Yahoo! or Yahoo?

All eyes continue to be on Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, as she is responsible for turning around the global behemoth.  We’ve seen the media bring to light a lot of problems and controversies within the organization — everything from her maternity leave (or, lack of) to the team of employees jumping ship around her, asking leadership to sign employment commitments, and the sinking stock price.  But, it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of solutions being offered.

I might be biased (okay, I definitely am) but I believe the solution starts in the marketing department. A few months ago one of the big losses at the company was Chief Marketing Officer ,Kathy Savits. It doesn’t appear the company has since officially replaced her even if someone else is taking on the marketing duties.  As I look at the marketing, staffing, and sales problems at the organization (and even some of the acquisitions) it seems like a company that is trying to be a jack of all trades, but is master of none. What does the brand stand for? What is their mission? And in the words of Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why — what is their WHY?

I believe that the most important hire Marissa can make right now is her new CMO. Someone to help the entire organization rally around a mission and go from Yahoo? back to Yahoo!

It all starts with the mission statement.  I spoke to marketing experts and business leaders across the globe to get their point of view on the current statement.  Half the group knew it was Yahoo! and the other half did not. I did this to eliminate the bias that the brand awareness and current state of the company might have to influence their options.

Yahoo is focused on making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining – whether you’re searching the web, emailing friends, sharing photos with family, or simply checking the weather, sports scores or stock quotes.

The results: of all the leaders I spoke to only one person thought the mission statement was clear and effective enough to help drive the business. That leader also happened to be in the segment that knew the company was Yahoo. None of the respondents that didn’t know which brand the mission statement was for thought this was an effective positioning.

Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” helps simply explain why the CMO can help be so critical, and help us understand what the “!” in Yahoo! stands for today.


Personally, I’m rooting for Yahoo!, have great friends who work there, and would love to see them be able to take their existing audience and global reach and pivot that into a new direction.

Other Recommended Reading on This Topic:

  • Simon Sinek, Start With Why
  • Al Ries and Jack Trout, Positioning
  • Alex Bogusky, Baked In

About Us: Moco Global is a marketing advisory firm dedicated to helping web companies build their brand and scale in the US and International markets. Visit us at or on Twitter for marketing news, trends and insights on web companies around the world.



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