AOL bids to ‘regain marketing mojo’

AOL is planning to “scale up” the marketing around its stable of brands like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch to turn around its fortunes, after its top marketer admitted that the business’s marcomms has “lost its mojo.”


Speaking to Marketing Week, the company’s chief marketing and communications officer Jolie Hunt, says the company’s restructure that saw 340 brands trimmed down to 20 over the last two years means AOL’s marketing needs to become “bolder” and “bigger”.

She adds: “I really want to listen and understand who we have at the company as well as what we have and then try to scale it in the right way. We have the ability to be a little bit bolder and more ambitious in saying what are we going to do and how we are going to do it.”

“You always give a little energy when you launch [a brand]. Then you have to go and figure out how you sustain it and how it becomes relevant and I think our news cycle should really help our brands grow because here’s so much stuff happening around the world at the moment.”

Last month, the company reorganised into three operating units; membership, brand and advertising.The moves are part of wider shift in the company’s marketing strategy to focus activity around its main assets rather than concentrating solely on the AOL brand.

It marks the latest attempt to reverse the company’s fortunes. Last year the company cut 900 jobs, nearly 20% of its workforce and in April it sold 800 patents to Microsoft in a $1bn (£645) deal. AOL has also struck a series of high-profile deals in recent years such as the $315m (£203m) acquisition of the Huffington Post last February to broaden its revenue streams.

The company’s brands are seen as less attractive places for online advertisers compared to the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter. Traffic to AOL’s sites slumped by 4% year-on-year in May to 110 million unique visitors, according to Comscore. AOL reported a 4% drop in revenue year-on-year to $529 (£341) in its first quarter results in May.

AOL’s difficulties echo fellow internet business Yahoo, which recently named former Google engineer Marissa Mayer as its new chief executive to spearhead its revival.

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