Monthly Archives: November 2010

News U Can Use – November

Here are your media/advertising News U Can Use items for November:

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

PIZZA FACTS. Did you know that some 3 billion pizzas are sold in the US every year?  The source article doesn’t say whether that figure includes frozen pies at grocery stores – but if we assume 75% or nearly 2.3 billion are ready-to-eat pies cooked up by 69,000 pizzeria outlets, that’s an average of over 33,000 pies per outlet a year.   At an average of about $12 a pie, that’s close to a $28 billion-a-year market, for an average of $400,000 plus a year per outlet in pizza revenue.   Of course, many of the smaller outlets you deal with will not be close to that revenue figure, but it can be a goal to advertise toward.   After all, 93% of Americans confess to eating at least one large pizza a month (Restaurant News).

AFTERMARKET SWEET SPOT. That’s the term for the segment of US cars on the road that can generate the most revenue to the auto repair and auto parts industries.   The sweet spot comprises vehicles 5 to 10 years old, the time period in which they have the most parts replaced and/or serviced – and it currently numbers about 90 million vehicles (up 400,000 from last year).   The 90 million figure is approximately a third of all the cars and light trucks on the road.   So at an average of a little over two cars per US household, if an area with 40,000 households has 80,000 vehicles, some 27,000 would be in the aftermarket sweet spot.   That kind of local figure is a good one to have handy when you’re talking to an auto repair shop or an auto parts dealer about YP advertising (Motorage.com),

ELECTRONIC EYES. Bifocals and progressive lenses have long provided a solution for presbyopia, which makes focusing on close-up objects difficult and affects people over 40 – but many wearers have trouble adjusting to these lenses.   Now, an optometrist has brought to market electronic eyeglasses that look like ordinary glasses but contain a rechargeable battery, microchip, and motion detector that work to automatically “adjust the prescription” to the wearer’s position, distance, etc.   The initial cost will be about $1000, just 20-25% above high-end frames with progressive lenses (Bloomberg Business Week.

Find out how to be at the top of your sales performance by clicking on www.kukbaldwin.com.

Other recent media/advertising news:

Things can’t be all that bad — Super Bowl ads sell out

Maybe things aren’t so bad in the advertising world — Fox recently reported that it has sold out of advertising time for February’s broadcast of the Super Bowl.  Ads are believed to be between $2.8 million and $3 million for a 30-second spot. The news of the sellout is the earliest for an previous game, and this with the potential teams that will play in the game still very much up in the air right now. Marketers advertising in the game are believe to include Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo, E-Trade and automotive marketers Kia Motors, Hyundai and Audi.   (Link)

More positive advertising media trends – Global ad spend rose 13% in first half of 2010

Global ad spending surged 13% during the first half of the year, to $238 billion, according to Nielsen measurements discussed in a recent AdWeek articles. North American ad spending rose about 5% during the time frame. Television showed the largest gain by media platform; it was up nearly 16% and accounted for 62% of all ad spending worldwide. (Link)

Magazines ads are up for second quarter in a row

Ad pages in U.S. magazines showed growth for the second straight quarterly period, rising 3.6% in Q3, the Publishers Information Bureau has reporting. More than 130 titles posted increases in ad pages, compared with 25 for the same quarter last year. Some of the best performers in the third quarter included Elle Décor (56.2% more ads); Time Inc.’s People StyleWatch (54% rise), and Conde Nast’s Glamour (36.6% increase). (Link)

But traditional media still struggling

If you believe research from 24/7 Wall St. and Harris Interactive, traditional media is in trouble.  Newspapers are struggling with circulation and magazines like Newsweek are being sold for $1.  While two-thirds of Americans (67%) still agree that they prefer to get their news in more traditional ways such as network television and/or reading newspapers or magazines in print, over half of Americans (55%) say traditional media as we currently know it will no longer exist in ten years.  Additionally, half of US adults (50%) say they tend to get almost all their news online.

Additionally, in looking at the amount of time people are spending with print media, one-quarter of adults say over the past year, the time they have spent reading newspapers in print and reading magazines in print has declined (25% vs. 23% respectively).  Conversely, three in ten adults (28%) say the time they have spent visiting online news and information sites has increased over the past year.

One reason traditional media should be worried is that media consumption and attitudes towards media are very different by age.  Only one-third (33%) of those 55 and older say they tend to get almost all their news online compared to almost two-thirds (65%) of those 18-34 years old.  And, while four in five of those 55 and older (81%) prefer to get their news in more traditional ways, just over half of 18-34 year olds (57%) feel the same way.

Besides traditional print media, network television also has to face a similar battle from both people watching more television online and watching more cable television shows.  Currently, two-thirds of Americans (67%) say they watch television shows primarily on television, while just 5% watch them primarily or mostly on their computer.  If this is broken down further by age, again, there is a large difference with over four in five adults 55 and older watching primarily on television (84%) compared to less than half of those 18-34 (48%).

To read the full release, with tables, go here:  link

Broadband access is still an issue in the U.S.

Everyone has easy access to the Internet, right?  Well, not really – MediaPost reports that the a “digital divide” still exists in the U.S., where more than one-third of households do not have broadband connections and 25% of households have no Internet access at all.  The results come from a study by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has found. Not surprisingly income is big divider — more than nine in 10 households with $100,000 or more in annual income have broadband in their homes, but just over one in three of homes with $25,000 or less in income do. Geography is also important – two in three urban homes have high-speed access, compared with slightly more than half of those based in rural areas. (Link)

 

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Sales – Did you ask for the sale?

Have you been on one of these sales calls recently?  The one where everything the sales rep did was right.

  • They probed to understand the customer’s needs
  • They put forth a solid recommendation specific to that businesses needs
  • They responded to every objection flawlessly
  • They presented their company and the products features wonderfully

But the customer didn’t buy. Although the salesperson was doing everything right, the customer didn’t jump up and agree to a contract.  That’s impossible. How could that happen?  Probably because the salesperson never asked for the sale.

Never?  Nope, not once.  Why not?

First, reps should only be “closing” when they have earned the right to ask for the sale.  Some of the tips that follow aren’t worth a darn if you haven’t done the probing and fact finding up front.

Tip #1. Let the customer know you want to sell to them.

Many sales people try to hide or disguise their real intentions of selling to the prospective customer usually because they don’t want to frighten off a potential buyer.  Sure building relationships is important, but if you try to hide the fact that you are selling to a prospect, you can be causing even more objections and barriers to the sale than usual.  Right from the minute you walk in the door they need to know why you are there.

Tip #2. It’s business, not personal.

Perhaps sales reps don’t ask for the sale for fear of rejection.  There could many reasons why sales people don’t use closing techniques during and at the end of what looked to be a successful sales call:

  • Fear of rejection – we all hate that word “No”.
  • Not knowing when to close – simply answered – “always”
  • Waiting for prospects to ask for the order – how often does that work in today’s economy?
  • A lack of confidence due to poor sales techniques or training
  • Not having effective closing lines ready and rehearsed – a training issue?

It does not take a genius to figure out that many sales people don’t like rejection or to hear “NO” when asking for the sale.   It takes some confidence to believe that rejection won’t hurt you:  the customer is not rejecting you personally. They are rejecting the idea of spending their hard earned money for a preogram they have yet to understand, or don’t think has a  worth/ROI that is high enough for them.  Many advertisers have also been conditioned to keep saying no, expecting the price will continue to come down.  Don’t be a Monty Hall.  Stick to the value (and price) your product offers.

Tip #3.  Gain agreement throughout the ENTIRE sales process.

Closing the sale shouldn’t be an isolated part of the sales process, despite what some sales training may suggest.  Most successful reps will tell you that you need to be closing from the start. Gain agreement at each of the sales stages of your selling process. Don’t leave it until you get to the closing stage before you ask for any agreement or commitment

Some sales experts believe you need to your customer to say “yes” at least eight times through trial close questions to secure a sale.  Whether it’s two or five or eight, start right off with trial close questions.

One small technique:  help the customer to say “yes” by nodding your head up and down–they will automatically nod with you. Have you ever tried to say no while you were nodding your head up and down?

Tip #4.  Yes we can.

Never ask a question that your customer or prospect can answer with a “NO”. If you want to meet with someone next week instead of a yes or no question ask give them a choice question that leaves them with options such as: “Which day would you like to meet next week, Monday or Tuesday?”

When a customer responds to trial close questions with maybe’s or indecision, that’s your signal to provide additional support on the value of the advertising program ask additional trial close questions. You hope all of your potential clients are excited about the opportunity to implement an ad program and will say “yes” at every step. But the important thing is that you gently keep bringing them to a point of decision by the time you reach your final close.

Tip #5.  Give them a chance

The whole art of closing sales techniques can be usually summed up in one key phrase, “I’m here to help you.” Consider that approach to your sales presentation. Either you have what your customer wants and needs – or you don’t. If you can identify what your customer wants and you can genuinely address their needs, then you should posture the entire conversation around, “I am here to help you with your need. Here’s the solution we are offering.”

The point is, to be on their side, they need to want what you’re selling; only they may not know it yet. Give them the chance to make the best buying decision – know why they need what you have, and what their options may be.

Be prepared, after your initial program recommendation (and without being too “pitchy” about it) to ask for the sale. Then you’ll probably get an objection, which you need to address, and then ask for the sale again. Each time you get and answer an objection, and only if you successfully answer the objection, then ask for the sale. Of the many sales closing techniques used, this is probably the most unused but potentially powerful piece of advice. Be ready to ask up to 5 times, but without being obnoxious about it.

Have you ever thought about the typical objections you consistently get?  Why not make a list of then and a list of answers for them. Know why a customer would object in this or that way. It may mean that you’re saying/presenting something (or not saying something) consistently, and as a result the same objection comes up again and again.

Tip #6. Assuming the close is even better than asking for it

We all look for closing sales techniques that work, a simple close of “Would you like me to start writing up the contract  now?” or “Are there any other areas you want to consider today along with this recommendation ?” is often the best.  Many customers prefer an open, simple, clear communication; especially when your confidence is apparent in a simple, clear close.

Another option is an alternative close:  This close is typically used when the customer has a choice to make between two programs or options. The customer feels that both may be acceptable, but they are concerned about making the wrong decision. This kind of close may sound something like “Do you prefer the ad in just red or full color?” Another example: “Of the two headings you are considering, which one appeals to you the most?”

The best (and most delicate close) I’ve seen is the assumptive close. You assume the customer wants to buy, and after you’ve gone through your probing, have done the work of presenting a program for them, and have gone through their objections, then you simply assume they’re sold.  You obviously just don’t blurt out the close of “Do you want to buy?” or similar questions. Rather, you close with, “How would you like to pay for that? We have several plans…”  I have even seen reps start writing up the contract as the objections begin to slow down or diminish.  At this point, the customer will do one of three things: shut you down totally and make it clear they are buying today, raise new objections to the sale and ask for more information, or agree and close the deal. That sounds likes a 2/3rds chance of closing to me.

That’s a short list of closing techniques.  What’s your favorite one???

Environmental: Seattle Saga Continues – See You in Court

As we fully expected and noted in our recent blog, the City of Seattle’s new phone book ordinance which would implement new taxes and additional opt-out requirements on printed directories, has been challenged in a suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington by Dex One, SuperMedia, and the Yellow Pages Association (YPA).

The complaint, filed by Seattle-based Perkins Coie, LLP, asserts that the ordinance, passed last month:

  • violates the First Amendment, which prohibits government from licensing or exercising advance approval of the press, from directing publishers what to publish and to whom they may communicate, and from assessing fees for the privilege of publishing.
  • unlawfully interferes with interstate commerce and
  • violates the privacy rights of Seattle residents.

In a press release from YPA, President Neg Norton noted that:

“We agree that residents should have a choice of whether they receive a Yellow Pages directory, but the Seattle City Council has passed a law that violates the most basic freedom in the United States.  Even as we oppose the ordinance in court, we are moving forward with plans to provide a first-class, national consumer choice website at www.yellowpagesoptout.com. This website will easily enable consumers to opt-out of unwanted phonebooks and will add no costs to taxpayers anywhere – in Seattle or across the country.”

The Seattle ordinance clearly singles out the Yellow Pages industry with regulations and fees that are not imposed on other media (or any other waste stream component) including discriminatory license fees for the right to publish and unprecedented “advance recovery fees” that previously have been limited to toxic or hard-to-recycle materials. The ordinance imposes obligatory cover language dictated by the city government and also mandates that publishers turn over confidential/private information from consumers to the City of Seattle.

Legislators seemed uninterested that the industry’s consumer choice site, www.yellowpagesoptout.com, will accomplish on a nationwide basis what Seattle now is trying to build on its own, with zero investment from the city and without the free speech concerns that the law currently presents.

“Considering the value to businesses and consumers that directories bring, and the admission by the ordinance’s lead sponsor that Yellow Pages are a ‘drop in the bucket’ of the city’s collection process, one has to wonder if the city’s intention is to impose similar free speech restrictions on other media in the future,” said Larry Angove, president of the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP), in support of the industry’s effort.

ADP joined YPA in commenting in the release noting several ways they believe the industry’s cohesive, national approach to consumer choice is better for cities in a number of ways:

  • No burden to cities, taxpayers, or city government staff: Industry assumes all costs and staffing associated with development, maintenance and promotion of www.yellowpagesoptout.com.
  • Greater awareness: One official industry site can be promoted which will result in greater awareness for consumers across the country.
  • Integration with publishers’ technology systems: The website will work seamlessly with the publishers’ systems to ensure requests are properly recorded.  This would be a nearly impossible task for any third-party who has no knowledge or understanding of the industry
  • Library of directory covers provide better clarity of choice for the user: The website will include visuals that will make it easier for residents to identify the directories they wish to keep or stop.
  • Protected personal information: Residents using http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com can be confident that their personal information will only be shared with publishers and not sold/used by any third parties for any reason.

While they haven’t made a big deal out of it before, industry publishers have made significant investments in sustainable practices since launching an updated industry wide Environmental Guidelines in 2007. Among the successes are:

  • Use of paper that contains recycled content and fiber derived from lumber byproducts (woodchips) – making it unnecessary to use new trees to produce Yellow Pages.
  • A 29% reduction in the use of directory paper since 2006, as a result of advanced pagination systems and programs to reduce the number and size of directories.
  • n  Use of soy-based inks and non-toxic dyes that pose little threat to soil or groundwater supplies and adhesives in the binding process that are eco-friendly and non-toxic.
  • Launch of the consumer choice programs (www.yellowpagesoptout.com) to give consumers a choice to reduce or stop directory delivery.

As we noted in the first blog, this really isn’t an environmental move by the City of Seattle.  Instead, it has become a clear attempt at cost shift and a political stepping stone for some Council members.

And now, it’s going to cost local residents to defend the frivolous actions of the Council.

Industry supplier updates

Following is a collect of recent news from industry suppliers:

BTC Publishes The Bahamas Yellow Pages in New Digital Format

The Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC) announced the Company’s launch of a new Bahamas Internet Yellow Pages directory with Innovectra, a leading provider of digital media platform solutions for traditional media publishers.

Innovectra Corporation has been selected to host each new edition of the BTC Yellow Pages in a digital directory format using its award winning ActivDirectory and ActivImpact software.  The companies have collaborated to build and deploy a new directory portal at www.BahamasYPages.com for area residents, island visitors and vacationers who use the Internet to search directory listings and find profile information about local merchants and service providers.

Online shoppers can use the BTC Yellow Pages keyword search engine to find exactly what they are looking for throughout the Bahamas and connect with small businesses via links to Internet directory listings, web sites, maps, directions, online videos and dynamic coupons.

“We are excited about adding new local search site features for consumers while providing business customers with more interactive Yellow Pages solutions,” said Marlon Johnson, BTC’s vice-president of sales and marketing.

Alauras Software’s announces a new native iPad application

The new native iPad application now allows full access to Alauras Software’s eContract system to sales reps in the field without any dependency on internet connectivity. Now sales reps in remote regions without internet access can leverage the benefits of the SFA system. Contracts can be executed on the popular Apple iPad with the customer using only his figure for signature on its touch screen.

The application stores all assigned contracts and securely collects executed agreements and customer content while offline. On reaching a wifi point, the device can be set to automatically sync and update the system. The user can specify a manual sync if desired, selecting the time, place and method of the update.

Additional feature sets for the native iPad application are under development and will be released periodically over the next several weeks. “Prioritization of these releases will be dependent on field requirements of Alauras Software clients.” stated Vlad Miloserdov, CEO.

VendAsta and Telmetrics Partner to Integrate Call Tracking

Call measurement provider Telmetrics (www.telmetrics.com) announced a partnership with VendAsta (www.vendasta.com), a reputation management software provider, to help publishers and agencies deliver to advertisers an integrated view of customer intelligence: feedback and sentiment from calls, social networks, blogs and consumer review sites.

Bringing two best-of-breed solutions together, Telmetrics, the leading provider of advertising call measurement solutions, and VendAsta, a reputation intelligence software provider, today announced that VendAsta is integrating Telmetrics’ call-based metrics into its StepRep platform. VendAsta selected Telmetrics to boost StepRep’s offline listening data and provide local search advertisers a more holistic reputation management solution to assess their market presence and the ties to customer calls.

A white-label reputation management solution targeted to digital and traditional publishers with local advertisers, StepRep allows small and medium businesses (SMBs) to monitor customer feedback on social networks, blogs and consumer review sites. StepRep performs automated sentiment analysis on this data to provide a high-level picture of how customers feel about a business and how their sentiments are evolving over time.

With the embedded call data from Telmetrics, StepRep will offer local advertisers insights from VoiceTrends, which auto-transcribes consumer phone calls to merchants and tracks customer intelligence, such as keywords spoken and customer sentiment, in one easy-to-read dashboard.

New Zealand YP Group® signs for ERP advertising system from Miles 33

The Yellow Pages Group (Yellow®), New Zealand’s largest provider of media agnostic, directory style advertising, has signed for the delivery of an ERP advertising and reporting solution from Miles 33. The tightly integrated suite of modules is to be rolled out across Yellow in New Zealand.

The system will serve more than 500 staff and will provide Yellow® with the functionality necessary to manage and deliver its customers’ advertising to various forms of digital and print media.

“Yellow started a long search for the right technology platforms, driven by a business need to build new media channels using Internet and Mobile devices”, says Ken Anderson, Director for Miles 33 in the Asia Pacific region.

 

 

People – October/November

This regular monthly blog sponsored Hawthorne Executive Search is all about people in the Yellow Pages industry. If you have news you want to share about someone that is involved in the Yellow Pages industry (including retirees) that we should all know about, drop us a line and tell us how they are doing. Send your submissions to ken@yptalk.com.

Linda A. Martin:

Local Insight Regatta Holdings/Berry announced that, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer, will take an unpaid personal leave of absence starting on November 1, 2010. Ms. Martin’s leave of absence is expected to last three or four months. During Ms. Martin’s absence, Marilyn B. Neal, Chairman of the Board of the Company and Executive Chairman of Local Insight Media Holdings, Inc. (“LIMH”), the Company’s indirect parent, will temporarily assume Ms. Martin’s operational responsibilities.

Peter J. McDonald:

SuperMedia has appointed s Peter J. McDonald as Interim CEO; Douglas Wheat to Serve as Executive Chairman The Company also announced that Scott W. Klein resigned as Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective immediately.

McDonald has over 35 years’ experience in the yellow pages industry, most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer of RH Donnelley Corporation (Dex One) from 2004 to 2008. He has previously held several other senior roles in the industry, including Senior Vice President and President of Donnelley Media, President and Chief Executive Officer of SBC Directory Operations (now AT&T Directory Operations), President and Chief Executive Officer of Ameritech Publishing, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dontech Publishing, and General Manager of Donnelley Information Publishing. McDonald began his career at National Telephone Directories (one of the predecessor companies that later became SuperMedia) where he was Vice President and General Manager.

McDonald has served on a number of boards, including those of RH Donnelly Corporation, CMGI Inc., and the Yellow Pages Publishers Association, where he served as Vice Chairman.

Bradley Carson:

The Yellow Pages Association (YPA) announced it has appointed Bradley Carson as vice president of operations. In this role, Carson will be responsible for maintaining and developing all of YPA’s systems, products and standards.  Kathy Roush, long time member of the YPA staff and current vice president, will be retiring at the end of the year.

“Brad brings to YPA two decades of industry experience that will help us serve the needs of our members and the industry well,” said Neg Norton, president, YPA.  “We are fortunate to have attracted such high-caliber talent to our team and we all look forward to working with him as we position our industry for success during a time of great opportunity and change.”

Carson’s credentials include more than 20 years of Yellow Pages industry experience, most recently as director and executive account manager of Amdocs from 2003 to 2010. He previously served as executive director at SBC / AT&T Communications, Inc. (2001-2003), where he was responsible for the leadership and direction of AT&T’s IT organization; and as vice president of CIO information technology at Business Trends, Inc. from 1997-1999, where he then served as president from 1999-2001. Carson began his career at Ameritech Advertising Services in 1985 and rose within the company to the role of manager of information delivery and data warehouse.

“I have a strong belief in the work that our industry does to help connect local businesses with consumers,” said Carson.  “I look forward to working with my colleagues at YPA to provide valuable services for our members while promoting industry growth.”

For more information about the Yellow Pages Association, you can go to http://www.ypassociation.org or http://www.insideyp.org.

Michael Ray:

A bright light in the Yellow Page industry has dimmed.  Michael Joe Ray, 57, of Pittsburg, KS passed away recently.  He was one of those people who had a great passion for life and an undying love and devotion to his family. Michael had a true sense of humor and a passion for life.  He never met a stranger. He also was an accomplished drummer and started at age 14 with Conny and the Bellhops, then with Smoot Mahuti and other local bands throughout his lifetime.

Michael was born in 1953, in Pittsburg, KS, and graduated from St. Mary’s-Colgan with the Great Class of 1971. He then attended Pittsburg State University and was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma.  Michael married the love of his life, Jolene Carol Clark in 1989 in Joplin, MO, and they have two great kids, Mason Michael, 18, and Sydney Jo.

Michael was employed by Names and Numbers as District Sales Manager of Southeast Missouri and Northeast Oklahoma.

He will be missed, but definitely not forgotten.