Monthly Archives: June 2011

Yellow Page Publishers Vow to Continue Fight Againist Seattle Required Opt-Out Law

The Local Search Association released this comment after a local judge again denied the industry relief from the recently passed required opt-out law in Seattle.  The release highlights a number of soild reasons why this law will ultimatley be struck down:

Yellow Pages Publishers
to Fight Court Decision Upholding Unnecessary Phone Book Law

Official Industry
Opt-out Site at http://www.YellowPagesOptOut.com Remains Most Sustainable

Approach; No-cost for
Cities, No Burden for Taxpayers and Privacy Guaranteed for

Residents

SEATTLE – June 29, 2011 – Yellow Pages publishers expressed
disappointment today over the decision by a U.S. District Court judge to uphold
Seattle’s unnecessary phone book law, which is marred by First Amendment and
privacy concerns, duplication, waste, and inefficiency. Publishers plan to
appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Court failed to honor the First Amendment rights of directory publishers and the citizens of Seattle.  The Yellow Pages industry is committed to consumer choice, which is why we launched http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com earlier this year. The route the City of Seattle
has chosen to take is completely unnecessary,” said Neg Norton, president,
Local Search Association. “Seattle taxpayers should be outraged that the City
continues to waste its resources on a system that is unnecessary and, we
believe, illegal.”

Privacy Concerns with Duplicative, City-run System

The industry’s national site, www.yellowpagesoptout.com, offers consumers a number of advantages including privacy protections that Seattle’s site does not provide, an easy to use interface, and the ability to stop delivery of both Yellow Pages and white pages phone books.  Information collected through www.yellowpagesoptout.com will only be shared with publishers for the purpose of customizing their directory delivery records and will not be sold to third parties or used by city governments or their website vendors for marketing purposes. The City has made no such assurances for its opt-out program or website.

“The City is touting the number of opt-out requests it has received though its new website, but isn’t able to indicate whether those stop or reduce-delivery requests were new or duplicate requests from residents who have already opted-out through www.yellowpagesoptout.com or individual publishers’ sites. The industry launched the site to make it simpler for consumers anywhere in the country to stop delivery. A patchwork of duplicative municipal sites does nothing except make things confusing and expensive. It’s hard to understand why the City of Seattle continues to waste its resources defending an unnecessary system when they claim to have consumers’ interest in mind,” said Larry Angove, president and CEO, Association of Directory Publishers.

One National Site is the Sustainable Approach

The industry’s existing site is the most sustainable approach. The benefits include:

  • Protected personal information: Information collected through http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com is used only to allow consumers to customize their directory delivery choices and will not be sold to third parties — the City has made no such assurances.
  • No burden to cities, taxpayers, or city government staff: Industry assumes all costs associated with development, maintenance and promotion of http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com.
  • Greater awareness: One official site will result in greater awareness for consumers across the country.
  • Integration with publishers’ technology systems: http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com works seamlessly with the publishers’ systems; no third-party vendor has the same level of existing    knowledge.
  • Library of directory covers make it easier for residents to identify the directories they wish to keep or stop.

Providing Valuable & Sustainable Local Search Options

This year the Local Search Association issued its second annual sustainability report, which for the first time reflects the internationally recognized Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. Key highlights from the 2011 report include:

  • Directory paper use decreased an additional 8.1 percent in 2010, totaling nearly 35 percent in paper reduction since 2007.
  • The percentage of directories recycled increased to 36.9 percent according to the latest Environmental Protection Agency data. This figure is up from 21.4 percent in last year’s report.
  • A comprehensive website at www.yellowpagesoptout.com that makes it easy to choose to reduce or stop directory delivery.
  • Telephone directories continue to only represent 0.3 percent of the solid waste stream, significantly less than newspapers (3.2 percent) and office paper (2.2 percent).
  • An array of strategic partnerships focused on environmental, economic and social performance.

Local Search Association has also formed a Sustainability Committee to continue developing sustainable business practices that make sense for their stakeholders, as well as to establish new benchmarks for the industry.

To read the full Local Search Association 2011 Sustainability Report, please visit: www.localsearchassociation.org

 

 

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News U Can Use – June

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

CLEANING SERVICES.    Besides great cleaning results, businesses (and homeowners, too) that hire a commercial cleaning service need to have a high degree of confidence in the firm’s reliability and integrity.   As a minimum, evidence of reliability should include the fact that the service is bonded and insured, in case of liability or theft – and where a contract is involved, the service should offer a 30 or 60 day trial period.   According to BuyerZone.com, the
average cost to clean a small office (under 2500 square feet) is $34, while for
10,000 square feet or more, the average is $103 per visit (Inc. Magazine,
6/11).

GERIATRIC CARE.    It’s a burgeoning industry, but with rising costs.   For example, the average annual cost for maintaining an aging parent in an assisted living facility is now $38,000 – and for a nursing home, it’s $67,500.   But surveys show that seniors fear nursing homes more than death.   So the emphasis is now on home care, and several new specialties have sprung up – e.g., certified geriatric care managers, who find affordable or free assistance programs ($80 to $160 an hour); certified aging-in-place contractors, who specialize in home modifications that accommodate seniors; and certified driver-rehab specialists, who have passed courses on elder driver training and safety (Money, 6/11).

SERVICE IS THE KEY.     In a recent phone survey, 22% of consumers said they stopped doing business with a company in 2010 due to poor customer service.   In the same vein, a recent Federal Trade Commission survey found that
70% of US adults are willing to spend more for products and services
offered by businesses with superior customer service.  Indeed, there’s no doubt that in a tight economy with heavy competition, businesses need to offer and give great service – and advertise it aggressively (Research Alert, 5/20/11).

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

Other recent media/advertising news:

 U.S. Advertising to Increase 4.4% in Q1

Kantar Media is projecting that total U.S. advertising expenditures will increased to $32.5 billion in the first quarter, a gain of 4.4% over the year-earlier period. That figure represents the lowest growth rate over the past year, but does follow five consecutive quarters of growth. (Link)

ZenithOptimedia Also Scales Back Global Ad Forecast

Following Kantar Media’s predictions, ZenithOptimedia scaled back its prediction for global ad spending for 2011 from a 4.6% increase over 2010 to a 4.2% increase.  The company cited rising energy prices, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, and political upheaval worldwide for the
change.  U.S. ad spending is pegged to rise only 2.5% to a total of 0$155.2 billion this year. (Link)

TV Ad Spending Estimates Are Optimistic

Two recent items appeared regarding TV ad spending. First, Moody’s Investors
Service believes that political ad spending on TV will reach nearly $3 billion
next year, especially if both presidential candidates choose to forgo federal
funding and its limits. This forecast would be up from $2.3 billion in 2010.  (Link)

Second, a MagnaGlobal forecast predicts that TV’s share of total U.S. ad spending will grow to 38% by 2016.   Of course online ad spending is also expected to grow, reaching a 22% share of total spending, hitting $47.4 billion. The growth in TV and online is coming at the expense of traditional print media — newspapers and magazines, which are steadily losing share.  (Link)

Be Sure Advertisers Know Who They Are Selling To

While most of the marketing news you read would have you think that young males 18-25 are the only group that marketing pros want to target, Stephanie Pappas of BBDO in a New York Times article indicated that the TV industry is taking a new look at audiences over 55, aiming shows where the disposable income is.  “In some ways, they are the ideal consumer.  They have money, they consume loads of media and they remain optimistic.”   Are Yellow Page publishers noticing this also??  (Link)

The other group also being looked at more carefully is women.  Why?  Susan Fabry writing for FastCoDesgin.com indicated that women control 80% of spending in the U.S., and businesses that don’t effectively market to women are “leaving millions of dollars … on the table.”   Fabry offers tips on how to “make this consumer feel understood.” Marketers should acknowledge women, join their circle (especially on the Internet), understand their similarities, respect
their differences and be prepared to grow with them.  (Link)

For that same demographic, according to a survey by Savings.com, more than 60% of Americans have made a purchase from a “daily deal” e-mail, and 35% say they make at least one such purchase monthly, Deals to women lead in actual purchases by about 10 percentage points more than men.  College graduates and high-income households are much more likely to redeem deals than those with less education or lower income. (Link)

Local Radio Seeing Uptick in Ad Sales

Ad revenues at local radio stations will increase 3.7% this year for a total of $15.1 billion, according to recent BIA/Kelsey forecasts. That follows a 5.4% increase driven by political ads in 2010. The firm expects local ad sales, including online ads, to hit $18 billion by 2015.  (Link)

Opt-Out comes to Online Ads

Addressing mounting concerns in Washington over consumer privacy online, Google and Yahoo!  are introducing ad icons that link to tools that allow users to opt out of tracking. And TRUSTe and DoubleVerify are launching similar services that first link to an ad information site. (Link)

Online Continues On Growth Curve

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Spending on U.S. Internet ads rose 15% to $26 billion last year, outpacing traditional media and surpassing newspaper ad revenue for the first time.  (Link)

Then IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that the U.S. online
ad industry enjoyed its best first quarter ever, notching sales of $7.3
billion, a 23% jump over the same period in 2010,. “The consistent and
considerable year-over-year growth we’re seeing demonstrates that digital media
is an increasingly popular destination for ad dollars, and for good
reason,” said IAB chief executive Randall Rothenberg.  (Link)

 

How to become a great salesperson (even if you think you already are)

Think you’re pretty good at sales?  Sure you do.  Since we’ve reached the half-way point in this calendar year, three quick questions then:

  1. How do you know you are good?  Well, I make a good living at it. I’m ranked at the top of my team/division/company in    results.  Driving a new car.  Etc. Etc. Etc.
  2. Any room for improvement? Sure there is.   Probably more than you think. But you are still feeling pretty confident that you can sell through any economic downturn, company changes, etc.
  3. Do you have a game plan to double your sales results, this year?  Double?  Seriously?

Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t have a good answer for #3 or even considered such results.  Most people don’t. A doubling of results in this economy??

So what is the magic solution, the game plan that can bring those kind of numbers in??  Ask for referrals— get every customer you have to recommend you to at least one new customer just like them. There it is.  Yes, even in the Yellow Pages business you need to ask for referrals.  Especially in the Yellow Pages world.

Let me offer some very deep, quantitative research to support this  recommendation:  I have a friend who owns an independent insurance agency.  Now Steve (as we’ll call him for this exercise), doesn’t have a clue what a Google Adword is, isn’t sure how to do email marketing, and the social networking sites?  No chance.

But he did discover that many small businesses within the same  business/industry do talk with each other, hang out together, and might even have family ties.   Two examples:

  • Dry cleaners.  Steve tells me that these business owners talk to each other every day, often play cards together, and hangout/party together.   In the Washington DC area where he is located, many of the owners are Korean and extended family.  They are all in     pursuit of that ultimate American dream and communicate amongst themselves as to how to reach that goal.  Once Steve started doing business with a couple of them, the others have followed, all through referrals.
  • Restaurants:  In what can be a brutally tough business, where any other eating establishments could be competitors, my buddy Steve found that you shouldn’t assume for a second that these business owners don’t communicate with each other more than average.  And especially in the restaurant business, many are extended family members.

How did Steve become successful in his business?? He asks each and every one of his clients for at least one recommendation of a similar business that he can talk with to  share with them the benefits and customer service his organization can provide.  It most cases, they are more than happy to provide that referral.  It also helps when you walk in on that cold call to say that Joey Donuts from over at ABC Dinner sent me.

Now please don’t be confused by the simplicity of this suggestion.  The fact
is we all know that selling isn’t the easiest thing especially in this economy.  So how about a couple of fine tuning pointers on the art of asking for referrals.  Here goes:

Timing, timing, timing:  Give your customers time before you pop the
question. Don’t ask for a referral until you’ve earned it. While it’s
acceptable to ask after a product or service has been delivered/installed and
the client has told you they are satisfied, I still think there’s a better
approach. Use the request for referral as a means of adding value to the
customer’s overall buying experience..

The worst time to ask for a referral is when you are still early in the
sales call, perhaps even doing your fact finding. If the ink isn’t even dry on a
contract yet, odds are good that they haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully form a complete opinion of you or your products. Make sure that their ad copy is correct and approved, and that the contract is complete and accurate before swooping in to ask.  Long-term success in Yellow Page sales has always been about building and maintaining relationships. Making the sale is just the beginning step in that relationship. The referral request comes latter.  But definitely plan to ask for it.

Now it’s personal:  People refer business to you not for business reasons, but for personal reasons. That is why a request for a referral from one of your clients can only come from you. The service you provide is professional, but when a customer recommends that service to someone they know, it then becomes a very personal act. It demonstrates a high level of trust that someone has in you, and that’s not to be taken lightly. Hence, it is important that any referral effort you develop is based on the idea that you value your customers as people first—not as revenue centers.

Mom always taught you to say “thank you”:  And for good reason — forgetting to say thank you is a big mistake…so big that it is in that cringe-worthy category. When you’ve earned the right ask for that referral you’ve been hoping for, and you forgo the opportunity to thank them for that gesture, you risk shutting off that referral pipeline, maybe even permanently.

Write a thank you out, don’t just email it:  When it comes to referrals, there are some situations where a formal thank you is in order. Even though we are in a high digital communication world, I’m not sure an email message is simply enough.  Sending a short thank you card is a lot more personal and sits in someone’s hand, making it memorable in a way that an email simply can never be. When that new referral buys from you, most definitely a thank-you card would be a nice touch, and one that seperates you from all of your other competitors.

If you have other guidelines/suggestions on asking for referrals, post a comment below…

In Evolving Media Landscape, Yellow Pages and Search Engines Are Go-To Sources for Consumers Shopping Locally

Most current research data fully presented by Local Search Association:  http://www.localsearchinsider.org/in-evolving-media-landscape-yellow-pages-and-search-engines-are-go-to-sources-for-consumers-shopping-locally/archives/

 

 

Say Hello to JobJolt

Over the course of the past decade Robert Hawthorne, the President of  Hawthorne Executive Search, estimates he has been asked several hundred times for help by people who wanted career coaching, a resume written, or recommendations of additional websites with valuable career information.  As a search professional hired by companies who need his help to  attract difference
makers to their teams, he did his best to help job seekers, but knew that a real
void still existed.

During his typical day at Hawthorne Executive Search where he would reach
out to 100’s of potential candidates, he has helped many people in their career
search.  Sensing a hole in the market place, he knew that he could help many more with a dedicated resource for employment-based information.  As a result, Robert has just launched Jobjolt.com, an employment portal offering videos, podcasts, interviews and original articles designed to provide job seekers and career minded individuals a competitive advantage in this tough, tight job market.  Those who visit the website will find content updated daily with a fresh, edgy perspective.

We recently sat down with Robert and asked him about Jobjolt, the overall employment market, and the state of recruiting in the local search space.

YP TALK:  Why Jobjolt?

Hawthorne:  I have enjoyed recruiting for the better part of the past fifteen years, but my real passion is helping people.  After searching the wb, I realized that while Career Builder, Monster, etc. provided a value ervice for a candidate to be seen, there really didn’t seem to be a website for andidates to turn to for an “insiders” perspective on job search and career trategy.

YP TALK:  What services are offered on Jobjolt?

Hawthorne:  We offer esume writing, we have an entire series of resume templates and critiqued esumes, and I along with my partners offer career coaching and lead evelopment.  If you are considering a ob move, you need an edge in this tight job market.  You need to understand how the recruiting
world works.  Jobjolt.com provides that edge.

YP TALK: Has the way people search for a job really changed that much?

Hawthorne:  Obviously the days when you would grab the Sunday newspaper to look through the ‘help wanted” ads have been replaced with online job listings and resume submissions.  I’ve noticed that with this tough economy, there are many people who haven’t need to look for a job in 5 or even 10 years and are now out searching.  Many don’t even have a resume together.   It is a very different market from the last time they were searching for a job.  Jobjolt.com is
intended to be a resource to help level the playing field, even if you are not
a job-hunting expert.

YP TALK: What do you see in terms of the job market moving forward?

Hawthorne:  It is a tale of two economies.  If you are a specialist, in new media, or online information, or a specialized software, life is good.  Jobs are available and companies are scrambling to find you and will woo you to join their team.  In the broader economy, however, companies are trying to avoid adding to headcount, and unfortunately, I don’t see it changing any time soon.  For the jobs that are available, you’ll probably be competing against multiple candidates.  In that situation, you need to be fully prepared to stand out from amongst the crowd.

YP TALK:  What about the local search space?

Hawthorne:  Overall, things are pretty strong compared to other industures.  We work with companies in local search, and mobile local as well as publishers and agencies.   On the “new media” side, there is a good amount of hiring, especially with anything tied into daily deal.   Almost everyone seems to be launching a daily deal offering, so we see lots of requests for sales, marketing, and executive talent.

YP TALK:   What are some of the most common mistakes
you see on resumes?

Hawthorne:  You would be surprised, but we see grammar errors all the time as well as spelling mistakes.  This is an instant game ender for many companies.  In addition, we see people who don’t really explain why they are special or a standout.  If you are a sales person, your resume had better have numbers on it.  If you are an IT person, you should have all of your programs and languages.  Many times people don’t effectively “sell” themselves.

YP TALK:  What is the best way for a company to attract
top talent?

Hawthorne:  A dedicated recruiting firm is going to get the best results, the quickest results.  If you have the time and resources, you can try to mine LinkedIn where you can reach out to countless people at your competitors for almost the same cost as any job opening.  If you don’t have the staff to do that, find a recruiter who knows your market.  Your time is worth money.  An unfilled
position is usually an even big loss in profits forgone.  Sure, you can just post jobs on a job board like Monster or CareerBuilder, or heaven forbid Craigslist, may yield some resumes, but not the A level, “impact players” for your team.

How Paper is Made — Did You Know??

We first featured the Nippon Paper Industry plant based in Port Angles, WA, about an hour outside Seattle, back in 2008:  How Paper Is Made.  While the plant has made several tweaks in the process since we visited it, the overall steps are still the same.

Well all of sudden, the newspaper media has just discovered the plant, in this
latest article on the last paper mill in the US
.

It has rankled me for some time that the industry is not trumpeting this plant in particular, highlighting some of the key notables about how the industry gets its paper.  At a time where the perception is that too many directories are printed, it would seem obvious that the industry must be rapidly neutering forests all over the planet.  The reality is very much the opposite (and a point this most recent news story sadly missed).  The fact is the industry doesn’t need to use virgin lumber for its paper as there is enough saw dust/residual from the milling of trees for the lumber we use in our builds, combined with recycled material which includes recycled phonebooks, and even throw in a little garbage from the city of Seattle (see pictures in the YP Talk article).  Yet despite all of this, the supposedly knowledgeable city government leaders have decided to pursue an opt-out strategy , they bad mouth the industry as not caring about our eco-impact, and totally ignore the 200 good paying jobs and commerce just this one effort generates for the small town it is located in.  Instead, they want to make print
yellow pages the piñata for some phantom “green” surge underway.

So next time you hear a paper athiest complain about Yellow Pages paper, give them the facts…

A Time To Lead…

I had a call recently from a very frustrated sales manager who works for one of the large publishers that has been struggling.  He wanted to know what was going on in the industry, and what I thought the future looked like.  Despite his many years in the industry, clearly he was dismayed with the current state of affairs.  It’s a conversation I‘ve had with more than a few of you lately.

The more we talked/complained about the growing perception that print is dead, the rising onslaught of out-out/opt-in legislation aimed at the Yellow Page industry, and a host of other issues facing the industry, I realized it was time for a reality check.   While I have no special crystal ball, several things seem clear to me:

  1. If you are expecting a large media advertising blitz from the industry associations to remind the world that print Yellow Pages are
    still the most powerful local advertising and shopping tool across all media, I hate to tell you, it’s not going to happen.
  2.  If you expect that the paper atheists who see our print
    products as the source for the environmental issues on the planet, to suddenly get it and realize that print Yellow Pages are less than one percent of the typical municipal waste stream, and that the industry uses waste products (not virgin wood) to make our paper, your prayers are not going to be answered.
  3.  If you are waiting for your publisher company to
    initiate a significant TV, radio, and billboard campaign talking about the ongoing, verifiable ROI value of a Yellow Pages program, don’t hold your breath.
  4.  If you’re expecting your sales trainers or senior sales leadership to provide you with some magical bullet that’s going to make every small business fling open their doors and shout with glee that today is the day I’m going to get excited about the opportunity to buy Yellow Pages advertising, hell will probably freeze over first.

Now is definitely a time for each of us, individually, to the take the lead and stop waiting for someone else to resolve all of these issues.  To survive, to prosper, it’s
time to take the initiative to move things ahead in your world, your little
part of the industry.  As a former manager once told me – don’t try to boil the ocean, just make your part of it better.

Let’s start some basic meat and potatoes strategies.  My observation has been that those reps who continue to be successful in this industry despite an extended economic downturn, despite significant issues within their own company (such as bankruptcies), and despite the perception that print Yellow Pages are dead, are the reps that still do a couple of very simple  things really well:

  • They turned doors. Could you imagine the impact if every sales rep in this industry could have one more discussion each day with a small business about the ROI they can receive our Yellow Pages
    program? Just one more.  One. Assuming a typical industry ratio of one sale for each 10 doors opened, if every rep in the industry made the effort each day we would see an immediate 5+% plus increase in total industry revenues. Can you imagine what that would also do to each reps income?  Net net:  they can’t buy from you if you aren’t talking to them.
  • They don’t wait for corporate. One rep shared with me how they spent their own money to buy thank you cards for each of their advertisers, and then over a weekend (when the weather wasn’t very
    nice) they wrote out personal thank you cards to each of their advertisers for a recently delivered book.  Not long notes,
    but short personal messages thanking them for their business. This rep even paid for the mailing costs to send the thank you notes out. Would it surprise you that the new/additional orders that this rep received from appreciative advertisers resulted in a 15-fold commission increase vs. his out-of-pocket costs? Why are you waiting for someone from marketing to suggest/require that
    you implement such a program?  How do you think your advertisers would respond if you sent them a personal note?
  • They provide their own air cover. Even if your publishing company isn’t doing TV or radio or billboard advertising, have
    you thought about getting together with several of your fellow account executives and grabbing a booth at the next local small business Expo or home show? If you do the ROI on this one, it only takes one or two new sales to more than offset your cost for this effort.   Isn’t it time you start investing in your own career, your own future??
  • They tell real-life value stories. In YP Talk I have covered a range of situations where those print Yellow Pages have been
    invaluable to me. For example, the case of the broken garage door opener (link), replacing a floor (link), or finding a local carpet cleaning service (link).  Don’t you have several real-life stories of
    your own just like these? Then why aren’t using them in your sales presentation when the objections come up that no one uses print Yellow Pages anymore?  If you and 3 other reps got together, combined your actual, real life experiences, don’t you think you could put together a killer testimonial handout to use with non-advertisers?
  • They understand that the RASCAL factors still
    work.
    It doesn’t matter whether were talking about print or digital or mobile, if that business doesn’t have those factors in their advertising, they are going to lose out on business.  Do you run down that list of RASCAL factors with each potential advertiser that you’re working with? Why not?

The time is come for the 50,000+ people who make their income in this industry to get over it, and to individually stop waiting for some magically event to occur, and start rowing on their own. There are no white knights anymore that are just about to come charging down the hill to save the day. Instead, it now requires each of those 50,000+ people working a little harder to move the needle forward in their little corner of the world.

Now the list of suggestions above was very sales centric.  However, all of you that work in this industry that think your aren’t in sales, really are.  You just aren’t  commissioned for it.  While at the kids soccer game or during that Saturday barbeque when someone starts complaining about the fact that they just
got “another Yellow Pages today”, how do you respond?  When you favorite ”green” sister goes on a rant about how print Yellow Pages are neutering the earth and destroying the forests, do you politely take the time to correct the record for her?  When you do business in the local store, do always take the opportunity to remind them that it was a good thing they had that ad
in the Yellow Pages, or you probably wouldn’t have found them?

Together these individual efforts will help things move forward much better and much quicker than any multimillion-dollar TV ad program, which we already know isn’t going to happen anyway.

It’s a time to lead.  Will you take the first steps?  Let me know more about what you are doing at ken@yptalk.com.