Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Wenda Harris Millard tells what's wrong with Yahoo
Brian Morrissey at Adweek has posted a story about yesterday's interview of Wenda Harris Millard by Federated Media chief John Battelle at the Conversational Marketing Conference. It proved unusual in that Martha Stewart Omnimedia media president Millard actually took swipes at her former employer, Yahoo, which seems to have sunk into a year-2001-like mire since her departure. But Millard's criticism doesn't come off as sour grapes, but as a well-reasoned analysis of a company that has lost its, well, sites, placing technology above all else. "Technology is very important, but where many companies go wrong is when they think technology is the answer or primary solution to proving a business solution to a marketing problem," she said. "The business of advertising is still a business of persuasion. Machines can't make art." (Of course, Yahoo has said that it can do great brand advertising and focus on technology at the same time.) UPDATE: Martha Stewart Omnimedia just announced that Millard and the president of merchandising, Robin Marino, are being promoted to replace Susan Lyne, who just said she is leaving as chief executive.