As the interactive advertising industry began to recover from the ‘dot com bomb’, Yahoo! was the weakest of the three portals (AOL, MSN and Yahoo!), especially in terms of raw marketing power. AOL had the benefit of the powerful position Time-Warner enjoyed in the traditional media world and MSN had buckets of cash. Either could outspend Yahoo! 4 or even 5 to 1.
Own the ‘thought leadership’ position in the market.
Create an ongoing series of half day conferences focusing on key audience segments each built around a new piece of original research.
1) Keep the number of Yahoos on the stage to almost zero. A presentation by a seller is a sales call. People won’t give half a day for a sales call.
2) Find partners with a common self-interest to split the cost of the research.
3) Merchandise the research after the event by taking it ‘on the road’
More than 1 dozen events were created including Born to be Wired (Milennials), Real Women, Digital World, The Long & Winding Road to the Cash Register and Selling Money (financial services)