At an exclusive lunch during Cannes Lions, Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, told ZenithOptimedia leaders and clients that Yahoo! has a clear mission focused on the daily habits of consumers, bringing them both inspiration and entertainment.
Speaking on the two-year anniversary of being offered the top role at Yahoo, Marissa said that this mission is seeing Yahoo! “re-imagine” its product portfolio – for example the launch of digital magazines – and effect a transition of the business to mobile. Marissa said that over the past 18 months, Yahoo! has gone from having just a handful people dedicated to mobile to having over 500 specialists. Mobile is also one of four key pillars for the future of Yahoo!, the other three being social, native and video.
Talking in conversation with Belinda Rowe, Global Managing Partner and Chairman UK, ZenithOptimedia, Marissa told guests that as well as dramatically increasing the number of digital specialists, she has also boosted the number of engineers from 40 to 500.
“Yahoo! needed to reinvent itself, and reinvention is sometimes a little scary”, said Marissa. “We needed a paradigm shift – a paradigm shift around mobile. We’ve brought people across from other teams, hired people and created a central mobile team”. She said that as part of that change, Yahoo! has reinvented its approach to advertising, getting rid of silos and creating a unified approach across all areas of digital.
Belinda questioned Marissa about Yahoo’s acquisition strategy, noting that the company had acquired 40 companies since she had joined as CEO. “Our goal in 2013 was to buy a company every two weeks and by the end of the year, we had bought 31,” said Marissa. “Talent acquisitions were key for us – we were really looking to get good tech people.” Marissa highlighted two key acquisitions Summly and Tumblr: “There were four key reasons why we bought Tumblr: “Content, technology, tapping into Yahoo’s demographic, and working with brands.”
At the end of the interview, Marissa acknowledged that more consumer marketing might be needed in order for consumers to better understand the new Yahoo!, but she said the company had a very strong and defined culture, part of which is a “culture of content creation”.