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Liveblogging The Yahoo “It’s You” Press Conference
Along with a new search format, Yahoo has rolled out a new “It’s You” marketing push with clever slogans like “The Internet Is Under New Management, Yours.” The company is holding a press conference shortly, and I’m here liveblogging it. Let’s do this.
We’re waiting. So are you.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz up, welcoming people. Wishing it were fashion week but not advertising week here (gets laughs).
Yahoo really is committed to be the center of people’s lives online. Like 600 million people come each month (or was that day?). It’s a lot, get it.
They want to be entertained, informed. … you can hear that’s exactly how we’re positioning the company.
We’re pleased we can start today to talk about the new campaign.
Elisa Steel CMO up. Yahoo sees two pieces, “My World” & “The World.”
Bringing the best of the web in one place (that’s Yahoo) and not necessarily just Yahoo’s own info.
“that’s where the yodal is” Yahoo says they call it, where sorry buzzword buzzword value of consumers and intersecting with them.
Only Yahoo can be associated with combining The World and My World. Keep things meaningful and memorable. Tough thing to get that message to a broad audience. You, you, you, you (I feel like I’m in a Blues Brothers song every time Yahoo does this you you thing).
Showing the “It’s You” motto. Well, “I’s Y!ou” because Yahoo hasn’t lost that stupid exclamation mark. That would have been a campaign. Kill the exclamation mark.
It’s about every you around the globe. Every you in every country in every geography. Easily translatable and locally relevant around the world (I can see Yahoo’s ad team mentally patting themselves on the back for avoiding global translation problems).
Multi-channel campaign but grounded in the “digital discipline.” Lots of ads on Yahoo.com and around the net (say Google?)
Looking at creative. Internet under new management, it’s you (like I said above). Copy on one, “Introducing you, the new chief executive. It’s you.”
Another: “This time it’s personal.” All represents a commitment from Yahoo that they’ll deliver on the relevance of the personal you.
Seeing much more of this stuff, but you can see it yourself. Go here. Note that the server is down right now.
You can use the internet to navigate life. That’s what Yahoo brings to you. One way to express isn’t just still photography. They have video, too! And we’ve just watched it.
Time for the actual Q&A. We have Carol, Elisa plus Hilary Schneider, executive VP. Tapan Bhat, SVP, Penny Baldwin, SVP of global integrated marketing.
Question on marketing budget. Budget is over 100 million for the campaign. US, Canada, UK, France, Hong Kong, missed some of the other countries.
Question from some Erick dude from TechCrunch. How does TechCrunch get to be on the front of Yahoo all the time. No, he didn’t say that. Talk about search, display and “is there anything you won’t sell.”
Hilary: On ad trends, starting to see a stablization but not bold recovery. Bartz: “We’re bumping around the bottom.” Bartz: The focus of the company is to really engage … that we’re ready to put our signature on the bottom of every page that goes out on the internet that says Yahoo … things that might have been a good idea a few years ago have to think more about. Is there anything you won’t sell? Of course not (I think that was the quote — tone of well, you’re always open to stuff).
Now balancing my video camera on a water bottle. Why’d I forget my tripod. I know, you don’t care.
Question on competitive threat about Google and ad exchange. Hilary: We start with the fact we really pioneered the display marketspace. Proud they have the largest exchange. Market is fragmented. We welcome Google and connecting with them because ultimately its about how do we create an open marketplace.
Question: why hit reset button with consumers when some think Yahoo issues are with advertisers. Bartz: “Advertisers follow consumers” (nice point). “You always need to build circulation” This is a way of building circulation. We also by doing this very personalized approach. We’re expanding the relationship to get everyone in the world excited.
Elisa: Need to get consumers to “check out Yahoo again … because the experience is different than what they remember from 5 years ago.”
Question: what about video. Bartz: video crucial, way to entertain, inform, so there’s a big emphasis inside Yahoo on our video platforms, our video serving, way to serve.
Question: What are metrics of success. Elisa: Will run in 15 countries I think for 18 months. Try to measure emotional connection and bond. And are they driving traffic and getting them to spend more time on the key sites they know and love on Yahoo.
Question on new search experience. Tapan: It’s really about creating personal relevance. Done some work on search monkey, allow to highlight some innovations that Yahoo search has done. If you’re searching for information on how to kayak, there are very interesting things like local restaurants. By allowing to filter by certain sites or see snippets, we create a much more relevant campaign.
Question: will search be in the ad campaign? Penny: brand, brand only, brand benefit and product driven communication. Product communications will have a huge role, yes (but not clear what’s on search).
Question: Is Zimbra being shot? Bartz: We don’t comment on if something’s being shot or not. That’s not good business practices. Says Zimbra tech is very important to Yahoo mail system and that was one reason Yahoo bought them.
Question: How is this campaign different from ones in the past, say connected life. It feels like I’ve heard before
Elisa: hasn’t been here i the past. this is incredibly different. this sin’t a marketing campaign of a short term nature. Carol’s staff and carol are all behing the concept of personal relevance. If this wa just a marketing cmapaign or a slogal, we’ve really failed. It’s a company campaign.
Bartz: Yahoo has evolved over the past 14 years as the internet has evolved. We were all so glad we could search the web and find things at the Library Of Congress. But how much of that do you need now (IE, you want more local things, not look and how amazing you what’s there in general). This is a highlyly evolved bigger concept, now the internet .. i can undestand it has a similar tone, because it’s what Yahoo is. We’re taking it farther than it’s been. I’m actually happy that you think it’s somewhat the same, becasue that’s what Yahoo stands for. 76% of US pop comes to Yahoo. When there’s braking tnews, they know to come.
Question: Clarify the role of search. Is that an attraction or something you provide just if people get there for other things?
Bartz: I view search, teh algorithmic side of word as how often you cralw the web, how deep, how much you gather up .. whne we relaly think about search, we think about those 10 blue links. We used to be excited about that? We used to get all these answers and then realize they’r enot good. Views search as an intel chip … but the experienc that HP wraps around those chips is differen than what Dell wrap around them. trying to wrap the Yahoo experience aorund that. Search is vital for us. we;re wstable at like 19% of the busines. Users are happy. If we continue to impress them, we’ll continue to drive relvance for them, perform a service with and form them .. and so search is incredibly important to us and our advertiers, but what is most important is that we dirve upstream even those the plumbing is down here.
Sorry those are scrambled, two above questions were mine, hard to type and also look at someone answering you. I’ll upload video on those later (shaky though it will be with my water bottle tripod).
Question: how do people want to customize? Tapan: Home page most, people want to have it personalized, but they don’t actually do it a ton. So you have to incrementally get them to do this (you know, how like Excite asked for your zip code back in 1996).
Question: Looking at ways to bring in “external text messaging services”. Tapan: home page strategy is that you should be able to pull in whatever you want. So are there RSS feeds.
Question: From the earlier keynote today, they showed a way to let you “add value” to every page on the web. Tapan: that was just a concept, not active right now.
Question: What involvement from Ogilvy? Elisa: Embarked on this a few months ago with Carol and her staff. Then brought in Landor & Associates for strategy and Ogilvy for creative.
Question on Microsoft-Yahoo Deal – Bartz: going as expected, got a very common second request, stand by original prediction of April of next year.
Question: “I think people decided Yahoo had a cloud over its head … we need something shiny and different … Yahoo is well loved outside NY and Silicon Valley. Inside, they all go mooo ohhhh. In passport control, people tell her stories about Yahoo and yodal. Jesus, I want to transfer you guys. Why are you so cynical about us. Why aren’t you cynical about Google? .. see, you got it. You’ve got me pissed off” [so glad i turned the video on, promise, I’ll upload it]
Question: When expect to see returns from users and earnings? Elisa: We’ll expect some change from users in next three months. From brand level, that’ll be closer than 12 months. Earnings: We wouldn’t comment on that today. Bartz: Don’t just focus on the campaign. There’s product promise behind that. There’s going to be a combined offer.
Question: about viral efforts (I think) and something else: Bartz: “It’s our business to try hard .. shame on us if we don’t.” and “We have our own viral effect.”
Tapan: This is not just an ad campaign. This is a fundamental way we build out products [in 2005, that was make it all social. But important, Yahoo’s marketing message is overshadowing that Bartz is trying to reconfigure the company itself that build stuff that makes people feel they can control all the information they need out there. You know, organize the world’s information and make it universally …. you.”
Elisa talking about how consumers around the world love the brand, they yodel (people really do this? apparently!).
Question: Where do you want to be a year, two years from now. Bartz: Before, people were very focused on their property. There wasn’t a network Yahoo effect. Or when I came, it didn’t seem like that. These plans are very integrated. Elisa said I’m not putting this out here unless product is going to do them with quality something and pride. It isn’t about throwing this up on a site. It’s about engaging the consumer … can get things in one place, easier to use, easy to customize [have to say, it’s not new message, but Yahoo doesn’t have a push that no one’s doing now. Google’s not saying organize your life; Microsoft isn’t really; nor is Facebook. Real question is are people already doing it in a way that makes them feel they don’t need to change].
Question: Yahoo stock down 8%, Google’s up 16% — why isn’t Wall Street behind Yahoo. Bartz: Yahoo and Google are different companies. They are different businesses. The investors are somewhat like you guys, let’s wait and see. This direct comparison with Google, we aren’t comparable companies. It’s our job to drive our stock price up separate from what Google does.
Question: Who would you like to be compared to? Bartz: Yahoo. The closest one is AOL. Google maniacal about running an algorithm. We’re personal. If you go to Yahoo India, feels part of India, not some one world approach. That’s not Facebook’s strategy, that’s not Twitter’s strategy. That’s not to say we’re not part of a greater tech sector … by Yahoo is the only brand that can make the promise of uniting your world and the world … more and more and more, we’re going to focus on the use side. Getting this easy personalization and excitement about managing the web from one place is the core of our focus.
Question of stock sales. Bartz: I didn’t sell anything. Got stock, and when some of it vested, some of it is kept by Yahoo for taxes by company. Like if you got 100 shares, 20 would be held back. But it gets recorded as if it is a share. I haven’t sold one penny of Yahoo stock. And thanks for asking, because it pissed me off when they said I sold.
And we’re done.
Techmeme has some coverage on today’s announcement forming now, and I’m sure other live blogging and news reports will be appearing. So check them out, too.
Postscript: Very sorry, my video was lost due to some glitch with my Flip camera. Sigh.