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Marissa Mayer Outlines Her Goals At Yahoo, Gives Frank Assessment Of Where Company Is Today
Yahoo’s first company earnings report under new CEO Marissa Mayer is still in progress; as I type this, new CFO Ken Goldman is reviewing Yahoo’s financials on his first day at the company.
But the big focus of the call is Mayer herself — it’s her first opportunity to speak to investors and the public about her plans to revitalize one of the internet’s oldest, and still most popular, destinations.
She began by telling listeners, “This job is tailor-made for me,” and explained that Yahoo’s core components – search, advertising, mobile, news and the home page — are the same core components that she built her career on at Google.
“I came to Yahoo to grow and help redefine one of the internet’s most beloved companies,” she added.
Since joining Yahoo in July, Mayer said she’s been “zeroing in on efficiencies.” The company has new performance measurements and clear quarterly goals. She said that 93 percent of Yahoo employees have quarterly goals that match the company goals, and the goal is to get to 100 percent of employees.
Yahoo’s Goals Under Mayer
Mayer said her goal is to “make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining” and gave the requisite comments about focusing on users. She listed four internal goals that are aimed at making that happen:
- execute faster
- return value to shareholders
- attract the best talent
- make Yahoo the absolute best place to work
Mayer has already brought in several new executives and called the current management group her “dream team” that she’d draft if she was using Yahoo Fantasy Sports. (Seriously.)
Mayer On Yahoo Products
There were several occasions in the call when Mayer named various Yahoo properties and, in at least two or three of those, she listed Search before anything else. Here are some of Mayer’s thoughts on some of Yahoo’s products:
Mayer admitted that Yahoo’s “search share is challenged,” but said the company is committed to working with Bing “to grow marketing share and not just trade it.” She also said that the search alliance with Microsoft has “fallen below expectations.”
Later in the call, she mentioned that search is one of the “core daily habits” that Yahoo is focusing on with its users. She called search a “core priority” and said Yahoo might make “organic investments to grow our market share.” Even later in the call, she added that she’s “bullish on both search and display” advertising.
Mobile & Local
Mayer had strong words when it comes to Yahoo’s current mobile offerings. “We’ve underinvested in mobile,” she said. “We’ve splintered our brands. We have 76 different mobile apps across platforms. This needs to change.”
Mayer promised that Yahoo will develop a more coherent mobile strategy. “At some point in the future, Yahoo will have to become a predominantly mobile company. By that I mean that at least half of our employees will be working on mobile.” She said that Yahoo will be hiring significantly for its mobile efforts.
Other Yahoo Properties
Mayer included Flickr, Yahoo Answers and Yahoo Groups when discussing Yahoo’s “core properties.” She hasn’t, as of this moment, made any promises about the future of those services, but users should be pleased to hear her mention each by name.
My overall impression so far is that Mayer is giving investors (and the public) a very frank assessment of where the company stands right now — the good, bad and ugly — and where she plans to take it in the future.
(Note: Due to the fact that I don’t type as quickly as most people speak, some of the quotes above should be considered paraphrases rather than exact word-for-word versions of what was said.)
Postscript: Mayer also spoke about Yahoo’s plans in the local search space. Please see our article on Search Engine Land for more on that: Mayer: Yahoo Not Planning To Invest In Local Search Right Now.