Monthly Archives: March 2012

News U Can Use – March

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

MORE THAN A SMILE.     An extensive survey found that some 70% of individuals went to a dentist at lest twice in the previous year for a checkup and/or cleaning, while another 19% went once and 11% didn’t go at all.   But most of today’s dentists go beyond the smile and routinely look for oral clues to a number of other problems, including diabetes, possible cardiovascular problems, Addison’s disease, HIV, yeast infections, and even iron-deficiency. Should dentists advertise such so-called “practice drift”?   Maybe not specifically, but a YP ad can include copy that refers to the dentist’s website for information on the overall health benefits of oral checkups (Consumer Reports, 2/12; Personal Journal, 12/27/11).

RESTAURANT SALES.     The National Restaurant Association says US restaurant sales on a typical day come to $1.7 billion.   If you multiply that by 300 days, annual revenue tops $500 billion – an average of over $4300 a year per household spent in restaurants ranging from quick-serve to take-out to fine dining.   Thus, if your YP covers a 30,000 household area, you can tell restaurant advertisers that locals spend as much as $129 million a year on restaurant food – plenty of reason to advertise in the YP (Restaurant News, 12/19/11)

CALL TRACKING.     As you know, an advertiser can test several ad media at the same time with multiple RCF numbers.  Now, it’s easier to do that with call-tracking companies like that let advertisers choose a toll-free, local, or vanity number for each ad medium they use.   For example, a spokesman lists 27 media in which one of their numbers can track calls.   Here is what he says about YP:  “Listing your business in the YP is a necessity.   Why?   Because many people still use the phone book and an increasing number of people search the YP online.”   You can recommend call tracking to your advertisers – but never without an ROI projection (Auto Pro Workshop, 12/21/11).

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

Other recent media/advertising news:

ZenithOptimedia Believes Global Ad Growth Coming
ZenithOptimedia has updated its December global ad spending forecast, raising it to 4.8% to $489 billion this year. Breaking it down, trouble in Europe continues to keep spending down, Asia and Latin America will offset that with higher gains.  For the US, projections are call for 5.3% growth in 2013 and 6.1% in 2014. (Source)

More US Advertising Estimates — Kantar: U.S. Ad Spend Dropped 1% in Q4
Kantar Media revised its estimate of U.S. ad spending for 2011, pegging an increase at 0.8%, to $144 billion. The rate of spending growth slowed across media, including cable TV, network TV, search and digital display. Data also indicate that spending declined 1% in the fourth quarter. (Source)

At $40 billion in U.S. Online Spending, Print Gets Passed
This article came out a few months ago, but I thought this was worth noting.  Online advertising is expected to approach a $40 billion watermark by year’s end, zipping ahead of newspapers and magazines for the first time, per eMarketer’s estimate. Double-digit growth through 2014 is expected to yield more than $52 billion then as advertisers become increasingly comfortable with integrated efforts. (Source)

More on Online Advertising:   The $684 billion Internet economy
We all know that the Internet has grown to be a major media and impact on our lives.  Just how big?  At $684 billion in 2010, the Internet has grown to the point that it contributes more to the U.S. economy than the agricultural, construction and education sectors as well as the federal government itself, according to a Boston Consulting Group study. The 4.7% the Internet generated ties Japan for fourth place in its percentage of gross domestic product, behind the U.K., South Korea and China. (Source)

As a point of reference, in 2009 we talked about how the Yellow Page industry has nearly a trillion dollars in economic impact in the local communities we serve (link to article).

Trust:  Millennials have money but don’t trust TV, can’t recall ads
Print Yellow Pages has always had a super high trust level amoung users.  While the millennial generation commands $170 billion in purchasing power (per a comScore report) and are very comfortable with computer technology and mobile media, they are very wary of traditional television advertising and harder to influence than other generations. (Source)

Americans are driving their cars longer than ever
Noticed more clunkers on the road?  There is a reason why — the length of car ownership among American drivers has reached an all-time high of 71 months, according to an R.L. Polk study. The trend is attributed to the economy, better warranties, and higher reliability which are collectively are negatively impact new-car sales. My 2005 F-150 is paid for.  Not sure I will be shopping for $500+ month payment for a new vehicle anytime soon.  For Yellow Page publishers – your repair headings are going to become even more important to local consumers. (Source)


People – March

We are a little behind in our updates of  people in the Yellow Pages industry.  This regular blog sponsored by 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

Neal Polachek:

BIA/Kelsey has announced that Neal Polachek, president of for the past three years, has left the company. Rick Ducey has been is promoted to managing director supervising research, Continuous Advisory Services (CAS) programs and consulting services.  Matt Booth was named chief strategy officer. Matt will continue to run the Interactive Local Media (ILM) advisory service and provide leadership for consulting practices and conferences. Bobbi Loy-Luster has been given an expanded role as vp of client services, including overseeing CAS programs and the company’s new competitive benchmarking. Peter Krasilovsky, vice president and program director, will now serve an expanded role as conference chairman.

Peter Broadbent:

Peter Broadbent has been named vice president, investor relations & marketing, at Photronics Inc., a leader in supplying photomask-based imaging solutions for global electronics and display industries.  Broadbent had spent 25 years at Wahlstrom Group, where he was CEO. He served on the Local Search Association Board of Directors, as well as the National Marketing Division Advisory Council.

Matt Anderson:

Yellow Pages publisher Yell has appointed Matt Anderson to the new role of chief strategy and business development officer.  His task will be to spearhead the group’s strategy of providing digital services to small and medium-sized businesses, as its sales of paper directories decline.

Anderson had worked with Yell on this strategy, which was unveiled last July, while he was a senior adviser at US consultancy Booz & Company.

Yell chief executive Mike Pocock said Anderson had ‘played an instrumental role’ in developing the new strategy.

Linda Kennedy:

Yell also announced the appointment of Linda Kennedy to the new role of Group Human Resources Director. Kennedy will lead organizational change and support the integration of Yell’s global business in the UK, US, Spain and some countries in Latin America.

Kennedy joins Yell from UK mobile operator Everything Everywhere, the joint venture between Orange and T Mobile; she held the role of chief change officer, reporting to the CEO and delivered the integration of the two businesses.

Previously, she was group HRD at international service company Serco, where among her responsibilities were the development of a people strategy and the implementation of a leadership and talent management framework.

Based at Yell’s corporate headquarters in Reading, UK, Kennedy will report to Mike Pocock, Yell’s CEO. She will be responsible for building a group-wide HR capability to support the executive group and deliver organizational change.

Bruce Akhurst, Rick Ellis:

Bruce Akhurst who headed Telstra’s Yellow Pages directory business, Sensis will leave the company in May.  Telstra Chief Executive David Thodey said in a statement that, despite a challenging print environment, Sensis had managed to maintain strong print revenues compared with its global peers and had started its transition into a fully digital capable media business.

The company said Rick Ellis, group managing director of Telstra Digital Media, would be acting chief executive of Sensis while a replacement for Akhurst was sought.

“I have enjoyed my time as CEO of Sensis. It is time now for a change and I look forward to exploring new opportunities,” he said in a statement

Sebastien Provencher:

Sebastien Provencher, one of the most prolific bloggers in the industry, has announced he is leaving Needium, the company he co-founded. Provencher recently disclosed his future plans: “…As a next step in my career, I’m looking for international experience. I’d like to work in Europe or in the United States as a senior exec in a media/Internet company (large or small). I bring with me solid experience in product management, business development, Internet strategy, social media and management.”  You can reach him at

He would be a great addition to your team…

Do Digital Only Sales Teams Outperform All Others?

Most local media advertising providers now use a single sales force to sell both their newer digital products and their traditional print advertising products.  But according to a new report from Borrell Associates, that could be a shortsighted strategy.  The company identified what it believes are major differences between companies that employ digital-only sales forces and those that instead employ a single sales (and content) force strategy which can do it all.

First, the Borrell study noted that an increasing number of companies are consolidating “offline” (let’s just call them “traditional” product sales) and online sales reps into a single unified team selling both types of products.  The number of digital-only sales reps — those employed by traditional  media companies (newspapers, radio and TV, but not Yellow Pages) has dropped from 60% in August of 2009 to 46%.

According to the report, online sites that do employ online-only account executives (AE’s) “outperform those without by a factor of 2.5” in terms of gross online revenue per sales rep. The difference is even more dramatic at TV stations – those TV stations that do employ online-only AE’s, do see them showing results which are three times the gross revenue of stations that don’t. Borrell’s bottom line conclusion:  “(its) clear that having a staff dedicated to selling online advertising—and combining it with the efforts of the legacy media sales force—drives more digital revenues.”  However, note that the research makes no mention of the impact on the traditional products sales of having some digital-only reps.

Borrell also looked at how local advertising media companies organizing their sales reps, and found that the most successful model tends to be “separate digital units with dotted lines”—companies, which employ both traditional and digital-only sellers, but also have a separate digital division responsible for hitting digital revenue goals and reporting to a separate manager.  Borrell reports “…many of these operations saw revenue growth in the 40 to 60 percent range in 2011, while average market growth for local online advertising was 15 percent.  The reason is no mystery:  with a unit that has sole responsibility for just digital sales, goals and lines of responsibility don’t get tangled up in debates about the legacy media sales problems.”

Borrell is charging $995 for the full 27 page report.

Our Takeaway:

I find some parts of the conclusions to be flawed analysis.  First, logic will tell you that if an AE only sales one product (digital in this case), their percentage of sales will be higher then a salesperson who sells many products, with digital being just one of them.  If they are truly providing a solution that meets the advertiser’s needs, sometimes it may not include digital products.  Any responsible, good AE would respond to the buying needs of the client with a recommendation that provides the greatest ROI for the client, independent of the product set.

There have been numerous attempts in the past by Yellow Pages publishers to try a wide range of sales organization and product strategies – digital only, full suite, vertical market segment focused, etc., etc.

What’s your view?  Which works best, and more importantly, why?


Why go to the “Search Starts Here” conference?

A couple of weeks ago we provided some information on the upcoming 2012 Local Search Association Conference in this article.  The event will take place in Boca Raton, Florida on April 21 to 24thWe recently caught up with Association President Neg Norton to find out how the Search Starts Here themed conference is shaping up.  Since we are less than two months from the event, Neg provided some additional insights to why people should plan to attend this event.

First off, they have lined up a wide range of speakers from across the local search and directory publishing industry.  Neg notes that “it’s a strong agenda and we’re doing a few things differently this year.  We have lots of different topics and more presentation formats than in prior years.”  For example, some recent additions to the speaker lineup include Peter McDonald, CEO, SuperMedia (and Chairman of the Local Search Association);  Alfred Mockett, CEO, Dex One; Ursula Worth, head of directories and web hosting partnerships, Google; Trevor Nadeau, managing director, Yellow Medya (Turkey); Chris Silver Smith, President, Argent Media; Peter Buxton, Buxton Independent Consulting (Germany) and Krishna Pillai, COO and Founder Convergent Media.

At a time when travel budgets are tight, why attend this conference?  Neg summed it up in a concise but valuable comment – “you’ll walk away with actionable insights you can put in play the first day you are back on the job.  There will be insights from several pieces of research –– forward-looking analysis of relevant market data from both LSA and BIA/Kelsey, vSplash analysis of 500,000 websites from around the world (invitation only session), insights from local media sales reps, and more.”  Clearly, the ROI for coming to the conference is real.

If you go a little deeper in the agenda, you will find keynote speeches, panels, and fireside chats.  Some highlights:

  • Neg and Peter McDonald will provide a state of the association and industry overview,
  • Google will be talking about what they see on social, local and mobile products.
  • SMG Directory Marketing will have one of their clients focus on how a sophisticated national advertiser builds their local media plan.
  • Axiom Sales Force Development will host a session focused on tools and techniques for effective sales coaching.
  • A “lightening round” from new supplier members with new technologies and applications who will have just a short 4 minutes to talk about the newest stuff they are working on and rolling out.

The LSA conference will also continue the format they have used successfully for two prior conferences – Strategic Exchange Sessions where suppliers can get private meetings with key prospects. Neg indicated we can expect to see some new companies in the Strategic Exchange Sessions this year—companies like Adflexer, Willow Tree Apps, Axiom Sales Force Development as well as some faces from last year such as Yellow Magic, PlaceLinks, The Andersen Group, Amdocs, Acxiom—-to name just a few.

If you are looking to meet and talk with new companies, potential new partners, the conference has a number of social networking opportunities.  Last year the conference attracted around 400 attendees.  This year’s event is on track to reach the same levels.  Given the expansion of the association beyond the traditional directory space, expect a noticeable increase in “non-traditional” companies.  Many will be companies the industry is already doing business with; and others are looking to enter the space with their new products and services.  Here are some of the formal networking events scheduled:

  • There is the annual golf tournament on Sunday morning, a more casual environment for making and building great connections.
  • The Industry Excellence Awards will be 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 Poolside Party Monday night offers a lively environment for conversation over dinner and cocktails.

And with all that, it is Florida, so attendees can maybe get a chance to enjoy the sunshine and great weather they have this time of year.  This truly is no long just a yellow pages conference; it really is a true local search happening….

Go register now at: Tell them YP Talk sent you…