Yahoo’s recently appointed global chief revenue officer Lisa Utzschneider might be a familiar face at Dmexco, but there will be no resting on laurels for the woman whose task is to ‘return this iconic company to greatness’, she tells M&M Global.
“I love Dmexco – I refer to it as the conference where business gets done,” says Yahoo’s newly appointed global chief revenue officer Lisa Utzschneider. “The presence of ad tech is very noticeable, as is the presence of lots of Americans.”
Too true. Our meeting is located in the hustle and bustle of Hall 7, where Yahoo’s sizeable stand competes for attention alongside the likes of Google, Facebook and AOL. Utzschneider is no stranger to the Cologne event, but these remain novel times for the former Amazon global ad sales boss.
In July, only eight months into her Yahoo career, CEO Marissa Mayer promoted Utzschneider to the role of global CRO. The task? Quite simply to “return this iconic company to greatness”.
“Advertising is core to Yahoo’s business; we are both a media company and a tech company, and I’ve never worked anywhere where advertising is the core business. It makes it fun because advertising is the centre of everything that we do,” she says.
Utzschneider spent the first half of the year trying to work out how to integrate Yahoo’s three recent acquisitions: blog platform Tumblr, mobile analytics firm Flurry and video ad company Brightroll. It all feeds into the firm’s ‘MaVeNS’ advertiser proposition – to use mobile, video, native and social for compelling brand experiences.
Don’t boil the ocean
Clients have never been faced with such multifarious routes to reach consumers. Successful brands, claims Utzschneider, are those that reject the temptation to “boil the ocean” and build a more focused marketing strategy.
She is particularly pleased with a partnership that will see Nescafé drop its brand websites and convert all its web pages into Tumblr blogs. “The question I’m asking every agency and client is, ‘When we meet again in this hot room a year from now, what does success look like with Yahoo –what is the one thing you want to get done?’”
“If you want to build a global, scalable business, [you must] find the common threads across the regions”
So what comes next for Yahoo? The immediate priority is to achieve “greater clarity” with the company’s content offering, and “what role Tumblr plays in that strategy”.
Utzschneider is also determined to make the most of insights garnered across Yahoo’s global operations, from London to Omaha – albeit while maintaining centralised structures: “If you want to build a global, scalable business, [you must] find the common threads across the regions.
“[Individual markets] like to say ‘we are different’, but the way to really scale is to identify what is the same throughout. Then you can find local nuances… I’m a huge believer that ideas come from anywhere. [We want to] find out how to surface some of them, and have more of a highway for ideas, not just a one-way street.”
As Dmexco 2015 winds down, Utzschneider turns her attention to the next appointment – just don’t ask her when or where it is. “If you ask me what time it is, well, I have no idea! I just keep rolling.”