The Curious Case of Katie Couric

One of the most difficult things to do is revive a dead brand, but I have to give Yahoo credit for doing everything they can to make it happen. I recall the days that Yahoo was the champion of the search space and “the” place to go for online news. They were the success story coming in and pulling away the market share from AOL in the early days of the online revolution. Somewhere along the way, Google came in and with little advertising or fanfare blew away Yahoo into an afterthought.

Yahoo went through some very lean times and made a bold move in bringing Google royalty, Marissa Mayer, on board to turn the company around. Yahoo also added the purchase of Tumblr to stay current and find a way to stay with the pack in regards to innovation. But, have any of these changes and innovations actually helped increase market share or, more importantly, boost interest in their advertising product? Not in my eyes.

Rankings and advertising on Yahoo are seen as a secondary channel compared to Google. Google continues to be the place for people to go to find things, and I always view Google advertising as having more “proactive” consumers…people who do searches with the intent of making a purchase. Yahoo’s belief is you come in for the news with Katie Couric and you stay for ads – but will it work? Likely not, but hats off to Yahoo for trying; with big salaries like Mayer and Couric and billion dollar purchases like Tumblr, the reality is Yahoo has likely positioned itself for a horrific and epic fall.

There will be a day someone will knock Google off its perch and gain the market share in the search space but that company won’t be Yahoo.

Katie Couric Image

Will Yahoo! Adding Katie Couric revitalize their brand?
Photo Courtesy of the Washington Post

Holiday Shopping…Then and Now

Growing up in the 80’s, the holiday gift buying season seemed to start only a few weeks before Christmas and I could hardly wait for those first holiday related commercials to start airing after Thanksgiving. Nowadays, holiday commercials are starting before Halloween. With the advertising change, the gift buying process has evolved immensely. The craziness of Black Friday has been curtailed as Cyber Monday has been ushered in as one of the largest drivers of holiday sales.

Some of the biggest changes that have occurred with holiday shopping have manifested the last few years. Last year, Walmart did a tremendous job leveraging social media with their “Walmart Elves” providing real-time updates of products and monitoring the shortages and missteps of other retailers to engage and entice potential buyers. This was a huge success for Walmart. This year, it is expected that most large retailers will utilize the same sort of process to attract customers through the chaos of what Black Friday has become.

Holiday Shopping Image

The Joys of Black Friday Shopping Last Year
Photo Courtesy of Fox News

It’s not just big retailers who are taking advantage of social media and online efforts to tap into potential customers. Their continues to be a trend of smaller e-commerce only retailers doing their best to leverage different shopping channels to provide lower cost products to have customers make initial purchases on “loss leaders” with the hope that they stay to buy other products. Additionally, these purchases now become prospects that they can continue to market to over the course of the year.

When you look hard at the changes in holiday shopping over the past decade and how many consumers now do their gift buying online, it’s interesting to contemplate the changes that the next decade will bring us. Who would have imagined 10 years ago that you could do holiday shopping via your mobile phone or be able to see real-time sales via sites like Twitter and Facebook? Who would have thought you could avoid the long lines and rushing around by simply sitting back on your computer and waiting for your boxes from Amazon and other retailers to arrive at your door step?

I for one embrace the changes to our digital society, but I will admit to reminiscing a bit about the anticipation of waiting to see the old J.C. Penney catalog arrive in the mail.