Monthly Archives: March 2013

Yellow Page News Briefs – March

This regular monthly article provides a snapshot of recent Yellow Page industry news you may have missed……

Industry Recycling News:

YP.com and The Swashbucklers of SouthWest Louisiana
The 2013 telephone directory recycling campaign kicked off in Southwest Louisiana at the opening season game for the indoor football Louisiana Swashbucklers recently. The game was dedicated to “Team Green of Southwest Louisiana” and sponsored by YP – The Real Yellow Pages. It marked the official launch of the recycling campaign which began with the delivery of the 2013 yellow page telephone books. The 2013 cover of the edition of the YP Real Yellow pages features the Louisiana Swashbucklers and local fan favorite, wide receiver Sammy Knight.

The Swashbucklers game was dedicated to the promoting and creating awareness of the importance of recycling and the protection of the environment and Southwest Louisiana natural resources. “The Louisiana Swashbucklers are proud to be associated with Team Green of Southwest Louisiana and YP “The real yellow pages” stated Chris Meaux President and General Manager of the team. We encourage all of our fans to recycle their old phone books when they receive their 2013 copy of the Real Yellow Pages”.

This was the second annual season opener dedicated to Team Green. (Source)

Farmington Recycling Program Expands
Yellow Pages recycling for those residents not on the Town’s trash/recycle pickup is now located at the Staple House parking lot (next to the Main Library) in a small dumpster. It will no longer be at the ATT Building on Main Street (Route 10). (Source)

Elementary Schools kick off Phone Book Recycling Event
ALBANY, GA: New phone books are starting to show up and that means it’s time to toss out the old ones.

Today kicks off a competition between Dougherty County Elementary Schools to collect the most books to recycle. (Source)

Yellow Pages Group Reminds Winnipeg Residents of Directory Opt-Out Program
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA: As Yellow Pages Group (YPG), a leading multimedia and marketing solutions company, continues to expand and grow its digital media offerings, the company is committed to providing people with choice around its traditional print directory offerings. Winnipeg residents who prefer not to receive the print directory can remove their address from the delivery list by completing the form at ypg.com/delivery or by calling 1 800 268-5637. (Source)

Phone books recycling – City of Fargo
Fargo residents are encouraged to recycle old phone books by taking them to recycling drop off sites. Phone book recycling containers are in place at several locations and will remain available through April 26, 2013. Only phone books with glued bindings will be accepted…. (Source)

Industry Conferences:

EADP conference in June
The European Association of Directory Publishers (EADP) in cooperation with the European and German Search, Directory and Database association and will have its next conference in Berlin on June 10-11, 2013. You can now register on the EASDP Conference site.

This year’s conference will have a theme of “Using the creative chaos of speed and innovation”. All information, program, exhibitors, speakers, and online registration are available on the EADP site. (Source)

Yellow Pages in the News

Dex One fighting delisting
Dex One Corporation (NYSE: DEXO) has received notice from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that it was not in compliance with the NYSE listing standard in Section 802.01B of the Listed Company Manual which requires the company to maintain an average global market capitalization over a consecutive 30 trading day period of not less than $100 million.

The company notified the Exchange that it will appeal the decision and file a formal request shortly. During the appeal process, the company anticipates DEXO shares will continue to trade on the NYSE. Until a determination is made the company’s trading symbol will bear the “BC” indicator until it is either delisted or is compliant with the NYSE’s listing standards.

Publishers Dex One and SuperMedia File for Bankruptcy
Publishers Dex One Corp and SuperMedia have both filed for bankruptcy in a pre-packaged effort following the approval from a majority of the company’s senior secured lenders to change a credit agreement, clearing the way for their planned merger. Dex One and SuperMedia agreed last year to combine their businesses, with Dex One shareholders expected to own about 60 percent and SuperMedia shareholders the rest of the combined company (Source)

The deck chairs get shuffled at Hibu
Yellow Pages publisher Hibu it had fired its two top US senior managers over speculation that they were plotting a buyout of the US based operation. Hibu chief executive, Mike Pocock  told staff members that Jim McCusker, US president, and Mark Cairns, chief publishing officer, had been “dismissed” after “a thorough investigation into conduct by them that the company considered to be disloyal and against the interests of its employees and other stakeholders”. (Source)

Changing of the Guard at Yellow Media
Marc Tellier, the CEO of Yellow Media, is leaving as the company battles thru weak print revenues and a slow acceptance to the company’s digital products. Yellow Media Ltd. (TSX:Y) announced it is looking for a replacement for Marc Tellier, who has been president and chief executive of the company and its predecessors since October 2001.

“We thank Marc for his leadership and many years of devoted service to Yellow Pages Group and his agreement to remain in order to assist in effecting a smooth transition,” board chairman Robert MacLellan said in a company statement. (Source)

Oops. Wrong cover on South Bend phone book
SOUTH BEND, Ind.: Residents in the South Bend area got quite a surprise when they picked up the newest edition of the Yellowbook. The cover is completely wrong. “I opened it up and I looked at the cover and I realized that’s not our county.” (Source)

Other news:

Ohio, Minn. governors float advertising tax proposals
It isn’t the first time we’ve seen this act before, but two U.S. governors are proposing state taxes on business services, including advertising, threatening revenue streams for local broadcasters, publishers and outdoor-display owners. Both Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, and Gov. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., are considering as part of their budgets for 2014 plans to reduce state sales taxes. “It’s still early in the process, but anytime these issues show up, we have to take it seriously,” says Keith Scarborough, the Association of National Advertisers’ senior vice president for government relations. (Source)

Some humor from France – Paper is Not Dead? 

Not Yellow Pages specific, but even if you don’t speak French, I think you’ll get the point of the paper/paperless humor: http://vimeo.com/61275290

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News U Can Use – March

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

ROI PLUS ROC.     You’re more than familiar with ROI, but what’s ROC?   ROC is Return of Customer, or repeat business.   Restaurants thrive on repeat business, as do garden shops, building stores, and office supply stores.   Some businesses need a relative balance of new and repeat – like handyman services, plumbing contractors, and major appliance stores.   For other businesses such as siding contractors, used car dealers, and boat dealers, success depends mainly on a steady flow of new customers.   Attracting new customers is what YP does best, but even for advertisers who rely mostly on ROC, you can stress annual churn factors like people moving, switching suppliers, etc. (Restaurant News, 2/11/13).

THE SWEET SPOT AND OTHER AUTO NEWS.    The “sweet spot” in aftermarket parlance is the coveted market segment defined as vehicles between 6 and 12 years old, the age range that consumes the most repairs, replacement parts, tires, etc.   But the number of vehicles in that sweet spot is declining as new car sales pick up (15.4 million forecast for 2013) – so aftermarket vendors may want to pursue a proactive preventive maintenance marketing theme (Wall St. Journal, 3/4/13)….Higher new car sales plus the surge of total loss vehicles (including from major storms) will result in a spike in value of salvage vehicles, thereby driving down the prices of recycled auto parts (SearchAutoParts.com, 3/4/13). 

LOCKSMITH PRICES.     A 2012 price survey of basic locksmith services came up with the following averages (mostly close to 2011):  service call, $68; hourly rate, $50; auto opening call, $60; fit standard auto ignition key in shop, $50; fit auto transponder key in shop, $93; fit auto sidewinder key in shop, $120; fit motorcycle key, $87; cylinder key-in-knob, $15; make US or foreign single/double cut keys by code, $15-$20; make foreign sidewinder key by code, $68; duplicate US or foreign single/double cut keys, $4-$6; duplicate hi-security key, $17; and first-key fitting, $34.  Such data can justify these services in a YP ad – even for specialists in hi-tech systems like electronic access and security (Locksmith Ledger, 2/13).

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

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Have you seen these recent media and advertising news stories:

Google Says Mobile advertising will soon be “mandatory”

Even if they don’t want it, make them buy — Google will soon begin requiring that all AdWords clients buy mobile advertising space, even if they only want to reach desktop-computer users (sounds fair).  Industry executives believe the “enhanced campaigns” will be rolled out to all AdWords users by mid-2013 and is expected to drive up the overall price for mobile ad units.  As the article noted, WordStream Inc., a firm that helps people advertise on search engines, estimated that less than 4% of small and medium-sized advertisers had set up mobile-ad campaigns “because it was such a hassle.” (Source)

 

Fox is already pitching the next Super Bowl to advertisers 

Let the haggling begin — no sooner has this year’s Super Bowl passed into memory than Fox, which has the broadcast rights for the next Super Bowl, has already begun approaching advertisers about next year’s event, noting in particular the media advantages of its first time New York location for the game. As part of the pitch, Fox is also touting its NASCAR broadcasts and planned national sports channel. (Source)

The Internet is wonderful thing, when you can get to it…

Research firm Parks Associates recently announced that 78% of U.S. broadband households had a home network router in 2012, up from 54% in 2009, with expected adoption to reach 95% by 2016. Consumer demand for connected and mobile devices is fueling adoption of home network devices, which creates new and complex support demands on the connected home.

“Tablets, game consoles and smartphones have been incredibly popular, but the influx of connected devices adds new layers of complexity to the connected home,” said Patrice Samuels, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. “Approximately 35% of broadband households experience home networking problems when trying to sync devices and enable functions.”

As a result Parks Associates research found that 68% of U.S. broadband households are interested in new technical support services. Over 70% of these consumers would expect this service to address all of their technical problems, highlighting the importance of a comprehensive support solution that covers all of the devices and services on the home network. (Source)

2012 Ad Spending:  Political & Olympic ads Boost Overall Ad Spending

Nielsen says that last year’s Olympic Games and a very active U.S. election season in the third quarter (where spending rose 7% from a year before) helped boost 2012’s overall ad spend 2%. In the fourth quarter, a strong 1% gain in auto advertising helped keep that sector as the top spender for the year.  Notable big spenders in other categories: Phone and wireless ad spending rose 28% in the final quarter.  (Source)

 

Mobile’s Share of Marketing Budgets Rising

Mobile advertising continues to be the hot topic among marketers as Gartner says companies are now spending an average of 25% of their marketing budgets on mobile platforms.  The study also notes that digital is increasingly being integrated with all other types of marketing. Meanwhile, the growth in mobile’s budget share is expected to continue “as second-screen TV, social TV and QR codes integrate with traditional channels,” the report says. (Source)

 

But….Only 29% Of Consumers Regularly Use Mobile Devices To Find Local Businesses  

Yes, mobile is growing fast.  But hold on a second Sparky – according to new study from BrightLocal, while mobile Internet usage is growing very fast, only 29% of consumers regularly use their phones/tablets to find local businesses.  This compares to just 15% of consumers who use desktop Internet to find a local business.  Heavier, repeat users represent about 19% of consumers and they do look for a local business at least once per week.  29% of them search local at least once per month.  (Source)

 

Agencies see digital overtaking print, broadcast spending 

A new Strata survey says that nearly a third of ad agencies expect to spend more on digital campaigns than on conventional media within the next three years. “New advertising mediums are evolving at an unprecedented pace, and agencies are constantly trying to figure out how to get the best return on investment for their campaigns,” said Strata President and CEO John Shelton. (Source)

Mom and Pop Still Not Advertising Online

As reported on AllThingsD.com those small business/mom-and-pop shops still aren’t flocking to the Web with their advertising.  According to a new survey conducted last fall by the Boston Consulting Group only 3 percent of small-business ad dollars are going online.

The numbers come from a survey of 550 small companies, and shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to anyone who has watched the struggle many US based publishers have had trying to break into the digital ad market for many, many years.

As the article author Peter Kafka notes:

“..With the notable exception of Groupon and other daily deal companies, most of the Internet guys like to advertise their advertising on the Internet. And their platonic ideal for a transaction is the self-serve model, where humans never have to talk to each other. Meanwhile lots of traditional business still gets done in analog form, via phone calls and feet on the street”

and even those “no-one-uses-them-anymore”print Yellow Pages which continue to see increased call tracking volume year over year.

Granted that when small businesses do spend their money, Google is drawing the majority of it (according to BCG), with the popularity of other sites ranked this way:

  • “Other” search engines,
  • Yelp,
  • Facebook,
  • Yahoo! Local,
  • YP.com (formerly yellowpages.com),
  • Twitter,
  • LinkedIn, and
  • Superpages.com

Does this mean that many Yellow Page publishers are chasing a digital mirage, or is it a tsunami just waiting to happen????

My take: 

  1. Print is still faster (do a test to find an emergency plumber in your town who provides free estimates on weekends, has been in business at least 10 years, and has a Better Business Bureau rating),
  2. Easier (no Internet or mobile connection needed)
  3. Print ads provide greater context especially for products/services you buy infrequently (e.g. a replacement roof) – you find out a lot more from a full page ad than an in-column ad.  It sends a message to the consumer

Don’t get me wrong – love the Internet and mobile.  They are great for research.  But when it comes to a real local buying decision — print does more, and better.  Over time, things may change.  But first Mom and Pop need to see that more business is coming from digital before they will make the leap.

Yellow Pages = print, online, and mobile

People – March

It has been a while since we updated our regular blog sponsored by Hawthorne Executive Search .   It 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.

Cindi Aldrich

The Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) Board has announced that Cindi Aldrich, has been named President-elect of the 115 year-old trade association, effective immediately.

Aldrich will succeed Larry Angove, who has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association since 1997. Angove will officially retire on June 30 of this year.

Angove will continue in his current position through the conclusion of the 2013 – ADP Annual Convention and Partners Trade Show in St. Augustine, Florida on May 2.  The following day, Aldrich will assume full executive responsibility for the operations of the Association. Angove will continue to assist the leadership transition as President Emeritus until he retires.

President-elect Aldrich may be contacted at cindi.aldrich@adp.org or 248.705 4770.

Jim McCusker & Mark Cairns:

Hibu has announced that Jim McCusker,US president, and Mark Cairns, chief publishing officer, had been “dismissed” after “a thorough investigation into conduct by them that the company considered to be disloyal and against the interests of its employees and other stakeholders”.

Hibu has declined all public comment on reports that McCusker and Cairns were trying to buy out the US business from the struggling publisher.

Tyler Best:

YP.com has recently named Tyler Best as its first Chief Information Officer.

Best was  recently was chief technology officer at Ally Financial. Prior, he was CIO at Vanguard Car Rental.

“Tyler’s leadership is important to ensure we have the infrastructure to support YP’s rapidly growing digital and mobile advertising business that relies on technology as a key enabler of the company,” said YP CEO David Krantz, said in a company issued statement. “As we accelerate our effort in helping local businesses and communities grow, it is critical that we, as a new company, build a solid technology foundation to support our team and everything they do.”

David Hawthorne:

It is with great sadness that SuperMedia reported the passing of David E. Hawthorne, a member of the company’s Board of Directors since 2009, on Friday, January 18, at the age of 62.

Board Chairman Doug Wheat commented that “David was a colleague and friend to many of us.  He was a valued member of the Board of Directors, and we will miss his spirit and insights.”

Hawthorne had served on several committees of the SuperMedia board, including the Compensation Committee and Audit Committee. He had led Hawthorne Management LLC since 2005, a firm that develops, owns, and operates commercial real estate in central Florida. He previously served as a consultant to Friedman’s Inc., assisting the jewelry retailer in investigating operating and financial issues. From 2001 to 2003, Hawthorne was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lodgian, Inc., an independent hotel owner and operator.

Hawthorne was a consultant for FTI Consulting, Inc. from 2000 to 2001, during which time he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Restructuring Officer of Tower Records, Inc. Hawthorne also served as the acting Chief Executive Officer of Premier Cruise Lines, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Alliance Entertainment Corporation, and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Servico Hotels and Resorts, Inc.

 

Mike Fordyce

Mike Fordyce joined JiWire, San Francisco, as chief executive, assuming duties from David Staas, who had served as interim president and chief executive since March; Mr. Staas, who had been senior vice president for marketing, has now been promoted to president. Mr. Fordyce had most recently been senior vice president for business development, publisher products and strategic partnership management at YP.com.

Craig Swanson

We are also sorry to report that Craig Swanson passed away unexpectedly on November 7th at the age of 47.  Craig was senior vice president at KDA Group.  Prior to KDA, he held senior-level positions at Wahlstrom.

Hawthorne Search Provides Current Hiring Outlook

We have always been big believers of following hiring trends as a really accurate indicator of the economy, and in particular, the tone among small business owners and those that provide advertising services to them.

When we received this recent summary  from Robert Hawthorne, the President and Founder of Hawthorne Search on hiring trends in the local search industry for Q1 2013, we thought it would provide you with some very good insights on what’s happening in the trenches.  Robert and his team of recruiters has been working with a wide range of clients in the local search segment for over a dozen years.  His client base ranges from Yellow Page publishers, to advertising agencies, to pure online players.  Just as the old TV commercial goes — when Robert speaks, we listen.  Here is Robert’s report:

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2013 has  seen a noteworthy uptick in hiring activity versus q1 2012.  We certainly are not in what anyone would describe as “boom times” but there is a significant increase in companies hiring versus q4 2012 or q1 2012.

A noteworthy trend is the amount of time that companies take to fill the openings that they do have.  There seems to be a catch 22 in terms of needing to hire, but not wanting to add to the cost structure.  Many companies have adapted the position that they are willing to add cost only if a “purple unicorn” i.e. nearly impossible to find candidate comes along.  What this says to us is that companies have definitive needs, but there is reluctance to hire due to general economic uncertainty.

Less Field Leadership:   Another trend is a consolidation of sales leadership positions in both traditional and digital media.  Gone are the days when companies new to the market are building out large field sales team and the managers to lead them.  Most companies are either selling through channels and trying to piggy back existing sales teams of their partners, or building specialized inside call centers.  There are a few exceptions, like Cardlytics in Atlanta, but overall we are seeing fewer regional sales manager, area sales manager type searches than at any time in the past five years.

More Agency Sales:  Where companies are hiring is in the national/regional market with a focus on individuals who can sell through agencies and also to franchise groups.  If you are a sales person with legitimate agency relationships in New York, San Francisco or Chicago, your phone is no doubt ringing.  We worked with a candidate in NYC who had strong agency ties and he had FIVE offers to sort through.

Mobile has not exploded as one might have expected.  There is still a decent push in mobile, mobile/local, but not at the clip that many had predicted a few years ago.  Where we do see activity is in verticalized companies, i.e. health and wellness, travel, auto, etc.  There seems to be an increasing number of local search companies that continue to try and own a vertical market as opposed to a geography.  For candidates it appears to be better to be a specialist as opposed to being a generalist.

Consolidation in traditional media continues.  With the Supermedia/Dex merger, and the senior management shake up at Hibu, we continue to see a large influx of resumes, but very few job openings to send these talented professionals out on.  Similarly, our newspaper clients continue to shed headcount, and where they do add, it is strictly on the digital/mobile side.

Deal Mania fades:  Just 18 months ago our phones rang off the hook for deals companies looking to add headcount as quickly as possible.  With the implosion at Groupon, and Living Social’s continued inability to become profitable, the flow of jobs has turned into a trickle.  Smaller companies have folded and those that haven’t certainly are not looking to add to headcount.

Loyalty takes the lead:  Loyalty, or what some might call “deals 2.0” has taken the wheel.  Companies like Cardlytics, Catera, Edo and many others are partnering with banks and developing loyalty offering that have shaken up the local space.  These companies are being selective in terms of adding head count, but most are extremely robust about their future and boast major private equity firms backing them up.

 

All in all we give the local search jobs market a solid “B” in terms of amount of activity, quality of jobs available, etc.

If you are looking to hire, Hawthorne Search has an unsurpassed list of contacts in the industry and a 80% success rate on all search projects we engage upon.  Whether you are looking to hire a sales rep in Chicago, or a VP of Digital Strategy in NYC, we can help.

 

Robert Hawthorne

President – Hawthorne Search

(910) 777-5383 // C (910) 297-8729

www.hawthornesearch.com

twitter: mediarecruiter