Interview with Tania Lau, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, Yahoo Hong Kong
Please give us a bit of background to Yahoo Hong Kong and its current set up.
Yahoo is a global internet brand that had its beginnings in 1995 (22 years ago) as a web directory and portal, it has grown and evolved since into a world-recognized search-engine and go-to news and media website.
The Hong Kong office was established in 1999 (18 years ago). While Yahoo Hong Kong is still wholly owned by Yahoo, we’re given a high level of autonomy in the way we run our business and this has provided the stability in which we operate. In Hong Kong, we aim to serve local users, partners, and key stakeholders. Our business centers around 3Cs; content (aggregation and marketing), communications (search, messaging tools), and commerce (consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer buy & sell).
With our long history of strategic acquisitions, we do have many products but Yahoo offers nearly all of them for free. We no longer consider charging premium or even freemium models. In fact, our primary revenue source is from our advertising and marketing products and offerings (programmatic, data management & insights, native advertising, e-commerce and content, etc.). But to ensure relevancy to our clients and customers, we embrace the ‘go local’ approach. We don’t just translate whatever headquarters is doing and push it here. We make sure our offerings are always catered towards Hong Kongers. We have dedicated local teams for editorial, marketing, and advertising functions focused on driving a truly 360° solution for our customers.
How has the industry changed, and how is Yahoo Hong Kong looking to expand, what sort of new direction is the company taking?
From what I can tell, digital marketing and advertising continues to face fast-paced changes locally. Content consumption patterns have shifted drastically and simply thinking “mobile first” could not cut through the noise. Our strategy for thriving and growing the business is thinking “video first” and integrating this with our programmatic solutions.
We have just launched Yahoo TV here in HK on April 24, a high-quality video livestreaming portal with all your news and need-to-know info in easily accessible and consumable video bites. This has already been piloted in Taiwan and has proven to be a major success. We can only see fantastic potential here for the Hong Kong market. My team has tested the waters already, we had the idea of bringing NFL to locals. It’s apparently very popular in the west, but most certainly not here, but we produced local content teaching Hong Kongers the rules of the game and how it is played. We live-broadcasted this on a Sunday night at 10pm, at peak, we topped 220,000 engaged viewers who were glued to the video for at least 8-10 minutes. The demand is evident, and Yahoo HK is working to supply that.
We see we have a competitive edge in creating complete user journeys within 1 platform, this is a mainstream trend as users generally stick to only a select few platforms to obtain all the information or do all the work they need.
What does your role as Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at Yahoo Hong Kong involve, can you tell us how you climbed the career ladder here?
I started as Associate Marketing Manager and eventually moved into product marketing at Yahoo, working with really great products like Yahoo Personals (Yahoo! 友緣人) and Yahoo Answers (Yahoo! 知識), I did that for 3 years before I took on a more senior role overseeing consumer marketing, trade marketing, PR and market research, over the years, I rose through ranks through continuing my dedication to the team and culture at Yahoo HK, eventually landing my current role last year in April. Now as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, I oversee the company’s brand and public relations strategy, as well business and consumer marketing programs to achieve our business objectives.
I’ve been with Yahoo for over a decade already and to this day I still have the same mindset and learning crave I had as an intern. Yahoo is very much like the Shaolin Monastery, there are so many arts to master, yet so much dedicated training available to those who are passionate and rigorous about it. The company is huge on education and has worked strenuously in providing plenty of opportunity for on-the-job training, multimedia courses, internship programs like Yahoo University Program where participants get to visit and learn directly at Tumblr’s headquarters in New York.
What’s your proudest and most memorable moment?
Yahoo has been running their internal annual Superstar Awards for 13 years. It allows employees to nominate each other for the award in recognition for exceptional performance and influence to the company. They present it to about 12 individuals out of the 11,000 global Yahoo staffers each year. So, I felt really, really honoured to have won last year! I was so happy of this achievement that instead of bringing my spouse to the award celebration, I brought my mom. I wanted her to be able to witness and be part of the culmination of love, happiness, and hard work I’ve experienced at Yahoo all these years. It is truly a proud and memorable moment in my life.
If you are to give one piece of advice to the Tania who just started at Yahoo, what would you say to her?
Be open-minded and stay humble because it’s too easy to stereotype and generalize in this industry, holding an unassuming attitude does wonders for learning and adapting to daily changes and challenges!
Yahoo Hong Kong的「本土」力量
說到Yahoo，你會想起什麼？搜尋器、電郵、Yahoo拍賣、Yahoo GeoCities、Yahoo桌球和麻雀、Yahoo知識、Yahoo友緣人、Yahoo Messenger、Yahoo團購……雖然不同年代、不同背景的人可能有不同答案，但相信每個互聯絡的用家都有使用過它們的產品。
「Video First是我們今年的主題。」Tania透露說：「影片、直播本身不是新鮮事。但隨著用戶習慣轉變，用戶已不滿足於圖片文字的內容傳遞，我們深信影音直播是內容製作、策展及行銷的主要制式。因此，Yahoo香港已於本月推出新項目 – 『Yahoo TV』。與其他影音直播平台提供用戶生成內容的直播方式不同，我們將會搜羅大量香港人高度關注的項目，尤其以本地體育及娛樂為首，更會製作自家的直播節目，為用戶帶來相對優質的節目。我亦相信影音與電子商貿的結合短期內會在香港會成為大趨勢。」
「同時，這對於廣告客戶而言亦是一個新嘗試。Yahoo旗下的programmatic advertising 平台Brightroll和Gemini 均可以支援影音廣告，可協助廣告客戶精準針對目標觀眾，減低傳統漁翁撒網式的投放。我們希望透過這些工具，教育並協助廣告客戶了解他們消費者所需。」
「加上近兩年推行的Push & Pull 組合廣告模式，一方面以Pull方式協助廣告客戶於搜尋結果增加曝光率，加上利用Native Advertising(原生廣告)以Push方式發放客戶資訊，另他們的產品更容易接觸到Yahoo用戶。」