“We want to inspire people’s daily habits”

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Vaasu Gavarasana, Business Marketing Head, Yahoo’s APAC

Vaasu Gavarasana, Business Marketing Head, Yahoo’s APAC

Ever since Marissa Mayer’s takeover of Yahoo as its President and CEO in 2012, the internet giant has seen some major overhauling. Yahoo invested some $ 1 billion in 2013 on product development to improve existing products and launch new ones. Its business hinges on content and as Marketers in India begin to understand the importance of content marketing, Yahoo’s position will only start to strengthen. Rashi Bisaria of Pitch caught up with Vaasu Gavarasana, Yahoo’s APAC Business Marketing Head, to find out about the role of content marketing in today’s scenario and the role Yahoo is playing in facilitating content marketing. Some excerpts:

What is the need for content marketing in today’s times? Do people really understand its role?
The only way to do well on social media is to have a content strategy. A phenomenal amount of money is spent on search without having a destination for the audience. Your key words come from your content, so your content strategy has to be figured out well in advance.

Everyone is almost always online. But are brands always on? Brands need to keep the communication flowing. There should be no gaps in the communication. Brands have to be on all the time, from the media point of view and their messaging point of view. You cannot have long absences from the flow of conversation. Also, anything done in silos is not useful. Integration is important in any content strategy.

The new avatar of content marketing as a discipline is just 3 years old so no brand has been able to perfect it yet. But there are some companies that are at the forefront of it. Yahoo is one of them. On the advertisers’ side there are 4 brands who do it very well. There is P&G, Unilever, Redbull, and Nike. Coke has stated that they are changing their philosophy from creative excellence to content excellence.

If you talk about mobile, it is like the wild west. It has not been conquered by anyone. It’s anyone’s game. In the digital arena, just because you are ahead doesn’t mean you’ll stay ahead. This decade will tell us who’s ahead and who’s behind. Marissa is making huge bets in mobile. She’s making acquisitions aggressively almost every week. She has launched an array of mobile products. She is investing in publishing platforms like Tumblr which is a next generation publishing platform. We have also launched 2 digital magazines, Yahoo tech and Yahoo food.

What does Yahoo stand for? What is its personality on today’s date?
Our stated mission since Marissa has come on board is- We want to be part of everyone’s daily habits. We want to inspire people’s daily habits. We want to give people something interesting every day.

What are the products?
On the consumer side, we are trying to inspire the 12 daily habits. We want to make each experience of your daily life better. This includes your weather experience, your chat experience. On the ad product side, there is programmatic where we are making tremendous strides. We have a high customised content approach. Anyone who wants youth audience, creates brand pages on Tumblr. That is a huge product we have. Anyone who wants youth audience creates brand pages on Tumblr. Anyone into digital publishing needs to be doing two things very well, consumer products and ad products. Advertisers come to us because we have users. This is the reason for your revenue and this is what gets you the revenue.

What are these ad tools that Yahoo has come out with?
These tools help us target people according to preferences and demographic. We help advertisers deliver their message only to the people they want to target. We have very high consumer targeting capabilities that we offer. Ever since Marissa joined, our ad revenues have gone up. In technology you have to bring about changes every day or you will be dead. She is successfully bringing about changes and launching new products.

Have the digital ad revenues been plummeting for Yahoo? Is that true?
That’s not true. Since Marissa has come on board it’s actually gone up. We have met Wall Street expectations. To recapitualte, Yahoo is into content publishing, mobile, digital magazines or communication products. You have to keep innovating in technology. We have enough talent pool to be able to do everything at the same time.

Where is India headed with respect to content marketing?
We have a very voracious reading and publishing culture in India. In that sense Yahoo is very well placed in India. Content is our mainstay. We can offer content marketing across all silos, so we can give you blogging as we have Tumblr, we can give you messaging as we have messenger, we can give you slide shows as we have Flicker. It augurs extremely well for Yahoo especially when marketers start to understand the importance of Content Marketing. Most companies don’t have such a horizontal spectrum like we do. We can truly give you a content marketing experience.

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