Monthly Archives: February 2012

Separating Perception from Reality – Truth is Power….

“No one uses print Yellow Pages.”  “Everyone uses a mobile phone, or just does a Google search to find information.”  “Why are these books still being printed when no one ever uses them?”

Sound familiar?  How can a publisher, a sales manager, or a rep respond to this constant barrage of wild assumptions they face?  The answer is fairly simple – separate the facts from the perception …in a believable and compelling way.

The best way to do that is to engage a company like Market Authority, to help get to those facts. Market Authority offers irrefutable data, analysis and reporting on how people really look for a local business when making a buying decision. Then they bring this data to you and your sales people in a very powerful sales training. The research fully dispels the prevalent “urban myth” that the Internet is the only source for local search information.

I know, this sounds too good to be true.  But consider that Market Authority has conducted interviews with over 270,000 consumers across the world in the last 20 months, studying their technology and media habits, especially when they are looking for a local business.  The sheer volume of this research has certainly been the largest and most extensive directional media study ever performed on this issue.

Now if you‘re like me, you are always suspicious about the research methodology that is used since the worst thing that can happen is to go to market with data that has been skewed or fudged.  I challenged Steve Sitton, the CEO of Market Authority on this very issue.  His response was reassuring:

“…Our team utilizes state-of-the-art research techniques, statistical analysis, and normalization to gather accurate data.  To start, the phone numbers are randomized. We make the line of questions as concise and neutral as possible.  We conduct the interviews over the most neutral device possible …the phone. Obviously, you can’t do this type research just on the Internet since the results would be ridiculously skewed towards the digital side, which is why these other studies keep showing that digital usage is so over stated.”

When you get to see the results, they are clearly shocking.   “The misconception that print yellow pages is dead is prevalent all over the industrial world,” said Sitton.  “While more and more people are using the Internet either from a terminal or a smartphone to find SMEs (small to medium size businesses), the reality is, print yellow pages still remains the dominant way consumers are finding a business in the US in 2012. This is also true in the UK and Australia.”

Market Authority then takes this data to the critical next level that local businesses still need to hear:  Approx. 65% of all money currently being spent in the US by local consumers is finding its way to those local markets through print yellow page products. Yes, that percent has been coming down in recent years, but the print products still rule.

These results support the argument of just how destructive the efforts are by the city of San Francisco (a local government that has a political agenda) to require opt-in for printed phonebooks, because they assume that no one uses print. (Sitton calls this ‘the virus of misperception’).  Market Authority has recently completed an exhaustive study of the San Francisco Bay area which shows that nearly 70% of residents still use a printed phonebook at least some of the time. That same study shows that the average person living in the Bay Area thinks print is only used by 20% of the people. The reality of print usage is more than three times that of the perception.

“The bottom line here,” says Sitton, “is the study indicates that currently nearly 50% of money spent as a result of a direct search for a local business on the part of San Francisco Bay Area consumers comes from a look-up in a printed directory. To seriously impede distribution of printed Yellow Pages directories (through opt-in legislation) would surely cause a vast reduction in the effectiveness of the current most cost effective means of gaining new leads for San Francisco Bay Area businesses. This would be damaging to locally-owned small and medium businesses, especially in this precarious economy.”

Given the current wave of anti-print noise that many consumers are experiencing, we asked what the company does to quantify the whole value of a print directory with an opt-out/opt-in question in their research.  Sitton indicated:

“We asked people in the San Francisco Bay area who report using a printed directory; (68% of the total) if a phone book were no longer automatically delivered and they had to make a call to receive one, would they do so? Nearly 50% said they would not make that call. This implies that print would lose a high percentage of its greatest fans overnight in a Opt-in world.”

Results in the UK where tilted about 8 points more towards digital, but remember their starting point was very different than it was in the US.  Currently many publishers there are already close to a 50/50 split on print/digital revenues, which Sitton says, “Is more because they’ve undersold the print than that they have effectively sold the digital”.

Steve Sitton brings an interesting background to this effort.  He has been in the directional media business for over 25 years, owning and operating 5 different Yellow Page companies during his career as a publisher.  While leading Golden State Directories in California, as early as 2007 he started to hear about the Internet from advertisers.  Immediately advertisers already thought that 50% of the money they were getting was from Internet searches.  The company started some initial research where they interviewed 1500 people door-to-door about whether people were using print or Internet. The results were so over the top in favor of print, it was alarming.  In 2007, nearly 90% of the leads businesses were getting were still coming from the print Yellow Pages.  Internet was only generating less than 12%.

Market Authority, Inc. was founded in 2009 by Steve Sitton.  Using his industry experience, he shaped the research methods to exacting efficiency. All markets they research are scanned for behavioral, demographic, technological, and directional media usage patterns. Market Authority, Inc. performs and records the research, gathers and analyzes the data, with state-of-the art precision; and now is able to define the roles the Internet and print play in today’s directional media industry.

Market Authority, Inc has also become an industry leader in training.  Sitton says: “We are a sales empowerment/market research company. That is a new mix…and it really works. I believe we have the most powerful Yellow Pages training in industry history.”  To date, Market Authority has studied over 300 cities.  Sitton and senior trainer, Layne Snyder, have conducted nearly 170 trainings with over 6500 sales people and managers in the US and the UK.

Given this shift in usage, we asked Sitton where he thought the industry should be heading.  His analysis about what to do with print was simple but direct:

  • Use larger type so that Baby Boomers and Senior’s can read it. Tag this on the cover.
  • In high tech areas, reduce  copies by target-distributing only those over 45 years old. (Let younger people who want a book pick them up at drop points). Use the money saved by  the reduction to make a better product for 45+ people.
  • Research all your markets  and share this research vigorously with every advertiser.

He commented deeper on these suggestions:

“The key for print is not how many people are using it, but who.  If you look at how business owners target the market, they are generally less sophisticated on the demographic breakdowns.  That’s when the sales rep needs to use these results to help the business owner focus their advertising spend.  Nearly 70% of the dollars spent across all size markets in the US are coming from Baby Boomers and Senior’s who still use print to find a business nearly 70% of time (on the average). This is the 70/70 rule. It means, even in urban areas (like San Francisco), a significant amount of money is still coming from print.  The advertiser needs to clearly know who they are selling to and who is their target.”

About Market Authority, Inc.:

Market Authority combines the most targeted print/digital research in the world and the most effective sales training in Yellow Pages industry. Sales reps will understand how to quickly and powerfully get the message across to business owners.  As former Yellow Pages publishers, Market Authority understands what empowers sales representatives, and what closes more sales.  Our nationally successful program renews your confidence and shows your sales representatives how to leverage the results in their local markets. Learn More…                       

For more information on Market Authority, Inc.’s market studies, contact Kari Simpson, at 816-537-7950.

Is advertising in the Super Bowl really worth it??

One of the questions I have been asking for years is whether advertising at the Super Bowl is really worth it.  There is no doubt that this annual event, almost a holiday onto itself now, has a huge viewing audience. The commercials that run during the game have almost become an event onto themselves, and have occasionally been more entertaining than the game itself.  For days after, they are analyzed, rated, and commented on year after year after year.  But does that mean that spending over $3,500,000 on average for 30 seconds really results in more sales?

The raw viewing numbers are huge.  For this year’s event, NBC (Nielsen actually) estimated an average of 111.3 million total viewers tuned in to watch the underdog New York Giants hold off the New England Patriots 21-17 in a seesaw game that went down to the final moments.  Another calculation was that an estimated that 177 million viewers, or more than 56% of the current U.S. population, watched at least six minutes of the game. For comparison, that “reach” was  comparable to an entire cycle of the Olympics, spread over two weeks of days/nights.

However, even with those numbers, is it really worth it?  When you consider that over 300 million people live in America, that means just 35% of the country tuned into the game (and the commercials).  And if you were at a Super Bowl party, how many of the people there really watched the game or the commercials closely?

In past Super Bowls, one of my criticisms of the advertising was I saw little connection made between spending those millions and actual sales generated.  You will find very little solid evidence that companies actually measure sales as a result of the advertising.  Instead, they will talk about eyeballs, reach, CPM’s, and all kinds of things that marketing people and ad agencies will use to justify spending the money.  You should also note that the $3.5 million cost of the ad this year does NOT include the production costs to make it.

For example, the online website registration company of “Go Daddy” has become well known for their solicitous, high sexual in nature ads.  Here is the best “results” I could find about how well their ads translated into actual sales (I added the underlining to key comments):

“…Go Daddy says that Go Daddy’s “Body Paint” ad accounted for a tremendous Internet spike during the game that coincides with a peak point in Web traffic, as reported by Akamai Technologies, a company that monitored Internet usage during the Super Bowl. Go Daddy did not reveal though how big of a spike we are talking about...”

Notice they do not say how many actual sales results from their ads.

The good news for marketers is that with the advent of newer technologies such as mobile text marketing and Twitter, companies can now get some immediate indication of the impact these ads had.  For example, this year on an ad shown during the game, the National Football League asked contest participants to text a message to register for a $1 million contest running next season. The “NFL Perfect Challenge” contest drew 1.7 million text-message responses. The NFL says the “…conversion rate was higher than the industry average….” (Source).  Once again, I see words like “conversion rate”, but not the words “sales”.  I was one of the 1.7 million that did join the contest.  I got one text message back from the NFL but haven’t heard a thing since then.

The other quick response darling, Twitter, said they hit a peak of 12K tweets per second during Super Bowl (Source).   Two questions from that factoid:  1) did any sales result from all of those tweets?, and 2) does anyone ever just talk to anyone any more (or is my age just showing)??

So next time you are with a potential Yellow Page advertiser (as in print, online, or mobile) ask them whether they would love to advertise at the Super Bowl (assuming that money was not an issue).  When they start foaming at the mouth, take them thru a reality ROI calculation vs. your product and help them come back to earth.  Because at ROI’s of AT LEAST 10-to-1, nothing beats Yellow Pages (again talking print, online, or mobile).  Not even the Super Bowl…

View From The Corner Office – An Interview with Oscar Sousa Marques, CEO of Directel Macau Ltd.

View articles are intended to be limited to interviews with the most senior  leaders in the industry.  This month we continue the series in a recent interview with Oscar Sousa Marques, the CEO of Directel Macau Ltd.

If you have the chance to visit Macau, you should jump at.  The small island has a rich history dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC).  Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December 1999 to China. Macau (Chinese: 澳門), is only 29.5 km(11.39 sq miles) in size and with a population density of 18,428 persons per square kilometer is the most densely populated region in the world.  95% of Macau’s population is Chinese; another 2% is of Portuguese and/or mixed Chinese/Portuguese descent.  The country in addition to Hong Kong, is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China.  Location wise, Macau is situated about 60 kilometers (37 mi) southwest of Hong Kong, or about an hour’s ride from Hong Kong on high-speed hydrofoils, which run about every 15 minutes each way during the day.  The territory’s economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, with the gambling industry generating over 40% of the GDP of Macau.  Currently there are 30 casinos, several of which should be familiar to those of you that visit Las Vegas:   Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and a partnership with the MGM Mirage.

Directel Macau is the only true multi-platform yellow page publisher/media company in Macau. In less than a decade Oscar Sousa Marques has lead the company thru an evolution transforming them from a Yellow Pages print only focused company to a multi-product advertising consulting company connecting buyers and sellers.  Its products include the official Macau Yellow Pages published under contract from CTM – Companhia de Telecomunicações de Macau, the local telecommunications company, which mostly serves the local population.  Because of the increasing influx of visitors to Macau, the company has added a number of tourism-related products such as the Macau Tourist Guide, the Macau Tourist Map, the Macau City Map and the Macau Leisure Time (3D-Map).  Its online strategy includes multiple websites, such as (Yellow Pages website) and (online tour guide).  To support advertiser transition to these digital products, the company also provides web hosting, web-design and mailing lists services.

Oscar Marques started with Portugal Telecom in 1994.  He has had assignments in Vienna, Portugal, and then launched a new Yellow Pages effort in Uganda.  In late 1998, he was asked to go to Macau and has been there ever since.  He is currently the President of ADPAI – the Asian Directories Publishers Association Inc.   He has degree in Economics from the Universidade do Porto.

YPT:  Give us some background on how the company is structured?

Marques:  The company was originally owned by Portugal Telecom, the Portuguese telecom incumbent, until late 2007 when it was divested and acquired by some local investors that included the management team, myself and Filipe Santos who had been the Asian Director at that time.  An investment group, Macau Ignite Media, then later acquired 49% of the new company, so we have a diverse but experienced management team and Board.

Currently Directel has a little over $2.5 million in revenues (US) from a committed and enthusiastic team of about than 30 people, who work in an environment that encourages responsibility, teamwork, innovation and success. Our sales team has a deep knowledge of the local business community and are thus ideally positioned to serve it efficiently.

YPT:  Tell us about your current product mix and what new products are you working on? 

Marques:   When I first came here we had just the Yellow Pages so we have certainly broaden our portfolio.  Print yellow page products still account for 50% of our revenue.  We have an existing contract with a local telco which includes both white and yellow pages in English and Portuguese versions.  We also publish an English and Portuguese print yellow pages with just business white page listings, as well as a Chinese version.   We also still do a “fax” directory which actually has more emails and website addresses than anything thing else in it.

For the travel and tourism segments, we work closely with MGTO, the government agency that is involved in tourism.  In print products for this segment, we have hotel versions of the yellow pages with a reduced heading set and in both a larger and small trim sizes (so they will fit in the bedside draws in the hotels).  We use a high quality paper in the hotel products, which allows us to compete with local magazine advertising.  We have several tourism map products in several languages.

Our digital product set includes several different websites, and services to help businesses that don’t have websites already built.  We are currently developing online 3D mapping solutions as well as local mobile search technology that will deliver new and more versatile products and services in the very near future.

YPT:  That’s a pretty robust number of products.  What challenges does that present to your sales team?

Marques:  Directel currently has 30 people about half of which are in sales achieving a little over $2.5 million in revenue (US).  We have a natural monopoly here on print Yellow Pages.  But we do have competitors on the map products so we have to be creative in how we bundle our products, both print and digital, to provide a true value for the advertisers.  We have added several different languages to our tourism products including Korean and Japanese.  We are considering another version in the Indian language.

Online we have multiple websites and languages and even social media products.  Our online strategy is to be the overall portal that people come to for a range of products.  We have begun integrating Groupon/coupon type features into the online products and expanded services such as allowing people to purchase tickets and other items.  All of this allows us to help position any small business for all of their advertising needs, not just yellow pages.

One newer service we have been offering is website creation in coordination with a local government department who sponsors up to 70% of any costs involved in creating a website.  From the website, we can help them evolve in Facebook, mobile and other features.

YPT:  What is the biggest challenge you have with your sales team?

Marques:  There are actually two.  One is finding good talent.  We are facing a large challenge in our recruiting efforts.  We are actually lucky to have low turnover in our sales team but it is becoming more difficult to recruit top people as unemployment is at 2.3% here, mostly due to mostly to restrictions on amount of immigration to Macau.  This policy has really hurt other small companies here even more.  Originally it was designed I think to prevent the casinos from sucking away all of the local talent.  But a lot of small businesses such as restaurants are telling us they are closing sections of their business because they can’t find enough wait staff, cooks, etc.  This of course then impacts how much advertising they want to do.  Of course, we are all competing with the casinos for staff, so we have to offer the full range of holidays, very competitive pay, and lots of benefits to keep our people.

The second challenge for sales is having the sales reps evolve to be solutions providers for smaller businesses, and not just be an order taker.  The market has certainly evolved and our products have evolved to match those changes.  The bigger product set results in a more complicated sale for reps.  We have found that developing new products hasn’t been that difficult, but getting the sales reps to embrace it and sell it can be the biggest issue.

YPT:  How have you had to change how your train and equip them to be successful in the market?

Marques:  Our sales reps now all have laptops.  This year we may move to Galaxy tablets.  We have to use tablets with the Droid operating system since we still have a lot of clients that have Flash video in their websites.    We would like the reps to average 4-5 visits a day but between the complexity of the product and getting around in the traffic here in Macau it isn’t easy.

On assignments, we do have reps follow themselves into sales they have made the prior year.  The biggest change is that we are moving to a full year relationship with our clients and away from specific product campaigns.  Instead the rep will visit their advertisers 2 or 3 times a year and just manager their overall spend over the course of the year, not by campaign, but more in groups of products that are closing.  Relationships are culturally very important to business people here.  It is a big part of the culture.

YPT:  Has your business changed any since the changeover from the Portuguese to the Chinese?

Marques:  In many ways, business has actually been better for us since the handover to the Chinese.  Things have been more stable and reliable.  We have an excellent relationship with the local government groups here, and that really did change since the handover.

YPT:  Who was the biggest mentor in your career?

Marques:  First and foremost, my parents who, with their very different career paths, showed me that if you work and persevere you will get what you want.  In the Yellow Pages industry, I have to mention Rodrigo Teles da Silva and Mário Domingos from Directel Group in Portugal as well as José Saldanha from Kenya Postel Directories. All helped me a lot when I first took over Directel Uganda with very little experience in both management and the yellow pages.

YPT:  Do you still believe there is a career path in the yellow pages industry, and if so, what does that look like?

Marques:  The industry has definitely morphed into something that would have been difficult to recognize as Yellow Pages just 3 to 5 years ago but there are always opportunities when you are serving local SMBs. The traits that will guarantee you a successful career are now the ability to serve your client with whatever product or service you have, the willingness to embrace change and positive thinking. You have to listen to your market and adapt or come up with new products that really meet your clients’ needs and not be afraid of cannibalizing some of your existing ones. The fat EBITDA margin periods are gone but as long as there are SMBs, that we invest in our database and sales capacities we should be able to succeed.

YPT:  How do you keep the company current on what is happening in the industry?

Marques:  Directel Macau has been a longtime supporter of ADPAI – the Asian Directories Publishers Association (  ADPAI is the non-profit association that comprises of companies that are involved in the directory business in Asia. It establishes a forum for members to meet on a regular basis to exchange knowledge, experiences, information and ideas, establish standards and practices for the industry in a spirit of mutual interest.

The association is now evolving to be more open to all publishers in the area, as well as online operators and other similar type providers.  We have some members that don’t even have print Yellow Pages.  And if you look at our product line we’ve been doing things like maps and tourist guides for many years now.  We are morphing into media companies, not just Yellow pages publishers.

YPT:  Where do you see the future of your business going?

Marques:  We believe that publishers need to understand how important their database of information is.  We have the best database in Macau. In the past two years we have been building that database going beyond just name, address, and phone number to including company information things such as hours of operation, whether the restaurant is open for lunch, easy to park, is the business is kid friendly, things like that.  We’ve even been using temps to add to that database beyond what our sales people collect when they go visit the advertiser.  That database is the real difference between what we can offer and others.  We will also start adding geocoding information too.  We have found that the Google info often isn’t as accurate as people think it is.  With all of that information, we can syndicate it to others while keeping the relationship with the advertisers.  I think this is a very important thing that publishers need to understand about their business to help shape their future.

Pablo knows: Lifetime of Smart Phones over 11X MORE Environmental Impact Than Lifetime of Phone Books.

Last February, as the industry was at the peak of fighting the anti-print eco nuts, we took a deep dive into what really goes into all of those high-tech devices we all now can’t live without, focusing on exactly what happens when people discard them (regularly) and move on to the next device.

In the Dirty Little Environmental Secrets Print Haters Don’t Want to Talk About article, we revealed some alarming stats:

But only about 14% of the computers components and materials can actually be recycled into usable materials. What’s in E waste?? Among the many hazardous materials harmful to human health and the environment are: lead, mercury, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, to name just a few (for more, go here). EPA numbers indicate that only about 18% of the 3,000,000 tons of used electronics in the US are actually recycled. Let’s compare that with EPA’s estimate that 57% of the paper consumed in the US was recovered for recycling in 2008.

The silence from our critics was deafening.  I never heard from any of them.  Not a one.

As we are in the midst of a heavy time for delivery of books, the din from the haters has again swelled. The new comers to the anti-phonebook team love to jump in with all kinds of pronouncements (most without any factual basis) that phonebooks are killing the planet in so many ways.  But its refreshing when you get to see something online who actually gets it right.

The website has a regular writer Pablo Paster, who actually did his homework recently in this blogAfter calculating the impact of an annual directory, he then compared the environmental impact to a digital alternative — the much treasured iPhone.  The conclusionthe carbon footprint is 3.1 kg CO2e per phone book.  Over a lifetime of phonebooks, that would come to 186 kg CO2. Using just an iPhone, it has 70 kg CO2 which adds up to 2.1 metric tonnes of CO2  over a lifetime of smart phones.  Net net:  “a lifetime of smart phones has over eleven times the impact of a lifetime of phone books.”

Pablo then tries to even the playing field with all of the other devices that an iPhone could replace.  But it starts to sound a bit weak especially if he had dug deeper on what the disposal impacts for an iPhone are vs. a phonebook.

All in all I have to congratulate the guy on doing an honest assessment.  It’s refreshing to see that someone will admit that all technology isn’t necessarily the slam dunk eco alternative to a phonebook that they are made out to be.  And don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone.  But that print phonebook requires no ongoing power, no special routers, no Internet connection, is full portable, can be used easily by nearly 100% of the reading population, and is distributed FREE.  Sounds like a real bargain to me….

A Peek Behind the Curtain at BIA/Kelsey ILM East Event

Typically, BIA/Kelsey ILM events are hotbeds for discussion on technology and sales innovation. While this upcoming ILM East event, March 26-28 in Boston is similar in many ways, it’s also very different from prior ones.

Peter Krasilovsky, Vice President at BIA/Kelsey, and the event coordinator for this conference, recently sat down to talk with us about what’s driving some of the unique new panels they have constructed for this event. Krasilovsky confirmed “…the industry has moved beyond a one dimensional focus on advertising models and this event reflects that. What we’ve all seen is that the relationship with SME’s is based on a wide variety of channels. Developing areas such as social media and ecommerce potentially add up to bigger and better results. In many ways we are really closing the whole transactions loop.”

The BIA/Kelsey folks believe they can achieve this transition by inviting people from a wide range of disciplines such as ad networks, major search engines, and the transaction processing providers who are increasingly coaching companies on how to get more out of their transaction processing. Krasilovsky noted that “…the deals revolution began four years ago a simple daily deal. That was mostly about customer acquisition. But it is increasingly about engagement now.” Expect a range of industries to be represented. BIA/Kelsey events are legendary for attracting senior level executives with a wide range of views and who are looking to collaborate to increase their business and be more effective.

As providers look to move beyond just the initiating the sale to now fully completing it, and then have the intelligence need to make the next sale to them. Krasilovsky commented that “local has really hit the big time. We are seeing major business players, such as the banks and credit card companies. They have a major role in the transaction cycle via their relationships, and companies such as American Express are also leveraging their own brands.“ Leslie Berland, SVP, Digital Partnerships & Development of American Express is expected to talk about the deals she has put together with FourSquare, Facebook, and the Small Business Saturday campaign they started (the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend and right after the now famous “Black Friday”).

Besides the hot new innovation areas, several ILM East presentations will focus on the basics: how to help small businesses across all the channels. Jay Herratti the CEO of CityGrid Media will discuss some of the great local advertising solutions their network has developed.

Each BIA/Kelsey conference is also renowned for in-depth local research. ILM East will feature the release of the next iteration of the Local Commerce Monitor survey, which has been tracking the transition of small business marketing dollars to online and mobile for the last thirteen years. The group is just completing the review of the data collected at the end of 2011.

I will be very curious to see how the Venture Capital panel goes. These people are where so much of the funding comes from for new projects funded. And given that the money people have little to no interest in the traditional yellow pages business right now, we need to see what they are watching and investing. Krasilovsky expects top VCs from Boston, New York, and Silicon Valley. With the Facebook IPO now out, all of us can have a deeper insight into how these new social media giants are monetizing their sites, and what they are now doing in the emerging mobile space where the margins are lower.

One cool, more tactical session with be when Local search expert Andrew Shotland holds a special ILM East workshop to provide executives with top insights into making search a strategic tool. Keep an eye on the ILM East site for more details.

The BIA/Kelsey folks have also arranged to visit the Boston Globe’s Media Lab. This effort has been a trendsetter in local media, and continues to be an industry leader in the development of marketplaces, mobile services, paid services and hyperlocal models.

Typical BIA/Kelsey ILM events attract 500-600 people. With this speaker line up, expect that you will see a similar number of registrations. I would suggest you consider registering NOW!!! One secret for you — sign up and make your travel arrangements quickly === they sold out the hotel last year. You can click here to book your hotel room!

ADP Convention — An Opportunity to Believe to Achieve

The next industry conference coming up is the ADP – Association of Directory Publishers 2012 Annual Convention & Partners Trade Show which will be held March 19-22 at the Embassy Suites in Frisco, Texas.

This year’s theme is “Believe To Achieve.”  The convention agenda has several notable changes from past years.  For example, A Believe to Achieve Day was created to allow Publisher members to present their salespeople to a good old-fashioned dose of fact-based belief training on the continuing value of our products, including, and especially, print.  Wednesday morning will be spent in publisher-led demonstration sessions examining and dissecting the:

  • New Basics for selling in today’s marketplace,
  • The New Tools that allow us to overcome today’s challenges,
  • The New Objections that today’s advertisers regularly voice, and
  • The New Keys to getting in the door of today’s decision-makers.

Following lunch, conference attendees will be exposed to an exceptional opportunity — three hours of direct interaction with the world’s leading expert on Yellow Pages trends and usage, Dr. Dennis Fromholzer.  Fromholtzer’s work has been the basis for most of the value messaging the industry has used over the last 10+ years, and really helps frame how to people shop and use Yellow Page products.  His statistical work helps sales reps to present a compelling case as to why Yellow Pages still provides attractive ROI to advertisers.

To make this a special day of training for salespeople and to keep the cost of their attendance as low as possible, ADP has established a special registration rate just for salespeople attending just the  Believe to Achieve Day on Wednesday, March 21st of only $100 for the full afternoon with Dennis only or $150 for the full day (which includes the luncheon).

The agenda has highlights Lida Citroën as a Keynote Speaker and Workshop LeaderLida Citroën will both open and close the Convention, offering her actionable insights into how

  • Passion changes commitment,
  • How commitment drives action, and
  • How action creates results.

Lida’s background includes 23 years of designing, creating and implementing brand marketing programs and strategies for both public and private companies.

You should note that the discounted early Bird registration ends February 24th.

A little about this year’s venue — the Embassy Suites in Frisco, Texas is a four-star property selected for its all-suites concepts. To make your room reservation at the Embassy Suites Frisco, please call either 1-800-EMBASSY or 972-963-9175. Mention you are an ADP convention attendee to receive the great rate of $165 per night (plus 13% tax).

Time to get registered.  Enter here to register.  If you are an industry supplier, to reserve your booth space, click here.  And if you missed it before:  For the complete agenda, click here

If you have any questions contact ADP Headquarters at 800.267.9002 or

ILM Local Media East — Are You Going??

The next BIA/Kelsey event in their ILM series, Interactive Local Media East, will be held in Boston, March 26-28.  So far they have put together an interesting program with a wide range of exciting speakers. Some more details:

Click here for a list of The Speakers 

The ILM East program is certainly packed with a wide range of innovators and “doers” who are redefining/establishing the local space. Highlights include

  • A featured keynote by industry legend Ted Leonsis (Groupon vice chair, AmEx board member, sports team owner and AOL mastermind),
  • Keynotes from AmEx’s Leslie Berland, CityGrid’s Jay      Herratti and The New York Times’ Michael Zimbalist.
  • Two special  one-on-one interviews with Mahalo’s Jason      Calacanis and New York Magazine’s Michael Silberman.

For more about the agenda, click here for information on The Sessions

The BIA/Kelsey team has constructed two-plus days of sessions that will enhance your understanding of innovations, players, and trends that are driving the local media marketplace. Panels on social, mobile, deals video and hyperlocal are planned.  I think the special venture capital panel could provide a unique view of what the money people are looking at especially in light of the forthcoming Facebook IPO.  Also, expect the BIA/Kelsey folks to share lots of their valuable research and forecasts.

When you think of a BIA/Kelsey event, you always think about The Networking:

ILM events have always been renowned for the chance to rub shoulders and talk directly with a wide range of senior executives from across the industry.  They will have networking cocktail receptions on both Days 1 and 2 of the event, as well as a networking luncheon on Day 2.  And that doesn’t include the countless other informal opportunities to connect with prospective partners, fellow competitors, and potential customers throughout the entire event.

I would suggest you consider registering NOW!!!  One secret for you — sign up and make your travel arrangements quickly === they sold out the hotel last year. You can click here to book your hotel room!

The “Search” Is Not Far Away

The 2012 Local Search Association Conference, with a theme of 2012 Search Starts Here is just around the corner.  The event will take place in Boca Raton April 21 to 24.

So why should you consider attending?  First, it offers excellent networking opportunities with new and existing contacts in the industry, something that this industry use to highly value to help companies grow their businesses, but seems to have lost with all of the changes that have gone on within the industry.  The conference has built-in opportunities for meeting the industry innovators, veterans and newcomers and the Boca Resort where this event is being held, offers plenty of space for more private meetings.  Here are some more specifics:

  • There is the annual golf tournament on Sunday morning, a more casual  environment for making and building great connections.
  • The Industry Excellence Awards are held Sunday evening, with a reception that  follows allows for mixing and mingling over drinks and light refreshments.
  • The President’s  New Member and Associate Member Reception (invitation only) offers a chance to meet the newest members of the association, as well as those who support the local search industry.
  • The Women’s Networking Reception (invitation only) provides excellent networking opportunities in an intimate setting for the growing number of women in the industry.
  • The Poolside  Party Monday night offers a lively environment for conversation over  dinner and cocktails.

Second is the conference agenda.  While specifics are being finalized, here is a preliminary agenda.

Third, the conference is the place where the leaders of the industry are recognized for their outstanding innovations in several unique categories.  If your team has achievements that should be recognized, it’s time to get your entries submitted.  “Communicating the Power of Local Search” is the opportunity to showcase your team’s creative marketing ideas, plans and communication tools. You may enter multiple categories or submit more than one entry in a single category. How does your teams creativity, know-how and implementation compare to the competition? This is the perfect forum to find out.

The awards also feature the National Marketing Division Publisher Partnership Award –an award which will recognize new or enhanced programs launched in 2011 which demonstrate a publisher’s flexibility and willingness to work with national advertisers. Programs can include any publisher products, such as print yellow pages, internet yellow pages, direct, mobile or new media.

The Awards competition is open to all Local Search Association members. Click here for more information on the awards categories and entry submissions. All entries must be received by February 10, 2012.

Fourth:  you can save some money if you act now.  As a special for YP Talk readers, if you register for the Search Starts Here conference before Feb 17th, you can save $200!  Go register now at:  Tell them YP Talk sent you…