Wow, the change in management at Yahoo continues. It makes you wonder what they are thinking when it comes to who is responsible for the problems that ails them
The NY Times article called Yahoo's New President Oversees a Shakeup offered some insights into the new team, but the two that were much more informative were found over at BoomTown called Hey Kids! Let's Put On a Yahoo Reorg and More Reorg Fun: Sue Decker's Entire Memo to Yahoo. If you are short on time just focus on the BoomTown posts because Kara really nails it and the memo she posted is just plain business reorg speak; the kind I used to read at AT&T that would make you ask your boss "now, who do we report to?" The biggest news of course was that Greg Coleman is leaving which means another Yahoo Exec is out the door. BTW - Kara added another post about translating Sue Decker's company wide memo.
I have to be blunt, I just don't get the big changes on the sales side except of course that someone needs to take the blame so it might as well be the sales team. I've always believed and still believe based on my experience that the Yahoo Sales and Account team is top notch. The problem isn't that they don't know how to sell, it is probably the product they are trying to sell and a lot of that has to do with perception in the marketplace.
Let's say you are putting a marketing plan together to sell, oh I don't know, mutual funds to consumers. You don't have much money but have about $100K for a month. What do you do?
- First stop is search, right? And you are going to go where? Google. Why? Well they have 55% or so in search share. Is that the Yahoo Sales team's fault? No. That's due to other Yahoo Executives who sat around and made no updates to the Overture platform and watched Google take over. Right now if you are like me, you see Google dominating, MSN converting with little traffic, and Yahoo somewhere in between.
- So when you sit down with Google and tell them you have like $30K to spend in a month you get some attention from their Finance sales team, which by the way, happens to be awesome (hi Chris Rippey). Google will provide you with plenty of support for your PPC campaign, but also upsell you on using their content network to run banner/video ads, radio ads, and of course hand selecting sites based on your target market. Google will tell you that you can reach like 80% of the internet through them. Throw in Google analytics and an easy to use platform, and bang you start thinking about sending over $50K to them.
- Next, you call Yahoo's Finance team and as you know from reading my posts, they are the prime online real estate for this target market. That sales team is also pretty awesome (hi Ann Reilly) and you get a great plan for reaching your customers with behavioral targeting unmatched as well as content; however, that is all within Yahoo's portal. Before you forget, they also bring in their search team but now you have to balance how much you are spending there versus Google; my guess is about 25%.
- When you dig a little deeper, you realize that unlike Google you can't run display or video ads through Yahoo's content network and also unlike Google you have no clue where your ads are running unless you pay to use a 3rd party bid management solution. Is that the Yahoo sales team's fault? Don't you think it would be easier to compete with Google if they matched the creative and visibility?
- Finally you want to take advantage of all of that social marketing activity, but you don't know where to go. So you call Google and Yahoo. What you find out via Google is that you can use their content network to run ads on specific blogs and Yahoo goes over Yahoo Groups which unfortunately for you, you've never even seen a post there so you have no clue what it is about. Yahoo does have Yahoo Answers which is an awesome product and one you really want to take advantage of.
For me Yahoo's problems are not around sales/the sales team but in unique product offerings and support tools. Yahoo Finance, News, Answers, and their home page are truly great products and user experiences that can easily be sold. Google will tell you that you don't need to go anywhere else because they can provide everything to you that you need for your online campaign. Not only that, it is easy to use and very cost effective.
When you dig a little deeper, Google's strategy to use their content network and search results to deliver actions for you that are for the most part transparent is a huge problem for Yahoo. For little money per day and a couple of banner ads that you can pay an intern to build, you can have ads running on major sites with simple tools that gives you the visibility you need to evaluate your campaign. That's a product problem for Yahoo that hampers sales, not the other way around.