Brand Man Departs Yahoo for NYTimes.com

Does size matter when it comes to online media brands? Not according to Murray Gaylord, the new VP of marketing for NYTimes.com. According to Gaylord, who is leaving his post as Yahoo’s VP of brand marketing on December 31 to join the paper of record’s Web arm, “It’s not a question of size… They’re two great brands.”

The longtime ad industry exec will head up marketing, customer service, research and Web analytics for NYTimes.com starting January 8. New York Times Digital properties garnered 42 million unique visitors in November, according to comScore Media Metrix, less than a third of the 130 million who visited Yahoo in that month.

“We’re both in the same business and that’s to give a great experience to our users,” Gaylord told ClickZ News. He said the Times site was at the top of his druthers list when seeking out East Coast gigs. Gaylord has been with Yahoo, toggling back and forth between the East and West Coasts, for seven years now. With family on the East Coast, including a new granddaughter, taking on the NYTimes.com role made sense; not to mention the fact that he “had a great passion for the [New York Times] brand and the company.”

In helping better define the site’s brand, Gaylord aims to drive more reader engagement for NYTimes.com, and in turn spur more advertisers to want to be there. “One of the things that really appealed to me is NYTimes.com is really committed to taking the brand, and the overall experience if you will, to the next level.” At this point, however, it’s “too soon” to determine what the next level might encompass, he continued.
Gaylord, who will report to the site’s SVP and GM Vivian Schiller, anticipates working closely with Alyson Racer, VP sales. He will be responsible for managing only the NYTimes.com brand, not other New York Times Company Web properties such as Boston.com and About.com. Twenty-five people will report to Gaylord, who currently has about 50 reporting to him at Yahoo.

He will continue serving as vice chairman of the American Advertising Federation, now representing NYTimes.com rather than Yahoo. Also, in part because of its affiliation with his previous employer, Gaylord said he will no longer serve on the board of Network for Good, a nonprofit charity organization founded by AOL, Cisco Systems and Yahoo.

The enthusiastic Web evangelist acted as Yahoo’s director of Fusion Marketing, singing the praises of Internet marketing to the ad community, before shifting to VP brand marketing for the portal. “Fusion Marketing” said Gaylord, “was a made-up term to be able to explain to the advertising community that the Internet…was integrated marketing on steroids.” He previously held stints at The Advertising Council, serving as EVP and COO, and TBWA Chiat/Day as EVP, director of client services. Gaylord has a B.A. in psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

With both traditional and digital media experience, Gaylord hopes to help remove the distinction between those media forms in his new role. “I think the combination puts me in somewhat of a unique position…to add value to what is a very changing world,” he said.

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