Tag Archives: BIA/Kelsey

View From the Corner Office – An Interview with Richard “Rick” Hanna, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Dex One

Rick Hanna jumped into the deep end of the pool nearly two years ago when he was appointed Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Dex One Corporation, responsible for all sales and marketing functions.  Hanna did have the advantage of extensive background from the technology and telecom sectors to help him navigate a company and sales organization in the midst of monumental change, all within an industry undergoing equally significant transformations.  With responsibility for leading the company’s transition from a product-centric to a customer-centric organization, the company is moving quickly to transition from a mostly print centric publisher to a provider of  a wide range of print and digital products.

Most recently, Hanna served as President and CEO of RRA Partners LLC, working with companies focused on broadband network deployments.  Prior to joining RRA Partners, Hanna served as Chief Operating Officer at Motive Inc., where he led the sales, marketing, operations and product development functions.  He has also held a variety of senior leadership positions at at AT&T, Cidera, the small/medium business division at MCI, MFS-Intelenet, and Teligent.

We recently had a chance to sit down with Hanna at the SMB Digital Marketing Conference, to discuss his insights on the changing realities of selling advertising to SMBs, the challenges of reshaping Dex’s sales organization, and the pending merger of the company with SuperMedia.  Obviously there were a number of areas specific to the merger with SuperMedia that Hanna could not discuss, but I think you will enjoy some of the insights he could provide.  And we even didn’t hold it against him that he is a graduate of the University of Central Connecticut.

YPT:  Have you found any surprises since you joined industry nearly two years ago?

Hanna:  One of the first surprises was that yellow pages was actually a growth industry as recently as 2007, so the market is shifting rapidly.  Now it’s a constantly evolving market.  As I said in my presentation this morning, if you believe you’ve caught up, you’re probably still in denial.  But back to your original question, I’ve found it’s really not much different from other industries I have worked in such as the AT&T Long Distance SMB division.   The cultures were very similar.

YPT:  How long was merger with SuperMedia in the works?

Hanna:  We originally started discussions last fall.  They kind of quieted down over the winter, but then started up again seriously this spring.

YPT:   When do you think the merged group will be able to get things turned around and begin so see increase revenues, and ongoing profitability?

Hanna:  I can really only speak to the trajectory Dex One is on.  We had been seeing strong growth of upwards of 50 percent in our Digital product revenues recently.  The combination of our Dex Bundles, Dex Guarantee Actions (DGA) and digital growth, has us on a trajectory to turn positive by 2015.

YPT:  Was the shift from print to digital products as much an issue caused by the poor economy, as it was market demand?

Hanna:  We have gotten more aggressive with our digital products as our customers have become savvier as to how to use these digital products.  More and more SMBs are beginning to grasp the importance of leads and not worry about the platform that generates them.  They know their customer base is changing and shifting but they aren’t sure how much or where they are moving to.  Most business owners know they need have some presence on Google with at least a $200-$300/month investment.

YPT:  So why then is Dex One best positioned to capitalize on this shift?

Hanna:  The exciting thing is there really is no dominant, “700 lb. gorilla” in this space.   There are a lot of smaller players trying to serve SMB with a variety of products, but only a few have the full product suite that Dex One offers.  Even more important is the long standing relationships our sales force has with our SMB customers. They have depended on us for years to help market their businesses. Now, with our digital portfolio and bundles they are trusting Dex One for print and digital services.

For Dex One to be successful, we first needed to build the system and support structure to handle the new products.  We also needed a revised, sharpened hiring focus, in order to make sure our sales force better matched our current market opportunity. We are hiring more digitally savvy sales people, including New Business Hunters, which is different for Dex One.  This process took time to get in place across our national sales force.  It took us about 4-5 months to really gain momentum in refreshing our sales force.  We have learned a lot and now have over 1,000 new sales people in our force, representing a 60% refresh over the past two years.

The combination of the investment in digital products, our 21st Century sales force, and sales automation tools have really paid off for us in 2012.  Our Digital grow will be around 40% for 2012, and our bundle penetration will achieve our target of 60% of our revenue in Dex Bundle, including our Dex Guarantee Actions product.   Currently, we are running above 70+% penetration on our bundles, which means better retention, increased revenues and a very solid base to sell more new products to our customers on an ongoing basis.

We have also changed “ how” we call on our customers. In the past, our sales cycle was more of an annual basis, tied to the print cycle of the directory. Now, we are calling on our customers on a continual basis. We call it “1, 3,7, 11” – which are the first, third, seventh, and eleventh months of an annual cycle. We measure their results, sit down and review product performance, and in general, provide a higher level of service to our customers. This requires our sales force to be more efficient. This is where our efforts on sales force automation, especially delivering automated proposals on the sales reps iPads, makes a big difference.

Additionally, we have a sophisticated, search platform that really sets us apart; our DexNet platform, which sometimes internally is referred to as “science project that went well.”  We have a team of algorithmic PhDs in Santa Monica working on improving our platform each day. It is more than a full time job to keep up with the myriad of changes that Google, Yahoo, and others make to their algorithms on a constant basis.  This business is just too complicated for small boutique digital consultants or agencies to effectively serve the typical SMB customer, who spends $300-$500 a month on their digital marketing. Our biggest competitor in SMB is this local digital consultant, or as we call this segment “I got a guy.”  With the market changing as fast as it is, we truly believe the best-informed marketing consultant/sales representative will win the day in the SMB marketplace. This is again the reason why we are investing in comprehensive, multi platform training for our sales and support teams.

YPT:  How have you changed the profile of the sales people you are recruiting?

Hanna:  We found that just having multiple years of digital background wasn’t enough, especially if you are missing the core selling skills.  Making sure you are matching their skill set to the specific job is critical.  Base retention sales is very different than new business prospecting. We had to make sure we were recruiting the right skill for each of our positions. Even with an improved hiring profile in sales, we still have to expect that a 30% turnover is normal in large SMB sales forces.  This is part of the culture change as well. We have to be able to balance our sales relationships with our customers, in conjunction with the transformation to a cutting edge, marketing services sales force.

YPT:  With this expanded product set, are the days of the one call close gone?

Hanna:  Fading, maybe not totally gone, but heading that way.

I do believe the bigger change is the multiple call plan I mentioned earlier. By servicing our customers during the year on a more regular basis, the renewals and new product sales happen more organically.

For new business, we are training to be more prepared going into the first call. Plus, with our automated proposal and presentation tools on the iPad, we can accomplish a lot more on the first call.

Our goal is to be as efficient as possible, as the old saying goes, “time is money.” Bottom line, we want to make sure our customers and prospects alike fully understand our value story, and are confident in their purchase decision with Dex One.

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News U Can Use – September

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

MAJOR APPLIANCES.     The US major appliance market shrank 5.1% in 2011, down to $19.1 billion – but appliance retailers appear to be bulking up on their inventories, especially on high-end units such as $7000 refrigerators and $1200 washing machines, but also on lower priced units as well.   This all seems counter-intuitive – but according to the source article, although sales are down, prices are holding steady and still offer dealers relatively high margins, enough to do a lot of promotional selling.   While promotions are a large part of the appliance industry, retailers should not forget that many prospective buyers have a need when there’s no promotion on and will check the YP (Wall St. Journal, 8/1/12).

CHILD CARE INDUSTRY.     It’s close to a $50 billion-a-year market in the US.   The trend seems to be moving toward franchising, but it’s still composed mostly of independent providers.   The fact is, both segments are likely to grow, as experts predict a 9.2% annual growth rate.   Right now, some 14.4 million US children are in some form of child care, and 65% of US mothers with children under age 6 are in the workplace.   Finally, even though US birth rates have been down the last few years, there are still 3.94 million births per year – so there’s still good reason for child care centers to advertise (Entrepreneur, 8/12).

CONFIDENCE FACTORS.     Based on the truism that a rotten apple can taint the others in the barrel, advertisers in some of the most important YP categories may do well to beef up the reliability or confidence factors in their advertising.   Specifically, from 2010 to 2011, written complaints rose 32% for attorneys, 29% for restaurants, 26% for real estate agents, 22% for specialist physicians, and 17% for movers.   Regarding the latter, the biggest complaint was charging substantially more than the estimate and then “holding the householder’s belongings hostage” until they pay the charge.   Legislation against this tactic has already been passed, but the taint remains (Smart Money, 8/12; USA Today, 7/30/12).

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

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Other recent media/advertising newsYou will notice this version of News U Can Use is very digital centric.  There seems to have been an explosion of media advertising news recently, and it is just about all focused on the online, mobile, and social spaces.  So, here are some of the more important ones for this industry:

U.S. digital-ad revenue projected to rise 16.6% this year
According to an eMarketer estimate based on Interactive Advertising Bureau/PricewaterhouseCoopers data, Google is leading an expected 16.6% rise in digital ad revenue this year. The top five players which include well know entities such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL, will account for about two-thirds of the year’s projected $37.31 billion. Search and display will continue to dominate the ad formats through 2016, per eMarketer. (Source)

U.K. small businesses don’t understand their social successes either
It really just isn’t a US SMB issue.  According to a Constant Contact survey owners of many U.K. small and medium-sized businesses have unrealistic expectations for their social media campaigns. For example, almost a quarter of those polled said they’d consider a piece of content on Facebook a success only if it sparked 500 or more interactions. But Constant Contact’s Annette Iafrate says tangible results can be achieved with far fewer interactions. (Source)

Company finds 80% of Facebook ad clicks come from bots not people
Another company has indicated it is pulling its ads from Facebook and moving some to Twitter.  Why?  The company, Limited Run, has found evidence that 80% of ad-clicks were being generated by automated “bots” rather than human users.  The company built a custom analysis tool to monitor its ad campaigns after becoming frustrated with the limits of Facebook’s own tools. The company says its custom tool found that only 1 in 5 clicks on its ads appeared to come from legitimate sources. (Source)

BIA/Kelsey:  Daily deals are a $3.6B industry
At its recent SMB 2012 conference, BIA/Kelsey projected that Americans are expected to spend $3.6 billion on digital daily deals this year, up 87% compared with last year. The analyst group indicated they project the industry should swell a further 23% next year, en route to $5.5 billion in 2016.  Vice President and Program Director Peter Krasilovsky said that “after astronomical growth in 2012, the online deals marketplace is showing signs of maturity.”  (Source)

Twitter to offer interest-based ad targeting
Coming to a tweet you read, target based advertising.  Brands will soon be able to target ads to Twitter users based on the interests they reveal in their tweets and in the network of other users that they follow. Advertisers will be able to use that data to target ads, in much the same way that Facebook advertisers can target promotions based on a user’s likes, officials said. “This has been one of the most interesting things that Facebook has had to offer to advertisers. For Twitter to do their own version makes sense,” says Jonathan Strauss of Awe.sm. (Source)

MediaMind: Video ads have killer click-thru rates
A MediaMind study is indicating that online video ads are generating remarkably high click-thru rates, with some formats proving more than 28 times more effective than standard banner ads. In-stream VAST-format video ads had a click-thru rate of 2.84%, versus 0.22% for rich-media ads and 0.10% for a standard banner, researchers found. (Source)

Mobile is the current advertising media rage.  Here are three recent news items:

U.S. is emerging as global leader in mobile ad spending
The U.S. is poised to overtake Japan this year as the world’s leading market for mobile ad spending, reaching $2.29 billion in total outlays, compared with $1.16 billion in 2011, according to eMarketer. Mobile advertising is growing faster in North America than in the Japanese markets, because the Japanese markets are more mature. The Canadian market is expected to be worth about $110 billion this year, the firm notes. (Source)

Mobile advertising is limited by small screens, weak tracking tools
However, despite all the excitement about mobile, advertising on smartphones leaves plenty to be desired, experts say. The NY Times reported that tracking tools for mobile are far less effective than their desktop equivalents, and tiny screens aren’t well-suited to creative ad campaigns. “Size absolutely does matter,” says Christine Chen of Goodby Silverstein & Partners. “If you look at the real estate available on a smartphone, it’s really sad compared to not just banner ads on the Web, but also to TV, print and outdoor advertising.” (Source)

Study: Ads to account for 23% of mobile-app revenues
Apps are the really, really hot thing within mobile right now.  Dig a little deep and you find some interesting things:  Advertising will account for 23% of mobile-application revenues this year, an increase from 18% last year, according to a Flurry study. Ad revenues from mobile apps will total $2 billion in 2012, more than double the 2011 figure, the study reports, although most revenues will continue to come from paid apps and in-app purchases. (Source)

The last word:

Merged company headquarters will be located in Dallas

To wrap things up, here is some late breaking industry news.  Not surprisingly, the News & Observer newspaper has reported that the upcoming merger between North Carolina-based Dex One and SuperMedia will cost the Raleigh area a corporate headquarters.

The two yellow pages publishers, which announced their merger last month, have decided that the combined company’s headquarters will be based in Dallas, the home base of SuperMedia, according to an internal announcement obtained by The News & Observer.

“Working together, the leadership teams of Dex One and SuperMedia have determined that the best location for our headquarters will be at the current SuperMedia headquarters complex at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport,” stated an e-mail message that went out to employees recently signed by the CEOs of the two companies, Dex’s Alfred Mockett and SuperMedia’s Peter McDonald.

BIA/Kelsey SMB Kicks Off Busy Fall Conference Schedule

We are entering a busy industry conference season starting next week with the BIA/Kelsey SMB Digital Marketing 2012 conference, which takes place Sept. 17-19, in Chicago.
 Time is running short to join the digital marketing community, which is gathering to discuss the incredible SMB marketing opportunity for media, commerce, and engagement solutions. As of this point BIA/Kelsey has assembled an impressive lineup of nearly 50 speakers from across the SMB digital marketing space, including keynoters from Demandforce/Intuit, Constant Contact, Dex One, Facebook, Groupon and ReachLocal and featured speakers from Google/Wildfire, Deluxe, Yelp, Angie’s List, Belly, and many more.

YP Talk is looking forward to a conference program which is designed to provide valuable takeaways with topics that include local sales strategies, merchant outreach, SMB engagement/promotions, local search, social media and mobile strategies.   This conference historically offers the rare opportunity to meet with leaders in the SMB digital marketing solutions space.  Organizers are expecting more than 400 senior executives from over 150 companies at the conference.  To see the current list of companies attending go to: http://www.biakelsey.com/SMBDigital/companies.asp.

Save some money:  LinkedIn members who are also BIA/Kelsey group members can receive an additional $200 off the registration price by using the promo code SMBIN when registering.

SIGN UP TODAY. The registration price increases Sept. 17. Register today with promo code SMBIN at for greatest savings.

For a more international flavor, consider attending the 2012 ADPAI Annual Conference in Bangkok on November 5-6, 2012.  This event being run by the Asian Local Search and Media Association (ADPAI) will have major players in the local search and media space for the

The agenda is focused on the regional opportunities arising from the explosive growth that the social, local and mobile spaces have been experiencing in Asia.  We can verify there is a lot of action in Asia as we found in our interview with ADPAI Chairman – Oscar Sousa Marques, the CEO of Directel Macau yellow pages (full interview here).

Session discussions will also include how to re-train and reorganize your sales force so to effectively sell digital media, how to identify and make the most of opportunities that lie in mobile advertising, how regional companies can use social media as a tool for acquiring and maintaining customers, and much more.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Neal Polachek
  • James Sanders, Google
  • Charles Laughlin, BIA/Kelsey
  • Peter Buxton, Yellow Search Today
  • Mattias Wedar, Eniro, Sweden
  • Trevor Nadeau, Turkey Yellow Pages
  • Pavel Dolezal, SEO/SEM/SMM Specialist, Czech Republic

All the information is available online at www.adpai.com including the registration form and the sponsorship packages.

The ADPAI event is then followed by the Yellow Search Today!  Annual Conference which will be held November 14-15, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany.  Peter Ch. Buxton of Buxton Independent Consulting and Jesper Simonsen of J.S. Consulting ApS, who combined more than 30 years of operational and practical experience in the directory markets of Europe, have changed the events focus somewhat to the broad market of operators offering online, digital and mobile advertising services to the small and medium–sized business.

This event will have a theme of how to drive revenue by effective customer segmentation:

  • Which products do we offer to which  segments?
  • How does segmentation increase the salesperson’s credibility?
  • How do we put segmentation into action?

It is also an event which provides attendees with a great opportunity to meet fellow industry colleagues and develop new relationships.

Dex One and SuperMedia to Merge

Well, the long rumored merger of Dex One and SuperMedia is now real as plans to merge were formally released this morning.  The combined entity will be called “Dex Media” and will have approximately $3.1 billion in revenue (based on 2011 results).

Peter McDonald, the current CEO of SuperMedia will lead the merged operation.  Dex One CEO Alfred Mockett will step down at the completion of the merger, which is expected in the fourth quarter.

For the industry, this is the type of merger which had been expected for some time.  It really was only a matter of which companies, and who would finance the move.  As a result the U.S. Yellow Pages market will have three big players, YP Holdings (the old AT&T), the new combined Dex Media, and Yellowbook/now Hibu. Beyond these leaders, industry analysts such as BIA/Kelsey believe that further merger activity will coming from companies such as No. 4 sized Berry, as publishers look for the most efficient, sustainable platform in the rush to move from an all traditional print to a blended print/digital business.  It is a little like speed dating – better find your partner before the music stops.  Logic tells you that the pace of mergers should pick up now as others rush to find those partners.  The band is getting a little weary.

For the employees of the two merged companies, you would have to expect more layoffs in operations and staff positions after the merger is completed.

For the Local Search Association, this provides more challenges as they have lost a major dues paying member.

This merger should add some more excitement to the upcoming BIA/Kelsey – SMB Digital Marketing 2012 Conference which will be held 9/17-9/19 in Chicago (link to conference information).  Dex’s Mockett was scheduled to be one of the conferences keynote speakers.  Won’t that be an interesting presentation…..

On a lighter note, does this mean the new marketing campaign will have the Dex Knows nerd wearing a cape????

News U Can Use – July

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

MOVING IN.     According to research commissioned by the US Postal Service, some 30 million US households change residences every year – and for their new digs, they can be counted on to make a variety of purchases within the first few months.   In general, new homeowners spend over $9000 within the first six months and renters spend nearly $4000.   For example, 60% of homeowners and 40% of renters buy furniture; 35% of new movers purchase bedding; 33% of new homeowners buy lawn equipment, tools, and hardware; and 15% buy computers, home security devices, and autos.   Overall, new movers establish an average of 71 new business relationships in the first few months (Deliver Magazine, 5/12).

REAL ESTATE.     A trend in the tough real estate market opens up business potential for various service providers.   Basically, the advice now offered to sellers by many real estate brokers is to invest (up to 3% of the list price) in “staging” the property.   Staging can mean anything from making repairs or upgrades, to hiring a landscaper, to bringing in a pro stager to rearrange the décor.   It can also include hiring a home inspector to do a “pre-inspection” ($300-$400) that identifies any issues that could mess up a deal – as well as a pest controller (also $300-$400) to inspect for termites and other pests that could cause a bank to deny financing.   “Pre-inspections” can be a key advertising copy point (Kiplinger’s, 6/12).

WEDDING BREAKDOWN.     Even with an 11% drop from the pre-recession high, the average US formal wedding still cost families a whopping $25,600 in 2011 – and a total of $54 billion was spent.   So where does the money go?   About 41% goes for the reception; 30% is for “other,” which may reflect in part the fact that many weddings now take place in exotic or offbeat locations; 13% is spent on a photographer and/or videographer; 6% on rings; 5% on a wedding dress; and 5% on flowers and decorations.   Localizing the market value and converting the % shares to dollars can help you sell (Smart Money, 6/12)

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

 Other recent media/advertising news:

Following a weak 2011, U.S. saw ad spending growth in Q1
According to market research firm Kantar, first-quarter U.S. ad spending rose 2.6% to $32.9 billion.  Kantar Chief Research Officer Jon Swallen said that after a slow January the pace of spending increased significantly. For the second quarter, Swallen predicts “modest growth with improvement trickling down to media that have been lagging the overall advertising market.” (Source)

Print is still viable with unique advantages over digital
How’s this for a change — although many companies are devoting more of their ad budgets to digital, print media (in this case newspapers and magazines, but one could certainly add Yellow Pages) retains some key and unique advantages, according to this commentary. Among them are permanence, credibility and deeper reader engagement (88% of those who do use print Yellow Pages will make a purchase). To bridge the gap with digital, the article suggests things like QR codes can be incorporated in print campaigns. (Source)

BIA/Kelsey’s ‘SMB Digital Marketing 2012’ Conference Coming Up Soon

Once again, the BIA/Kelsey group is gathering top digital media and marketing leaders at SMB Digital Marketing 2012, Sept. 17-19 in Chicago, to examine the latest business models, technological developments and adoption trends in digital marketing solutions for small businesses. The speaker lineup is a blend of leading innovators in traditional SMB marketing and entrepreneurs who have taken the space by storm.

Keynote speakers for the event include Gail Goodman, CEO of the leading email and engagement marketing platform for small business, Constant Contact; Patrick Barry, CMO of Demandforce, recently acquired by Intuit; Alfred Mockett, CEO of leading directional media company Dex One; and Nathan Hanks, president of ReachLocal, a top provider of local online marketing solutions to SMBs.

“With some 20 million small businesses in the U.S. alone, SMBs represent the biggest opportunity for the next generation of digital marketing solutions,” said Conference Cochair Charles Laughlin, senior VP and program director, BIA/Kelsey. “At SMB Digital Marketing 2012, we’ll showcase the leading edge of innovation in this space and examine how solutions providers and small businesses are leveraging the latest trends.”

Recent additions to the speaker lineup include Logan LaHive, founder and CEO Belly; David Kerr, GM, eCommerce, Angie’s List; Gordon Henry, VP and GM, SMBs, Deluxe Corp.; Pamela Springer, CEO, Manta; Dick Larkin, executive VP, American Marketing & Publishing; Shawn Riegsecker, founder and CEO, Centro; Mary Beth Brendza, CEO, App Express; Marc Caltabiano, senior VP, marketing and products, Cartera Commerce; Darnell Holloway, manager, local business outreach, Yelp; and John Pletz, senior reporter, Crain’s Chicago Business.

The conference program will cover key aspects of digital marketing, including mobile, social and deals, and will examine what’s working for sales teams, agencies and resellers. Sessions include:

  • Precon Workshop: Building a Winning SMB Sales Organization
  • The Agencies on SMB Digital Marketing
  • SMB Franchise Leaders: Perspectives on the New Online Marketing
  • Sales Insights: Leveraging Resellers
  • Google and SMBs: The Special Relationship
  • Building an SMB Marketing Platform
  • Social Media: Focus on Business Models
  • Deals 2.0: The SMB Applications
  • Performance Marketing for SMBs
  • Making Sense of Mobile Advertising for SMBs
  • Inside Chicago’s SMB Tech Scene: Mega Hitters and Startups

Conference details, including speaker and agenda updates, sponsorship information, venue information and online registration, are available at www.biakelsey.com/SMBDigital.

Hearst Magazines to launch a private ad marketplace
Hearst Magazines is preparing to launch a private ad exchange for its digital unit, “Hearst Digital Media”, including ads on mobile sites for publications such as Seventeen, Elle and Good Housekeeping. The exchange won’t change Hearst’s relationship with the display and video networks currently selling Hearst’s surplus inventory, but will instead seek to provide automated programmatic audience-targeting services to upfront ad buyers. “We definitely recognize the growing need for efficiency,” says Chief Revenue Officer Kristine Welker.  (Source)

Juniper:  App-based ad spending to reach $7 billion by 2015
Advertisers will spend $2.4 billion on in-application advertising this year, according to a Juniper Research study. That figure will balloon to $7.1 billion by 2015, Juniper’s analysts predict, thanks to a global boom in mobile-device and mobile-app usage. “Mobile advertising gives marketers the chance to reach consumers on a more personal level than any other type of advertising,” says Juniper’s Charlotte Miller. (Source)

Twitter:  Expands ad offerings, expects $1 billion in ad rev by 2014
Twitter is expanding its advertising program to 50 more countries to improve global revenue and lessen the company’s dependence on the U.S. market, according to CEO Dick Costolo, who recently spoke at the Cannes Lions festival. Sources said the company is expected to draw $1 billion in ad revenue by 2014. (Source)

How digital agencies are riding the online ad boom
Ad agencies are ongoing as much change as publishers are in this industry.  Boutique digital agencies such as Blitz, Ignited and Omelet are making big bucks as major brands seek to ramp up their online marketing. Omelet should make more than $60 million this year, triple its 2011 revenues, serving clients such as AT&T, Harley-Davidson and Microsoft, while Ignited has built a $140 million business by focusing on display-ad services. “The dollars are clearly shifting this way,” says Eric Johnson, Ignited’s founder. “There has been a fundamental shift in behavior that is shaking the underpinnings of the whole media and marketing industry.” (Source)

How much of your TV advertising is wasted?  A lot….

A new Pew Internet and American Life study finds that half of all cell phone users are using their cell phones while watching television.  Nearly 40% of those use their phones to entertain themselves during commercial breaks, including by reading e-books.

“Clearly a number of those people who say they use their phones to keep themselves occupied while watching TV are reading books, news articles or other long form content,” said Aaron Smith, a senior research specialist at Pew and co-author of the report, adding that Pew didn’t have space in the survey to ask specifically about e-books.

Smith’s assertion is based on the findings of an earlier Pew report that showed more people were using their smartphones as e-reading devices.

According to the study, smartphone users, who would be the only group of cell phone users able to read e-books on their phones, are much more likely to use their phones during television watching. Nearly three-quarters of smartphone users incorporate their phone into their television watching compared with just a quarter of regular cell phone users.  (Source)

  • 23% used their phone to exchange text messages with someone else who was watching the same program in a different location
  • 22% used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was true
  • 20% used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television
  • 11% used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program they were watching, and 11% posted their own comments online about a program they were watching using their mobile phone
  • 6% used their phone to vote for a reality show contestant

 

Exploding Common Employee Myths in the Yellow Page Industry

At the recent Local Search Association conference, one of the most informative sessions came from a team of presenters – Robert Hawthorne from Hawthorne Executive Search, and Michael Taylor from BIA/Kelsey.

The two covered results of a recent survey of media sales reps and shared their observations from the field.  Hawthorne’s presentation was particular insightful because he covered six common employment myths in the marketplace.

Robert Hawthorne is an excellent speaker for this topic.  In 2011, Hawthorne Search’s team of 6 full time sales recruiters placed over 150 local market sales reps.  In 2012 YTD, the company has placed over 50 sales reps in 22 cities.  Their client list spans local search, technology, media companies focused on SMB’s.

Here are the marketplace myth’s he covered

Myth #1: overall unemployment rate parallel with local market sales reps

  • Reality: Even in the depths of recession, sales reps were still in demand

Myth #2: Reps are happy since my turnover is down

  • Reality: Strong pent up demand as many reps chose to “ride out recession” and are now active interviewing

Myth #3: Base salaries haven’t increased due to economic conditions

  • Reality: In Tier 1 markets, $60-65k base salaries common, Tier 2 $50k minimum, small markets $40-45k average

Myth #4: Local search companies need only worry about other Yellow Page industry companies poaching

  • Reality: Yellow Pages/Local Search companies have been known for great training, coaching, sales development, many other factors which make your people VERY attractive to other industries.

Myth #5: If I lose sales staff, it will be easy to find a replacement

  • Reality: In many markets, even large base salaries no guarantee of robust candidate supply.  Simply put, there are only so many “top performers” available in any given market

Myth #6: Job ads on the boards will get me a replacement

  • Reality: strong decrease in our posting results across all active job boards in past 2 years

In talking about the sales survey conducted, Hawthorne also covered “What Your Sales People Want”:

  • Stability.  Many reps will eschew the start up in social media if they think their company is stable
  • Resume Builder.  Does your company allow your rep to keep their resume “hot”  Selling new technology a way to keep reps from leaving
  • Flexibility. Work from home, flex hours, flex vacation, etc. particularly with young set very important
  • What They Want to Earn — $80k minimum by year 2 with no less than 50% of that in base salary

On finding sales talent, Hawthorne had a couple of simple, basic fundamental suggestions:

  • Jobs that don’t have minimum $40k base virtually impossible to recruit for
  • Cell phone, laptop, paid expenses, etc. all very important to today’s rep.  Sell the package, not just the base salary.
  • Benefits important, be specific

 

To find out more about Hawthorne Executive Search, go to their website at www.hawthornesearch.com, or contact Robert directly at robert@hawthornesearch.com, 910-798-1800.

 

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 ken@yptalk.com.

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 sprovencher@gmail.com.

He would be a great addition to your team…