Monthly Archives: January 2011

Spring Industry Conference Update

Given the amount of nasty winter weather that much of the country has been experiencing, it may seem like a little bit of a reach to say that spring is just around the corner. For some it can’t get here soon enough.  Spring is also the time when several major industry events occur.

Here is a short summary of what’s ahead.  You need to get these on your calendar…

BIA/Kelsey – ILM East

At BIA/Kelsey, they are assuming that indeed the snow will eventually melt in Boston, the site for their ILM East conference which will be held March 21-23.  ILM East is a brand new show and follows their recent Interactive Local Media 2010 conference in Santa Clara which had a reported attendee list reaching nearly 700.

The initial program has recently been released. The focus of the conference is the fast-changing local media and marketing environment. This event features two “SuperForums” on: 1) mobile local media and 2) group buying/deal a day. Each of these forums will also focus on where mobile and group buying are headed, with many of the top leaders in each space.

“Hyperlocal” also gets a different spin at ILM East — rather than focusing on community and content, BIA/Kelsey says they are “ready to talk dollars – real dollars”, specifically how some national companies are approaching local search.  Expected speakers include U-Haul’s Elnora Palms and Progressive Insurance’s Matthew Marko.

Now if you are a member of BIA/Kelsey’s LinkedIn group, you can receive special pricing on ILM East registration. Sign up at with promo code ILMEIN and save $200 on the public registration price. The price increases on Jan. 29, so you need to register fast.

Visit for the full agenda, current list of speakers, and online registration.

YPA – Yellow Page Association

Next up is the Yellow Pages Association annual conference which runs April 16 – 19, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Recently YPA announced that Emily White, the Senior Director of Local at Facebook will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s event

White joined Facebook in September 2010 leading Facebook’s efforts on the business side to engage with local businesses and users.  Prior to Facebook, Emily was at Google for ten years, joining as Google’s first person on the Sales and Operations side of the AdWords product.  During her time at Google Emily was responsible for a variety of efforts, running Google’s Emerging business teams, leading Asia Pacific, and Latin America Online Sales and Operations, and Google’s North America AdWords Online Sales and Operations team. Emily also managed Google’s Women’s Leadership Community (WLC), an organization focused on attracting, growing, and retaining top female talent.

Emily was recently named as “One to Watch” in Fortune magazine.  Prior to Google, Emily worked in business development for Achex, a person-to-person payment start up.  Emily is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

Click here to register now and don’t miss any of the dynamic speakers, great workshops and networking opportunities at this year’s conference!

And just remember, it’s in Vegas baby….

ADP – Association of Directory Publishers:

Last but not least, the Association of Directory Publishers hosts its Annual Convention and Partners Trade Show, April 26-28, in sunny Hollywood, Florida (no issues with snow here). With some very specific industry-specific content and what is expected to be the largest industry trade show, this even has become an annual must for yellow pages’ publishers and industry suppliers.

The theme of this year’s convention, Conquering Misperceptions – Crafting New Realities, with the multiple programming tracks driving the convention agenda. One track will focus on understanding, proving, and marketing the legacy value of print; while the other focuses on concrete ways that publishers may leverage their traditional strengths of rich content and local presence into new customers and revenue sources through new approaches. The creative use of Social Media platforms is just one of the topics of track two; how publishers can utilize the power of mobile applications is another.

The Convention opens with Dr. Dennis Fromholzer as the keynote speaker. Dr. Fromholzer is recognized worldwide as a leading expert in Yellow Pages research and analysis. Utilizing authenticated data, he will explain why the future of Yellow Pages remains positive and how it still delivers great value to advertisers.

This convention also includes several networking functions and will culminate with the industry’s Gold Book Awards Dinner and Ceremony, where the Gold Book Publisher of the Year will be announced.

For more information or to register for the convention, contact the Association’s Headquarters at 800.267.9002 or

Sales & Marketing: Promoting Top Sales Reps to Sales Managers? Caution Ahead!

Perhaps you’ve heard the oldest joke in sales:

Q:  What happens when you promote your top sales rep to a manager?

A:  You lose your top sales rep and gain your worst manager.

But it sounds like such a wonderful story and is so commonplace in many companies – promoting successful reps into sales management roles. What can be more wholesome than rewarding your most successful, consistent, and reliable reps with a promotion to the corner office?  In theory, who better to take on more responsibility in the sales organization than someone who understands how to sell really well.  But caution, it’s just not that easy.

I’ve seen various research efforts that suggests that upwards of 75% of reps promoted to sales manager will not last 2 years in the role and will eventually return to a sales position. Why would there be such a high failure rate of sales managers promoted from reps?

Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • They are vastly different roles. Vastly different.  A sales rep role involves hunting for new opportunities (often with high levels of rejection), developing relationships, active listening, negotiating, and closing. Sales management involves very different activities in disciplines such as personnel development — interviewing, hiring, firing, training, cheerleading; but also tactical – tracking, forecasting, analyzing, planning; and strategic, managing  expectations, time and results, both up and down.
  • Many aspects of managing people are more complex than selling – most top reps have developed a system for dealing with the more finite number of sales situations they will be placed in. Managing a team means an evolving number of mechanisms for holding each individual accountable, and then adds the day to day change each person brings to the puzzle.
  • Managing is not for everyone – there is a fair quantity of psychological data to prove that the behavioral profiles of those who succeed in these two roles are dramatically different.  Yes, drive, competitiveness, perseverance, optimism and flexibility are all key traits for both top reps and sales managers. But management also requires a certain type of patience, flexibility, tolerance and communication skills, many of which can’t be fixed through classroom training.
  • The best sales reps are used to moving at their own pace – they are action oriented and use to driving results by ramping up their own direct efforts. Assuming leadership means overseeing a team where (at best) 50% of the reps are below targeted performances, and you need to be able to gear up or down to each. There is a huge temptation to step in, takeover opportunities, and just close business for reps, rather than helping the reps close and to be better closers.

I don’t mean to suggest you should never promote a top rep to the sales manager spot.  But if you were going to hire a successful sales manager, what skills would that you want in that person?  Has that top rep shown any of those skills? Does he want the job (and understand the possibility that he will be making less money?) Is he the one that welcomes the chance to take a new guy out to show him the ropes, help him work on his presentation, coach him on some of the techniques he has found to be most successful for him? And that’s just the personnel side of the role.

To be a great manager you have to be an expert at all phases of management, not just an exceptional sales person. A great example from the sports world would be St. Louis Cardinals baseball manager Tony La Russa. La Russa was a marginal player at best during his playing career (a paltry .199 batting average over 10 year career).  But he continuously demonstrates an ability to communicate with his players, to understand their strengths and weaknesses, to tactically study the opposition in order to put his team in the best position to be successful, and to strategically work with upper management on what he needs to win championships.  As a result he has become one of the winningest managers in major league history.

News U Can Use-January

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

NO RECESSION FOR PET CARE. In 2010, Americans spent $20 billion on vet bills, up 8.5% over 2009 – and that will increase in 2011, because more and more pet owners are paying thousands of dollars to treat pet illnesses that would have gone undiagnosed or untreated a few years ago.   For example, some dogs and cats are receiving pacemaker implants at a cost of $1000 to $1500, while a dog or cat with kidney failure may undergo a kidney-clearing procedure that costs $20,000 to $25,000 for just the first few weeks.   Other examples include a detailed exam, $200-$450; an MRI, $1500-$2500; surgery, $500-$8000; radiation, $1500-$10,000; and chemo, $200-$1000 a month (Smart Money, 1/11).

LOCKSMITH PRICES.     A 2010 price survey of basic locksmith services came up with the following averages (nearly identical to 2009):  service call, $65; hourly rate, $45; auto opening call, $60; fit standard auto ignition key in shop, $50; fit auto transponder key in shop, $92; fit auto sidewinder key in shop, $125; fit motorcycle key, $81; cylinder key-in-knob, $15; make US or foreign single/double cut keys by code, $12-$18; make foreign sidewinder key by code, $58; duplicate US or foreign single/double cut keys, $2.50-$5.50; duplicate hi-security key, $15; and first-key fitting, $32.  Such data can justify listing these services in a YP ad – even for locksmiths who specialize mainly in electronic access and other hi-tech systems (Locksmith Ledger, 12/10).

OPTICAL CONFUSION. In spite of the name, very few eyeglasses these days actually contain glass.   Most lenses are made of plastic for lightness, impact resistance, and overall safety.   And there’s a widening variety of types of plastic lenses – e.g., CR-39s, which are the least expensive; polycarbonate, which are highly shatter-resistant, UV protective, and cost more; high-index lenses, which are thinner, lighter, UV protective, and cost even more; progressive, also known as no-line bifocals; photochromic, which darken automatically in sunlight; and trivex, which are highly impact-resistant.   Several lens coatings are also available, such as for scratch resistance and anti-reflectivity.   A good YP ad for an optician or OD might list and briefly define many of these choices (Consumer Reports, 12/10).

Find out how to be at the top of your sales performance by clicking on

Other recent media/advertising news:

US Ad Spending Rebounds to Over $150 billion in 2010

The Wall Street Journal (link to full article) reports that after a difficult 2008 and 2009, the U.S. ad market will take a step forward in 2010, based on the latest study from ad-buying firm ZenithOptimedia. The company’s projections have U.S. ad spending coming in at $151.5 billion, a 2.2% increase over the $148.3 billion taken in during the previous year.

Let’s hope that this trend also continues into the Yellow Page industry as well.

Don’t Look Now – Online publications are about to edge out newspapers for ad dollars’s blog (link to full article) reports that companies are expected to spend $25.8 billion on online advertising this year, which for the first time will exceed the total spending on newspaper ads, according to a study by eMarketer. Marketers are reallocating dollars because “they see more customers shifting time toward the Web. It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point,” said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey.

Magazines post first ad sales gains in three years

Are we seeing the end of the chill in advertising??  Reuters has reported that the magazine industry has posted its first gains in ad sales since 2007. Ad revenue at consumer magazines climbed 3% in 2010, the first such gain in three years. Time Warner’s People magazine led the way in total ad revenue at $1 billion, while the Food Network magazine was up 174% for the year’s largest percentage increase. Increased auto ads accounted for much of the boost across the industry.

Google, Google, and more Google

Two news items related to Google.  First one: from The Wall Street Journal (link to full article) — It appears that Google is getting into the cold-calling game, reaching out to local businesses with offers of online advertising packages and discounts. The calls are designed to demystify the online-ad buying process for small-business owners.  For example:

One person who has experienced the results is Debbie Codino, a manager at Bob Brown Tire Center Inc. in Portland, Ore. She said she hangs up daily on callers who say they can help boost the small tire shop’s presence on the Web to attract new customers. But when she received a call from a Google salesman last month, she stayed on the line.

Ms. Codino quickly agreed to pay $25 a month to highlight her store and show a 10%-off coupon when people use terms like “Portland tires” in a search on Google. “I was surprised,” she said. “This time it was really Google calling so I was motivated to listen.”

And – ClickZ (link to full article) reports that Google, which is on track to reach some $2.5 billion in display ad sales this year, is positioned itself through various ad products and platforms to take advantage of the growth projected for the segment. Displays are expected to go from $8.9 billion in 2010 to $15.9 billion in 2014.

“Google has rebuilt the infrastructure of a huge part of online advertising,” said Adam Cahill, senior vice president and director of digital media at Hill Holiday. “They’re the guts. It kind of doesn’t matter what the outcome — they’ll be touching it in some way.”

Gen X Cost Cutting Most in Tight Economy

When talking with your potential advertisers, be sure to find out what their products and services demographics are.  According to a recent poll from Harris, GenX-ers (ages 35-44) have taken significantly higher steps than the average American to cut costs.  Some finding from the study:

  • Generic Brands (as a cost cutting measure) has become popular with all ages
    • 62% of US adults have bought more generic brands in the last six months
    • 70% of GenX have bought more generic brands in the last six months
  • Taking a brown bag lunch is the second most popular cost cutting measure:
    • 45% of US adults brown bag it instead of buying
    • 62% of GenX brown bag it instead of buying
  • Gen Xers are likely to take other cost cutting measures:
    • 45% of GenX tend to go to the hairdresser less often against the overall average of 37%
    • 44% of GenX switched to refillable water against the overall average of 37%
    • 35% of GenX stopped purchasing morning coffee against the overall average of 22%
    • 28% of GenX cut back on cable or TV services against the overall average of 22%.

Younger users prefer IM and texting to e-mail

Age warfare?  ComScore has reported that although the use of digital communication tools, such as instant messaging, texting and Facebook, is up across the board, e-mail usage is falling off. The number of unique visitors to Hotmail, Yahoo! and other top sites has dropped 6% overall from its peak in November 2009, and fallen 18% among 12-to-17-year-olds. Gmail, with a 10% growth rate, is the exception to this trend.

But now there is mobile email

MediaPost presented additional data from a ComScore report which shows the online population is getting into the mobile e-mail habit.  Mobile e-mail use was up 36% with a 40% boost in daily usage.  Compare that with the previous news item which showed a modest decline in Web-based products. The trend was most pronounced among users aged 12 to 17 (because Mom and Dad can’t monitor their usage as easy??). Among that group, time spent on Web-based e-mail clients dropped 48% and page views dropped 53%. But keep all of this in perspective — e-mail remains a leading Web activity with 153 million U.S. users accessing e-mail on the Web during November.

People – January

It’s been a busy, busy month for announcements about people in the Yellow Pages industry.  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

Donna Towles:

Dex One Corporation announced the promotion of Donna Towles to senior vice president of operations, effective immediately. Towles, a seasoned executive with a proven track record for driving operational change, most recently served as vice president of publishing and client care.

In this newly created position, which will report to Dex One Chief Executive Officer Alfred Mockett, Towles will direct the modernization of the company’s operational systems to better support the delivery of integrated service bundles to local business customers.

“As we drive transformational change across the Dex One enterprise, having knowledgeable, experienced leaders who understand our operations and underlying systems is critically important to our success,” said Mr. Mockett. “Donna is an invaluable leader at Dex One with a strong understanding of what it takes to drive transformational change across the enterprise. We welcome Donna to the Dex One leadership team.”

During Towles’ tenure with Dex One, she has directed a number of enterprise-wide efforts to drive greater operational effectiveness and efficiencies, improve the accuracy and reliability of the company’s information systems, and develop strategies to migrate legacy processes to a more integrated operating environment.

“The opportunity to add responsibilities and help transform who we are today is very compelling,” said Ms. Towles. “I am very passionate about this business and providing industry-leading service and support to our customers. We have made significant progress modernizing many of our operational systems and look forward to continuing this work in 2011 and beyond.”

Sharon Sweeney:

Effective December 31, 2010, Sharon has left Nationwide Media.  With 29 years in the business and 20 of those years with Nationwide, she indicated that the time is right to move to the next stage begin her new company.

Fairway Group is an advertising agency with its roots in the print medium with growth into the current and future technologies from internet applications and advertising to mobile, social networking, and cable.  The #1 goal of Fairway is to plan, promote, and place advertising with the media that best fits the advertiser’s current and future goals.

Contact information for the new company is:  Fairway Group, 461-1/2 Cochran Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036, Telephone: (323)243-6444

Kathleen DeCaire-Aden:

Effective January 5th, Kathleen DeCaire-Aden has returned to lead SMG’s Directory Marketing unit.  During her eight prior years with SMG Directory Marketing, she was integral to growth of this unit, evolving it to an integrated local directory marketing offering that spanned digital and mobile—harnessing its potential far beyond its print roots.

For this effort, Kathleen is expected to focus on helping clients from MediaVest, Starcom and Spark better leverage the company’s next-generation directory marketing capability across all these areas, as well as mastering the emerging social opportunities in this space.

Atish Banerjea:

Dex One Corporation announced that Atish Banerjea, has joined the company as senior vice president and chief technology officer, effective Jan. 10, 2011.

Mr. Banerjea will be responsible for all information technology, engineering and interactive product development. He will be based at the company headquarters in Cary and report to Dex One CEO Alfred Mockett as part of the company’s senior leadership team.

Mr. Banerjea spent the last 10 years with Pearson PLC, a $9 billion international media group.  While at Pearson, Mr. Banerjea was credited with helping direct that company’s transformation from a print-dominated business to a digital leader. Responsible for the global oversight and management of Pearson’s technology initiatives and systems, as well as infrastructure for Pearson worldwide, he managed a team of more than 1,800, including contractors, with additional oversight of product development groups totaling 2,500.

“Attracting an individual with the talent and experience of Atish demonstrates our ability to execute on a key part of our strategy,” said Mr. Mockett. “We intend to assemble an industry-leading management team to build next-generation technology platforms for our customers and implement the operational changes and growth initiatives that will drive sales and position Dex One on a path to growth.

“With his proven team building skills I fully expect Atish to quickly assemble the world-class technology team we desire for Dex One.”

“There could be no more exciting time to join a company like Dex One,” said Mr. Banerjea. “Dex One’s commitment to become a leader in the digital marketing revolution as it plays out on the front lines — in local communities across the nation — is clear and unwavering. As the opportunity to develop new products and applications with a clear sense of urgency fits my ambition and skills, Dex One best offers me great opportunity and clear potential to make significant contributions to the company’s transformation.”

Prior to his promotion to executive vice president at Pearson in 2005, Mr. Banerjea held positions as senior vice president, technology strategy and architecture and chief technology officer and vice president, systems infrastructure, at Pearson Education.   Early in his career Mr. Banerjea held a full-time tenure track faculty position at the University of Wisconsin as assistant professor, computer information systems (CIS) responsible for teaching all the advanced CIS courses for the undergraduate computer information systems program, as well as conducting research in support of teaching assignments.

Mr. Banerjea is a 1988 graduate of the University of Delhi and also has a master’s degree with a major in computer information systems from Temple University. He is married with two children and will be relocating with his family to the Cary area.

Lois Antelo:

ASEC International has announced that Lois Antelo has joined the company as Director of Business Development.

Lois has been a prominent participant in the Yellow Pages industry for the past twenty seven years, and joins ASEC from United Yellow Pages where she was director of business operations.  Her career at United spans twenty two years where she held positions in national sales, sales management, training, and operations management.

In addition to her responsibilities at United Yellow Pages, Lois has served on the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) board for the past seven years with her most recent position as the Vice Chairman.  She has been involved with several committees including the program committee and the membership committee.

Lois is a graduate of the University of California.  She brings to ASEC an in-depth knowledge of the Yellow Pages industry, strong strategic, business development, and management skills, and an unyielding enthusiasm for this industry.  She can be reached at

Jim Smith:

Jim Smith has joined Valley Yellow Pages as the Central Coast regional vice president, working out of the Aptos office. His region includes Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, San Jose, Campbell, Los Altos, Palo Alto, San Mateo and San Francisco. He has more than 25 years of Yellow Page experience and relocated to Santa Cruz County.

Industry Supplier Update – January

Following is a collect of recent news from industry suppliers:

Local Book Publishing selects Front Door Insights

Front Door Insights LLC. announced that it has signed an agreement to license its software and associated suite of products to Local Book Publishing, based in Midway, Utah.

“We are very excited to have a company like Local Book Publishing, who is widely considered one of the best Yellow Pages publishers in the country, join our platform. We look forward to working together with Local Book to provide their advertisers with new digital media tools and increase the value of their advertising proposal.” stated Tom Tolbert, President of Front Door Insights.

Front Door Insights’ platform includes an industry leading suite of services and intuitive web-based software that can be re-branded for seamless reselling opportunities. Front Door Insights customized “Call to Action” graphics have been developed specifically for print resellers.  These graphics create instant interactivity when incorporated into traditional print advertising and online directories.

“We have been looking for a product that supports and extends the reach of our print product in the digital media space. I believe that Front Door Insights combines their experience in Yellow Pages Publishing with their platform making them the ideal mobile marketing solution for Print Directory Publishers.” stated Bryan Willets, President of Local Book Publishing.

Localeze Makes Searching for Local Business Tweets Seamless by Integrating with Twitter’s New Places API

Localeze announced that with Localeze’s extensive database of persistent ID (PID) numbers, developers working with Localeze can now easily integrate Tweets about a location within their app providing users a more dynamic and social location-based experience.

By using Localeze’s PID numbers, partners can quickly retrieve all Tweets related to a place, giving users more local context about a business. Previously, developers had to search for Tweets, which was a laborious and manual process.

“Our relationship with Twitter enables sharing of geo-tagged content with developers utilizing the Localeze persistent ID, encouraging the proliferation of contextual content,” said Jeff Beard, president, Localeze. “Our local search platform partners continue to benefit from our trusted business data as it becomes the common language for major search and LBS apps.”

With the widest distribution of standardized content to online, mobile and social search platforms in the industry, developers can access the largest set of verified, enhanced business listings data actively managed by local businesses themselves.

Videobar Increases Video Ad Views and Ad Sales for Online Directories

The Videobar, an online advertising unit that plays up to six video ads and increases online advertising revenue for online directory publishers has been introduced by WebShoz, Inc.

The Videobar which can be configured numerous ways, is typically deployed to offer premium placement of video ads at the top of a directory category such as lawyers, restaurants or doctors. It enables the viewer to preview six video ads by simply mousing over each of the thumbnail images. A click on any chosen video will link the buyer to the advertiser’s profile page, website or whatever page the directory or advertiser has chosen.

This same solution can be used to bring video ads to e-commerce sites “above the fold”, helping consumers to shop faster.  Finally, search engines can also deploy the software to bring videos collectively to the top of results with a sneak peak opportunity before committing to a click.

WebShoz is also offering free video ad production to encourage more advertisers to benefit from the Videobar.

“The patent pending Videobar will raise awareness of online video ads and increase the number of video ads played meaning added ‘hits’ to significantly boost leads for advertisers and income for online publishers”, says Alexandrea Day, President and CEO of WebShoz.

Click here to visit a live demo and run your mouse over the thumbnail visuals.

“This is a game-changer when it comes to video ads on the web, particularly for small businesses”, she adds.

“Until now video ads were buried in listings, or appeared one at a time in a banner or linked to, from within a display ad. Now the viewer has a menu of video ads with live-action and previews. The viewer has more opportunities to choose their vendor and the advertisers have more opportunities to impact the viewer. Meanwhile, the publisher is seeing more clicks and more revenue,” said Frank Rocco, WebShoz VP Marketing & Sales.

The first Videobar has just been launched in the SureWest Directory.  And with the Videobar’s ability to draw more attention to video advertising for SMBs, a corresponding spike in video ad sales and a wide network of directory clients is expected. WebShoz plans to expand that network of publishers making video ads available to all its publisher members and also to distribute video ads outside the network and throughout the web.

Another “phone book is dead” prediction

A group called Ron Sachs Communications based in Tallahassee, FL, recently issued a press release with a “stunning” national poll, that “…more than 60 percent of Americans identify the phone book as an increasingly irrelevant source for finding local telephone numbers…” As a result “…its future looks bleak as its obsolescence increases among younger Americans…”

I wish I had a nickel for all these predictions over the last 10+ years.  I’d have more money than Donald Trump…  This poll was supposedly conducted with  1,100 adults as part of another piece of research, but the company offers no insight on how the poll was conducted or the questions used.

Netherless, in the spirit of the recent holiday season, for some ongoing jollies, let’s look at some of their studies findings:

  • Nearly 8 out of 10 people 18-29 years old have no use for the phone book => one of my favorites.  And is that the demographics served by most businesses??  I don’t think so.  How many of you had much money to spend at that age to begin with??  How many of you went thru any of the “life events” which we know drive usage of the print yellow pages during that age??
  • Nearly one quarter of Americans discard their phone books immediately with one third of Americans under the age of 45 reporting they immediately throw away their phone books when delivered to their door => even if these stats are correct, that means 75% of homes keep the books, or for those under 45, 2/3rds have it??  If we compared that to TV viewship, radio, magazines, or any other creative media, what results do you think we’d get there?  Yet businesses continue to toss billions in advertising into each of these media despite their questionable ROI.
  • Nearly half of all respondents expect to use their phone book either much less or not at all in 5 years => Can anyone tell me what the media world will look like in 5 years?  Which devices will we have?  How fast and complete will the internet be?  What’s next after the Internet?  Can you answer any of these even just 3 years out?? How about 2 years?  Businesses advertise in the print yellow pages because they are looking for results NOW, not what may or may not happen in 5 years.  Let the study creator suggests that “…the phone book is on life support and local businesses should expect its death to officially occur some time in the next few years,”.  Bully for you.  I’m glad your crystal ball is that good.  But the reality is that local businesses are only worried about how the next 6 months are going to be for them.

There is no doubt that usage of the print yellow pages is down from what it once was.  We have so many other ways and methods to obtain information these days.  But to suggest that print is dead right now is completely silly.  And even if it was, how does Mr. Sachs think all that stuff about local businesses is going to make to the Internet or our wireless devices??  By osmosis??  No other industry is better positioned to work with small and mid-sized business to help them realize the potential of these many new digital platforms.

No, print isn’t going away tomorrow.  But if, and when its overall usage does drop off, the industry will be ready to help its clients continue to link buyers to those sellers.

Five Reasons Hiring Top Talent May Be More Difficult Than You Realize in 2011

Publisher:  We’ve all been hearing of signs that the economy is starting to turn the corner a little, and that more people are finding jobs. With the start of the New Year, we thought we’d get a sense for what the industry faces in its staffing issues going into 2011.  Who better to turn to then the leading recruiting group for the industry – Hawthorne Executive Search, and it’s President – Robert Hawthorne. Because Hawthorne Search works with such a wide variety of clients both internal to the industry and externally across the greater local search spectrum, Hawthorne gets a unique picture from both the macro level, as well as deep in the trenches during their daily conversations with clients and candidates.  Here is Robert’s view of what 2011 holds for hiring.


Five Reasons Hiring Top Talent May Be More Difficult Than You Realize in 2011

Your business has survived one of the largest economic downturns of the past seventy five years.  You did all the right things, which included reducing staff size and doubling up employee workloads instead of adding to staff when things started to pick up.

Now that you believe the clouds are parting and there may be some growth on the horizon you are ready to hire a few key individuals on your team.  You open up your internet browser and are bombarded with articles trumpeting the 9.8% unemployment rate.

Armed with this information you believe that you can get a Porsche on a Buick budget.  Candidates will be begging to come to work for you and can interview dozens until that magical candidate finally grabs the golden ring.

Unfortunately the reality is far different from this employer driven ideal.  Yes, unemployment remains mired near 10% but you need to think about who you want to hire and keep these five things in mind when looking to hire:

Reason #1 hiring is going to be challenging in 2011:  The unemployment rate for those with a four year degree or higher is under 6%. If you are looking to hire a high school graduate for a line manufacturing job the odds are pretty high you can pick and choose, but if you are looking for a white collar professional with a four year degree or higher in most industries, the true unemployment rate is quite low.  “Full employment” is considered by most economists around 5% and  the current rate is under 6% for those you are pursuing, you can do the math.

Reason #2:  Moving for a job is nearly impossible.  We live in a fairly transient society where many individuals are willing to leave their city for a good job in another market.  During the boom days of the real estate market, it was fairly easy to list your house, sell it, and start a new job in a month or two.  Today, with many individuals underwater on their mortgages and a limited number of qualified buyers available, many professionals are landlocked by their mortgage.  If you are trying to recruit a product manager from your competitor who is based in Dallas to move to your Denver office,  be prepared to either wait for months for that person to sell their house, or be prepared to pay their rent until they can sell the house back home.

Reason #3: The candidates you are pursuing are reading the same articles detailing an uptick in hiring that you read.  They have weathered the storm at their jobs and now realize it might be a good time to explore the market.  Count on these individuals having multiple suitors and not jumping at an initial offer.  Hiring tends to come in “waves” and 2011 may be a wave year.

Reason #4: Individualism now thriving.  Countless articles have been written about professionals who have used their downsizing as an opportunity to start their own business.  I personally know of a dozen or more candidates of ours who have hung out their own shingle in order to make a living.  Yes, some of these folks will jump at the chance to re-enter corporate America, but many will want to maintain their newfound freedom and flexibility.  Getting these folks to jump back into structured hours at a physical office with multiple staff meetings and bosses may not be as easy as you would imagine.

Reason #5: Same as before the employment crash, you are lacking one or more of the 3 C’s.  You aren’t cool, you don’t offer enough compensation, or you can’t help the career climb.  Today’s employee is looking for a growing company in a “hot” market that can help them keep their skills on the leading edge.  In addition they want a salary increase if they are going to leave the perceived stability of their current employer.  Finally, most individuals will want to know where this position can take them in your organization.  If you aren’t paying market rate, have advancement opportunities, or on the leading wave of your industry, you are going to have a difficult time landing an “A” player.

When you and your staff set out to hire this quarter realize that while you may have a great opportunity for someone, you will need to recruit the talent you want, not just select.

Coming Soon: Five Ways You Can Stand Out When Trying To Hire


Robert Hawthorne has been leading a national recruiting practice for the past fifteen years, working primarily with interactive and online media companies, as well as with consumer driven internet organizations.  He can be reached at or (910) 798-1800 x101


Start-up activity to accelerate? Wishful thinking or reality?

Finally back from a long holiday break — great to see family again and spend some time in warmer weather — so why don’t I have an office in Florida??

This news item from our friends at Young & Associates :  they spotted an article from The Boston Globe  that suggests new business start-up activity will accelerate in 2011.

Given how bad New England area got hammered with this recession, is this just wishful thinking or reality?  The article notes that:  “…Venture capital is plentiful, and looking for investment opportunities as big paydays seem increasingly possible..”

Now wouldn’t that be nice.  We are all rooting for improvements in this economy.  We’ve been down in the dumps for too long now.  We’re ready to get back to work, back to a more prosperous business environment, and may even have some people in Congress now that will actually listen to what small business people need and want….