Monthly Archives: November 2011

Still Lost in Seattle — How NOT to Lower Your Municpal Waste Stream

The Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) anti-phonebook mongers were thumping their chests last week that “…more than 67,000 households and businesses signed up to stop phone books in 2011, and you’ve already stopped nearly 300 tons of paper from being used…”  (Source)

So let’s do the math.  The supposed indisputable source of knowledge on the always-correct Internet – Wikipedia, says that there were 258,499 households in the city of Seattle as of the 2000 census. Note:  this is only the city area, and doesn’t include the surrounding areas that may also receive a print phonebook called “Seattle”.  But let’s just use the Wikipedia number so industry critics can’t claim we stacked the results.  Some quick calculations say that’s assuming a 1-to-1 relationship of books to SPU “households”, that only comes to 26% of households that opted out.  However, that really is a slanted, incorrect calculation as we know many homes may receive more than one book, and businesses are not included in that total household count.  The interesting side bar on this is that industry research indicates that 75% of adults use the print books at least once a year.  The SPU numbers, if believable, support that industry research then.  By a 3 to 1 margin, people still like and use the phonebooks.  And this is the media that has been replaced, no one uses, etc., etc. etc., etc.

But wait, we’re not done yet.  You need to further evaluate the “success” of those 300 tons supposedly saved by what it took to achieve it.  As we noted in an August post, during July yellow post cards (ironic choice of color for the card don’t you think) were sent to 280,000 residence and business addresses by the SPU so that Seattleites who “….don’t have Internet access can select their phone book delivery preferences by mail.”  That little direct mail “spam” effort (where are you now Eddie Kohler) used over 4 TONS OF PAPER  How many of those 280K post cards, or 4 TONS OF PAPER do you think will be recycled??   Wonder why the SPU isn’t reporting on that???

Not only that, now the phonebook police are out for more blood (as in revenue for the city):

Did you receive a yellow pages phone book after opting out? If so, you can file a complaint online through your City of Seattle stop phone books account. If you submitted your opt-out request by phone or mail, call our automated phone line at (206) 504-3066 to submit a complaint. Yellow pages publishers will be held accountable, and even fined, if they fail to honor timely opt-out requests from Seattle residents and businesses.

Wow.  Such a “success”.  That’s’ something to be really proud of Seattle.  Instead, SPU and the elected leadership of the city should be embarrassed.

After all this noise and unfair targeting of the Yellow Pages industry, you’ve made virtually no dent in the one thing that accounts for less than one percent of your overall municipal waste stream.  Perhaps now you can focus on the other 99% that is the real problem.

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“It was a small ad, but it worked.”

The pictures are breathtaking and they capture an important time in history.  Photographer Gregg Brown talked with the NY Times recently about his aerial photos of the Ground Zero devastation immediately after the twin towers went down in 2001.  Turns out the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hired him based on a small quarter page ad he had in the local yellow pages.

Brown believes the agency was frantically looking to find someone to take daily pictures of ground zero site to document recovery and removal efforts. While Brown’s photographic background was more along the lines of weddings, quirky portraits, and legal work, he was still confident that he could shoot from above, even if in reality he had never done any aerial work.

His key observation:  “…It was a small ad, but it worked…”

He further talked about the results he got from the ad and why he thinks he got the job:

“We started getting different calls from that ad.  Not just weddings, but head shots and other stuff. Eventually, I split with my partner and took over the business…… Usually, when people are looking through the Yellow Pages for a photographer, they’re at the point that they really need a photographer….I think what did it was the phrase we had: 24-hour rush jobs welcome.”

Now in 2011, has much changed??

  • A small business needs to advertise to reach potential customers.  They can’t find you if they don’t know you are there, and what you provide.  Osmosis isn’t real effective.
  • Yellow Pages, print or digital, are the go to source when you need to find a specific product or service, NOW, a local one, and in a heading in which you probably don’t know a lot about.
  • To attract those potential customers, advertisers need to include all of the RASCIL factors in their ad, or buyers will look past them (see this recent article for more).

This is not rocket science.  It’s about getting ready to buy shoppers hooked up with sellers of those products and services.  Are you helping your clients do that??

 

 

People – November

It has been a very, very active period for announcements about people in the Yellow Pages industry.  This regular 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.

Joe Walsh:

Yell Group announced that Joe Walsh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yellowbook, US, has agreed to step down to “pursue other interests”.  His interim successor is Bob Gregerson, the Group’s Chief Consumer Officer.  Gregerson has a substantial track record in managing and growing worldwide divisions for leading companies, with considerable experience in the launch, growth and transformation of direct sales and ecommerce initiatives. Gregerson will now “…extend his strong understanding and commitment to innovation to the direct benefit of Yell’s SME customers throughout the US….”

Mike Pocock, the company’s Group Chief Executive Officer, commented:  “I wish
to thank Joe for his significant contribution to Yell over the past 24 years.  He has played a key role in the transformation of the Group. Under his leadership, Yellowbook has grown from a small independent publisher in Long Island, New York, to a national leader in local search. Joe and I agree that the time is appropriate to make this transition, as the Group’s business model and marketplaces change. We are now starting to deliver our new strategic
initiatives, built on a successful foundation that Joe helped create. Our
succession process will be thorough and orderly, supported by the strong team
that Joe has built.”

For a recent article about Joe Walsh, click here.

Jenny Ashmore:

Yell also announced the appointment of Jenny Ashmore to the new role of group chief marketing officer.  Ashmore will take responsibility for Yell’s global marketing strategy and oversee its execution throughout the Group’s operations in the UK, US, Spain and Latin America.

Jenny’s appointment supports Yell’s strategy to transform from its established position in providing print and online advertising for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become a leader in the emerging local eMarketplace.

John Fischer:

The Berry Company has picked John S. Fischer the company’s General Counsel and Secretary, as the Company’s Interim President and CEO upon the company’s
emergence from Chapter 11. At emergence, Mr. Fischer will replace current
Interim President and CEO Scott Brubaker, who is a Managing Director with
Alvarez & Marsal. Mr. Fischer will also serve as a member of the reorganized company’s Board of Directors.

“John’s tenure with Berry, his relationships inside and outside of the company, and his understanding of the evolving dynamics of the local search industry make him ideal for this role,” said Mr. Brubaker. “This appointment will provide the company with strong continuity of leadership at emergence, which we expect by the end of November.”

Fischer has served as Local Insight Media’s General Counsel and Secretary since June 2006. In addition to providing legal counsel for all the company’s transactions and major business dealings, he has provided business advice and decision-making as part of the company’s Executive Leadership team. Prior to joining the company, Fischer was Deputy General Counsel at Dex Media, where he focused on securities, commercial and transactional matters, including Dex Media’s $9.5 billion merger with R.H. Donnelley Corporation. His experience also includes serving as Managing Partner, Telecoms, of Logica Consulting, a European management consultancy. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University and holds JD and MBA degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Richard Halle:

The Berry Company also announced the appointment of Richard G.Halle as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Halle has more than 20 years of diverse financial management experience in the financial services sector and with other industries. Mr. Halle replaces Richard Jenkins, also from Alvarez & Marsal, who served as the company’s Interim Chief Financial Officer for the past two years.

“Richard Halle is a highly talented and experienced leader, with a unique combination of financial and business experience,” said Mr. Brubaker. “He has an impressive track record working in all aspects of finance – including planning, forecasting, budgeting, accounting and reporting – and will play a pivotal role on our senior executive team as we emerge from bankruptcy protection.”

Halle is the former Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of the Board of DTN Holding Company in Omaha, Nebraska, a business he joined as it was going through bankruptcy. After that company’s emergence, he spearheaded a successful transformation targeted at increasing revenue and operating profits, and played a key leadership role in enhancing product lines, strengthening value positions, and developing internal mechanisms to respond quickly to market demands and trends.  Prior to joining DTN, Halle was a Managing Director at FTI Consulting, Inc. in Denver, Colorado, where he specialized in analyzing company liquidity, evaluating competition and industry trends, and developing restructuring and sale strategies and proposals. He holds BA and MBA degrees from the University of New Hampshire.

Mark Lane:

The Berry Company announced that Mark J. Lane has been appointed Interim Senior Vice President, Client Services, replacing Kevin Payne, who recently left the business to pursue other opportunities. Mr. Lane has 25 years of sales experience with Berry supporting its independent line of business.
Prior to this position, he served in a variety of leadership and management
positions within the company, including Regional Vice President, General
Manager, Senior Director of Telco Relations and Regional Director. Mr. Lane
holds a degree in Business Administration from Miami University of Ohio.

Kevin Payne:

LocalEdge named Kevin Payne chief operating officer and he will be based at LocalEdge headquarters in Buffalo, NY. Previously, Payne was senior vice president for Local Insight Media, Berry Network and Cincinnati Bell.

LocalEdge CEO Jeff Folckemer said, “Kevin is a pioneer in the digital space and is looking forward to help lead our organization to the next level of digital transformation.”

Rorie Devine:

Devine has left the post of UK chief technology officer at Yell to take on the role of group chief information officer at United Business Media (UBM).  UBM is a
business information services firm which serves the technology, media,
financial services, media, healthcare and automotive industries. The company
owns press release distribution engine PR Newswire, as well as a range of
titles including Information Week and Music Week.

According to Devine, the main attractions of the job are around the way in which his new employer is utilising digital technologies to operate, as well as IT
complexities related to a string of business acquisitions made over recent years.

Scott Moore:

Yell announced the appointment of Scott Moore to the new role of Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Scott will lead the creation and development of Yell’s new generation of products and services that will enable small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers and their consumers to capitalize on the digital opportunity.

Moore joins Yell from MSN where, as Partner and Executive Producer, he was responsible for transforming Microsoft’s online consumer service, turning it into a valuable property which now attracts more than 125 million American consumers every month and drives adoption of Bing, Microsoft’s search service. Previously, Scott was Senior Vice President and Head of Media at Yahoo!, where he led Yahoo! to market leadership in News, Sports, Finance, Entertainment and Lifestyle. Earlier he held senior management roles at Microsoft businesses including MSNBC.com and Expedia Travel. He was also Publisher of Slate, Microsoft’s online magazine. Moore will report to Mike Pocock, Group Chief Executive Officer, and will be based at a new Yell office to be opened in Seattle, WA. The Seattle office will act as a central hub to co-ordinate Yell’s worldwide digital development activities.

Mike Pocock said: “Scott is a highly regarded senior executive with vast experience in building and turning around digital and online properties. At Yell, he will develop and execute the new products and services that will enable our more than 1.3 million SME customers and their consumers to take full advantage of the digital opportunity. Scott’s proven commercial track record and intimate knowledge in this space will bring a new clarity and energy to our rapidly expanding digital portfolio.”

Gretchen Zech:

Arrow Electronics, Inc. announced that Gretchen Zech has been named senior
vice president of global human resources for the company.  Zech will be
responsible for Arrow Electronics’ global human resources (HR) strategy and
operations, and serve as a member of the company’s executive committee. She
will oversee talent and performance management, professional development, and compensation and benefits initiatives for the company.

“Gretchen’s wealth of HR knowledge and leadership experience spanning over 20 years make her the ideal person for this important role,” said Michael J. Long, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Arrow Electronics. “Our people are our momentum, and Gretchen will lead the continued evolution of our global HR and talent programs.”

Zech joins Arrow Electronics from Dex One where she was senior vice president and chief HR officer since 2006.

George Burnett:

George Burnett, chief executive of Alta Colleges Inc., the parent company of Westwood College and Redstone College, will resign at the end of the month, but he will remain on the board of the privately held company, a spokesman said.

Burnett has led Alta and Westwood for the past five years, serving at a time when for-profit schools came under fire for high student default rates and aggressive sales tactics. Westwood’s alleged problems preceded Burnett, but they came to the fore in lawsuits and even a U.S. Senate hearing during his tenure. Burnett didn’t give a reason for his decision to leave his post.

Dean Gouin will replace Burnett as CEO, effective Oct. 1. Gouin is a 15-year veteran at the company, having filled positions in human resources, financial aid, career development services, and student services before becoming chief operating officer of Westwood College.

Burnett was in charge of the phone directory business at telecommunications company, Qwest, now CenturyLink, under then-CEO Joe Nacchio. Qwest was the target of a fraud lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission and an investigation by the Justice Department. Nacchio is serving a six-year prison sentence. Burnett was never targeted by these actions.

When Qwest sold its phone directory, and Burnett went on to become chief executive of Dex Media for a brief period where he led a leveraged buyout, an initial public offering and then a merger with rival R.H. Donnelley, which later went bankrupt.