Since she started three months ago, Ms. Talerman has flown around the country and made endless conference calls in order to weave together a team to service a wide range of marketing needs for the Internet giant.
"I'm going to need terrific account people, dedicated planners and a creative team," she said. Beyond that core group, Ms. Talerman will be pulling from across 90 WPP Group companies to provide everything from brand identity to strategic planning to PR.
"We like to stay small and agile. We've had a lot of discussions at the client and we want to build to their needs and build a profitable company," she said.
Ms. Talerman declined to name any of the WPP companies she might draw from at this stage, though the assignment is known to make use of strategic planning, integrated online and offline brand campaigns. Soho Square won the account from incumbent Black Rocket, San Francisco, a unit of Havas' Euro RSCG Worldwide.
While Yahoo! spent $41.6 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Soho Square's potential payday could be a lot larger if its U.S. efforts are successful. Yahoo! Chief Marketing Officer Cammie Dunaway declined to discuss the future of the Havas relationship outside the U.S. and had no comment on the global relationship with Havas-owned Euro RSCG Worldwide.
"We're really excited that WPP has chosen Elizabeth to manage the team at Soho Square. She's a strong, strategic marketing professional and we feel her knowledge, experience and leadership skills will bring tremendous value to our team," Ms. Dunaway said.
work cut out
Though Ms. Talerman is reluctant to say who brought her onboard at WPP, she's clearly well known to both Wenda Millard, chief sales officer, Yahoo!, and Jerry Shereshewsky, executive director of agency relations and to the tech community. She was a senior partner and account director on IBM Corp. for OgilvyOne and helped integrate that company's marketing services. In addition to running her own 15-person digital shop, named Agile Industries (Compaq, Virginia Commonwealth University and NBC Sports were clients), Ms. Talerman is chair of the International Andy Awards, run by the Advertising Club of New York.
With so many balls in the air, Ms. Talerman certainly has her work cut out. When asked about the potential for conflict with WPP sibling Ogilvy & Mather, New York, client Terra Lycos, Ms. Talerman responded diplomatically. "I'll have to look into that. I don't want Ogilvy to be in jeopardy with anybody." Her experience as marketing director for Harvard Business School, no doubt taught her about managing such tricky situations.
contributing: tobi elkin
Name: Elizabeth Talerman
Now: Managing partner, WPP Group's Soho Square
Challenge: To draw together an elite team from within the network and outside for Yahoo!