consumer.
Harry Kargman, CEO of Kargo, New York
Figure out who you are and what you stand for and make sure that mobile is part of the core of that message.
Understand that within two years, 50 percent of Yahoo's traffic will come from mobile, so transform the company today.
Offer something different and do not be afraid to partner with companies innovating in the mobile space – Yahoo is behind today and needs to part of the ecosystem. The only way to do that is to partner, as they cannot do it alone.
The challenge today is that there is a transformation in the marketplace where users are consuming content and media – migrating from computers to mobile devices.
No longer is mobile a nice extension of their traditional business but it is at the core of their business – as their business transforms.
Paul Palmieri, CEO of Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD
Congratulations to Marissa Mayer on her new role as CEO of Yahoo. Yahoo's board had two fantastic choices.
It is great to see an incredibly talented leader appointed if it was not to be Ross. I want to thank Ross for his leadership in the industry and congratulate Marissa.
This hiring is great news for everyone in the technology industry. Yahoo has both a big opportunity in mobile and a long way to go to capture it. We wish Yahoo the best of success in an exciting time for media.
Michael Burke, cofounder/president of adtivity at appsssavvy, New York
As a large publisher, with technology and a solid media sales team, it's Yahoo's opportunity to make mobile advertising great.
No one needs more mobile inventory, nor do we need mobile banners.
We need scalable innovation that brings dollars to mobile.
Chia Chen, senior vice president and mobile practice lead at Digitas, New York
Leverage Yahoo's strengths in content and its nifty IntoNow technology, which identifies the TV program based on sound, to own the multiscreen content-consumption/social networking experience.
It should immediately do a deal with Twitter so that Twitter can integrate IntoNow into the Twitter clients for devices and Yahoo can integrate relevant content.
That way, Yahoo becomes relevant to nearly every single TV ad buy of any size.
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