Changes at YP Talk

Regular followers have noticed that YP Talk has been silent for several months now.  But it’s not without cause.

When you believe strongly in something, there are times when you have to step forward, plant a flag, and makes good things happen.  YP Talk has been silent because I recently acquired a small print and online Yellow Page operation in central Florida.  In this everything digital world many people want us to believe in, one has to ask, am I crazy?  I will let you the readers of YP Talk decide.  Here is the full story on the some compelling factors behind my acquisition.

  • First, it’s in Florida.  After three years in Kansas, while the people there are very nice, and having a chance to work for the Brock’s at Names & Numbers was certainly a pleasure, it was nice to sell our snow shovels at our final yard sale before moving
  • The books are LOCAL books.  We focus on LOCAL businesses.  In the Alarms section you will not see any ads from ADT – instead you will find the local alarm company Security Center.  In carpet cleaning, no Stanly Steamer, instead you will find Carpet Pro based here in Port Orange.  In the florists, no 800-Flowers, instead Port Orange Florist.  It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t accept an ad from a national company.  But they need to have a strong local presence
  • All of the ad programs are bundles.  Buy a half page; get a dollar bill sized in another heading.  Online is bundled with print.  Add it all up — it comes to better VALUE for that local businesses advertising dollar as they can capture ready to buy customers no matter what format they are looking for them in.
  • We include white pages in the books, and in a format and font size you can actually read without a microscope.  We have many features which make the book a valuable RESOURCE for local consumers
  • The covers feature local art and photography
  • And most importantly, we have FAMILY here in the area.  It’s nice to be back on the east coast where most family is within driving distance of us.

Of course, half of the conversations I have with those local businesses start with them telling me that print is obsolete.  I nod my head and smile, but then ask that if that is true, how is Coleman Plumbing able to get OVER 100 calls a month from the call tracking number in their ad??  Or that local dentist, who has a very specialized practice bringing in 30-40 calls a month on his RCF??  Keep in mind anyone that gets in his chair is going to be spending over $1,500.  I then ask them to explain what I should make of the 6-10 calls we get a week from consumers asking for another copy of the book.  Note this isn’t New York city – there are only 25,000 households in the area.  If that isn’t enough, we run a contest which appears on the last page of the book where consumers can send us a list of businesses they found and use from the book, and we’ll enter them into a contest for a new TV.  The pile of responses is several inches thick.

When the VCR was invented, they predicted the end of movie theatres.   After that, the higher quality DVD will definitely kill those theatres now.  Well then along came Blue Ray which is so advanced, and we all have 100” big screen TV’s, so surely now we never go to those “obsolete” movie theaters do we?  I guess those $10.8 BILLION in ticket sales didn’t really happen then (source)?

We all have many choices and sources available to us when we are ready to make a buying decision.  Print and online yellow pages are just one of them.  I have had enough of apologizing for the industry, for the printing of millions of books each year (on recycled materials), for investing big bucks into online products that aren’t Google.  We provide a valuable service to local small businesses.  If you don’t believe me, come ride with me on a sales call where a frazzled small business owner looks you in the eye and admits they don’t have a clue on how to market their small business within the limited budget they have and can afford.  It takes a lot of courage for them to admit that.

For those that insist it has to be all digital, I sat fine.  But if I can’t help that local business define what they are about in the size of half page or quarter page print ad, how on earth are they going to know what/how to say in whatever digital format you think “everyone” uses?

At end of day, it’s not print OR digital.  It’s all about defining the key value message that business offers, no matter the platform, and then getting that message out.

So what does this acquisition mean for YP Talk?  For one thing after over nine years of writing this newsletter, this will be the last email I will push your way.  It’s not that I don’t think there are a lot of important topics related to this business to discuss – exactly the opposite.  It’s just that there aren’t enough hours in the day/week when you are the sales department, production, finance, marketing, and senior management.

I will continue to post my thoughts on this YP Talk blog from time to time. But mostly this message was just to tell all of you, thank you.  Thank you for your support.  Thank you for your comments both pro and con.  Thank you for the feedback on how you used the information we provided here.  There was nothing more gratifying then to bump into someone who mentioned they used an article to kick off a sales meeting, or sent another article to the marketing group asking how come we don’t have this.

Thank you to the suppliers that help make this industry what it is.  Their advertising support for this newsletter was key to so I could do this, and I really enjoyed hearing about all the new things they brought to the table.  It forced me to be current.

And lastly a big thank you to friends and family who also tolerated many years of me having to go run off and create a newsletter when I probably should have been spending more time with them.  Now I just bore them to death with my efforts as a local Yellow Page publisher.

And for those worried about the future – don’t be.  You will find as I have, that about every 5 years or so you will be reinventing yourself as the marketplace changes, as companies change, as technology changes, even as you change.  But do count your blessings as you are now working in the most exciting industry out there, one that is changing for sure, but still brings huge value to every community and business it touches.  How many industries can say that?

Peace be with you.

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Let’s use a 5+ year old picture to promote our online money grab

If you can’t sell it, repackage it, spray some cologne on it, and then go pick on someone who is successfully and try to pick at the scraps they leave behind in your wake.

This continues to be the business strategy of one YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, a business directory website at the forefront of the environmentally-conscious “Green” movement…”.  Seriously?  We have noted their sad attempts in the past at a true business strategy by issuing press release after press release after press release, usually with outlandish or down right lies, made up research, or anything else they can scape together so they can try to get someone to pay attention to them and actually spend some money with them. Their favorite is the picture from 5 + years ago of the overflowing phone book recycling bin.

Their website even goes as far as saying they are the  “…official opt-in registry for printed distribution…”  Really?  Who gave them that title?

Now of course, you can add your small business to their site for “just $49.95/year” for which you get??????  I think in some circles that could be considered bogus yellow pages.

Guys, its 2013.  Find a new picture (if you can), or redo your business model.  Oh, by the way, Monday and Tuesday we got 5 calls from consumers asking for new PRINTED YELLLOW PAGES, in markets of less than 50k in population.  Guess they didn’t get your “press release” that the book is dead….

Unfortunately on the internet, all we have is the spam or trash folder for their stuff…

New Digital Media Company — Perfect Fit For Yellow Pages

This is guest column from Mike Funaro, President, Small Pond Media:   

“If I knew then what I know now…..”. How many times have we all said that?  As a 23 year Yellow Pages veteran and former independent yellow pages publisher I want to share a white paper written by some colleagues of mine at WSI Digital Marketing.

WSI banner

The title “Digital Disruption-The Difference between Agencies That Survive, Thrive or Die” got my attention enough to read the entire paper.  When I was finished my first thought was that you could easily have substituted “Yellow Pages Publishers” for “Agencies”.  I have been consulting and brokering in the world of franchising and WSI Digital is one of the companies that I have grown particularly fond of over time.  Almost every time I place someone with WSI Digital, I ask myself how much my yellow pages company could have used them as I struggled to add digital marketing to my product offerings.

Take a quick read about the WSI Digital and how they have helped a legacy business model, Advertising agencies.  Whether you are in the yellow pages industry or struggling to find a new career path, take a look at WSI Digital.  I think you will be impressed.

If you want to learn more, give a call (407-625-1497), or email.  Mike’s LinkedIn profile:  click here

Names & Numbers Recognized as Publisher of the Year

At its recent 2013 Annual Convention and Partners Trade Show in St. Augustine, Florida, the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) recognized Names & Numbers, as this year’s Gold Book Publisher of the Year at the Gold Book Awards.  It was the first time the company has been recognized.

The ADP’s Publisher of the Year recognizes a company that has “exemplified overall excellence and achievement.”  Names & Numbers currently publishes 66 phone books throughout the mid-west and northwest areas of the country along with offering a suite of mobile and online Yellow Page products.  Established in 1974, currently Names & Numbers publishes more than 4-million phone books annually and employs approximately 250 people in 11 states.

The Gold Book Awards recognize publishers and suppliers for outstanding achievements in the directory advertising business. “Congratulations to all of our 2013 Gold Book Award winners,” said Cindi Aldrich, the new association president. “These winning companies are applauded for their outstanding directory products and marketing innovations in the directory publishing industry.”  Additional information about the Gold Book awards can be found on the association website at www.adp.org.

We interviewer Founder/CEO Ken Brock back in 2010 (link to full article), and you will note that many of the things Ken said at that time are still true today and part of the reason why his team has been recognized.  He and his team follow a very straight forward approach – put out a very accurate, high quality product that users and advertisers both enjoy using, promote them passionately in the local community, be an integral/active part of the community, and try to walk in the door of every business in the market.  The text type in the books is not microscopic in size to save a few pages.  White pages are included, as well as a robust community information section.  The covers are free of any advertising and feature scenes from local photographers/artists.  That’s the formula for being a successful publisher, and being recognized by the publishing community.

Congratulations to the entire Names and Numbers team for your accomplishments.

New Yellow Pages Market Forecast 2013 Available

It’s back and all new!  Local Search Authority (aka David Goddard) has just released its latest edition of the industry’s premier market analysis and forecast report, Yellow Pages Market Forecast 2013.This annual report is always packed with all of the most current statistics and detail you need to build a successful plan for growth this year and beyond. It offers an in-depth, authoritative analysis of the entire U.S. yellow pages market, from utility publishers to independents.   This study is the source for informed perspective on significant market developments and objective, accurate forecasts for industry growth.  At YP Talk we frequently use the Forecast in our research to uncover the driving forces shaping the strength and direction of the overall industry and specific markets. This annual report has been published continuously since 1986.

yellow page market forecast

This forecast comes from the desk of David Goddard who has been tracking the industry since it first started in the late 1800’s (ok, well, not that long, but at least for the last 20 years I have known him).  He is also the author of The Goddard Report, a leading publication that concentrates on the unique interests and needs of companies involved in print and online directory operations.  The Goddard Report is published continuously online, and 12 times per year (monthly) it is issued digitally as a PDF for download.

Who Needs the Yellow Pages Market Forecast?

YP Talk readers know that I don’t endorse just anyone.  But the simple answer to the question of who needs this forecast is that the players in the industry are changing constantly.  If you are a stakeholder of any type in the Yellow Pages/Local Search industry – publisher, CMR, investor, consultant, or even an industry supplier, you cannot afford to NOT own the Yellow Pages Market Forecast 2013. If you are serious about participating in the market this is the go-to source you need on your desktop.

Click here to find out more, to get your discount, and purchase the report:  http://www.imslocalsearchauthority.com/2013marketforecast.php

People – May

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.

Herb Gordon

The industry suffered a big loss when Herb Gordon, retired former president and CEO of the Association of Directory Marketing (ADM), passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on Saturday, May 4, 2013.  Herb is survived by his wife, Annemarie, three sons, nine grandchildren, two sisters, and a large extended family.

Herb led ADM (which merger with what was then the Yellow Pages Association – YPA – more info) for eighteen years, retiring in June 2009, after the merger.  During his tenure, he served on the Boards of ADM, the YPA (now Local Search Association), and Association of Directory Publishers – the only person in the industry to have the unique honor of serving on all three boards.  He served at a time when the industry was just starting to experience unparalleled change.

For more go to our recent YP Talk article by clicking here.

 

Jeff Hoyer

Local Market Launch, the Santa Barbara-based startup that is driving new standards of quality and service in local presence solutions for national brands, multi-location businesses and SMBs, announced today that Jeff Hoyer has joined the company as Vice President of Sales. He will lead the company’s sales efforts, with a focus on channel partner development among local media companies, including directory publishers, newspaper publishers and broadcast companies, as well as digital media agencies and certified marketing representatives (CMRs).

“Jeff will be a tremendous asset as we continue to grow our channel partner network,” said Brian Coryat, founder and CEO, Local Market Launch. “His deep expertise and proven track record in the directory publishing, business listings management and SMB digital marketing space make him a valuable addition to our leadership team.”

Hoyer is a local media solutions veteran with significant experience in executive management, sales strategy and execution, online marketing, SEM/SEO, advertising sales, customer and client relationship management and leadership development.

“Accurate business listings data is the foundation of today’s local digital economy, as consumers increasingly engage with local businesses through social networks and mobile devices,” said Hoyer. “Helping local businesses, national brands targeting locally and multi-location businesses manage their listings data efficiently and effectively has to be an essential element of any local media company’s digital marketing solution set. Local Market Launch has developed a solution that is truly ahead of anything currently on the market in terms of data quality, focus on the customer experience and ease of ongoing management. I am excited for the opportunity to bring it to the marketplace.”

Prior to joining Local Market Launch, Hoyer was SVP, Sales & Marketing at Name Dynamics/Universal Business Listing. He also served as VP, National Sales for R.H. Donnelley/Dex Media, where he managed a national team of 30, with P&L responsibility of $420 million in print, online and PPC products. Previously he was Group VP, TMP Worldwide, managing four VP/GMs and a portfolio of national clients.

 

Richard Wall

Dex Media’s Richard Wall, Vice president for Enterprise Application Engineering has been named “One to Watch” by CIO Magazine.

The CIO Executive Council’s annual Ones to Watch award identifies the rising stars in IT. To be honored, these future CIOs must have demonstrated leadership, driven innovation and delivered value to their business.

Wall has led organizations within IT at many companies and has experience across several disciplines including architecture, development, production support, and quality assurance. He is responsible for application development and maintenance activities at Dex Media, including all applications supporting Lead to Cash processes, mobile and online applications and websites representing Superpages.com, search platforms and traffic distribution integration to search partners, customer portal, and Business Intelligence Systems (BIS) applications

 

Bill Dinan:

Telmetrics’ President  and LSA Board Chairman Bill Dinan is scheduled to speak at SMX London on Mobile Search Best Practices.

With mobile advertising spend continuing to increase, leading call measurement provider Telmetrics announced that Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics, was scheduled to speak at SMX London on the “Paid Search Advertising in a Multi-Device World” panel.   SMX London is a premiere U.K. event for search marketing and other online advertising professionals.

Dinan will address mobile search best practices including tailoring and localizing ads to incorporate mobile consumers’ category-specific usage patterns and preferences. The presentation will include insights from the recent xAd-Telmetrics U.K. Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study, which was based on an online survey of 1,500 U.K. smartphone and tablet users conducted by Nielsen.

 

 

The Facts Are The Facts, And They Are Not in Dispute

I borrowed this title from actor Kevin Bacon’s statement in the “Few Good Men” movie, but it applies in this case.  I’m sure you see them all the time too.  I get 4 or 5 of these types of incoming comments each week.  Most are bogus or just pure spam.  But these two made me laugh since they are contrary to what the call tracking data is telling us about print Yellow Page usage:

“Yellow Pages are obsolete”

The following comment was posted on the YP Talk comment area:

I was googling “why do yellow pages still exist” and I was delighted to find this hilarious article desperately defending them instead. It’s like reading someone trying to defend the slide rule. Sorry buddy, but technology has made yellow pages obsolete. They provide no value, but they do kill a lot of trees. Mobile phones with internet access are now dirt cheap and ubiquitous, providing the same information to people. Even my grandmother has a cell phone. Nobody in their right mind would use the yellow pages, other than as kindling or paper weight.

My response, while trying to be somewhat diplomatic was as follows:

 Thank you for your commentary. It’s comments like this that show exactly why the print yellow pages still work as you clearly had already decided on the answer you wanted to hear before you even did your Google search.

I can only assume you missed the article which showed that 76% of all adults do still use the printed YP each year. Or the one about how 85% of those people who do use a book make a purchase once they pick it up. Or that advertisers are seeing AT LEAST a $10 to $1 return for their advertising investments. Perhaps you also missed the article about how call tracking results for print ads have shown INCREASES in the number of calls over the last two years. But even if you had seen that, I doubt you would believe it.

So maybe the better approach with someone like you who appears to only believe what they see at the end of the arm, how do you think all that mobile stuff got there, especially the parts from local businesses??  Answer: yellow page reps working with those businesses that get them listed where ever their clients might be. Print, online, mobile — that’s the definition of “Yellow Pages” these days…

I had really wanted to be much wittier in my response, but the facts are the facts….

How shallow can I be:

This other one came across my radar screen and it sounds like it was a man on the street type interview from an Aussie city.  They are easy to do – let’s find a cross section of people who don’t fit the demographics of a typical small business in the print or online Yellow Pages, who probably aren’t experiencing the life events that drive usage, and then ask them leading questions:

Do People Use Yellowpages Anymore? – YouTube Do People Still Use The Yellow Pages?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_psVGi-pEQc

Note how many of these people commented that page 1 of a Google results page is the extent they will go when looking for local businesses.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m spending $15,000+ on a new roof, need an experienced dental surgeon, a local limousine service for a special night out, or have to have my air conditioning system repaired, I don’t think I’m going to limit myself to the just the results Google choses to give me on the first page of a search.   That seems a bit shallow to me.  What about you??

Looks like a perfect opportunity for one of or two industry associations to develop a similar video which shows the exact opposite, with real people who spend real money for real products and services – that’s the real power of yellow……