Tag Archives: yellow page publishers

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

Advertisements

Say Hello to Local Market Launch

I recently ran an article that “Mom & Pop Are Still Not Advertising Online”, and I think I figured out why. Two reasons actually:

1) It’s not easy. The Internet is a big, wide open, complex, even formidable space with lots of moving parts. There’s search portals, social media, hyperlocal directories, niche sites, IYP’s and on and on. Even geeks really into this stuff have trouble keeping up. And then throw mobile on top and you have a real mess to navigate.

2) It can be very expensive. One SMB showed me a recent proposal he got that would cost him several thousand dollars for something he wasn’t sure he could even get a decent ROI on.

So naturally, many small business owners are reluctant and unsure on who to trust and how to proceed. We think we may have found just the solution for this dilemma, a new supplier for the Yellow Pages industry – Local Market Launch.

LML-horizontal

Background
The beginnings of this new industry entry are classical Yellow Pages start-up type stories. Brian Coryat, the company’s Founder & Chief Executive Officer, launched his first internet directory listing service back in 1995 — AAA Internet Promotions. After that he moved on to Web-Ignite, one of the first SEO companies, but is best known for founding and taking public the online advertising company ValueClick, for which he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2000 for eCommerce.

After moving on from ValueClick, Brian decided to try something different and acquired a small hotel in Wisconsin. When the economy sputtered he began looking at every nickel being spent and noticed a line entry for $700 per month which he later identify was yellow page advertising. Determined to grow his struggling hotel identity beyond just the local print directory, he began the process that every SMB goes through trying to establish a consistent identity across the Internet. It was during that period that he realized that if an experienced industry professional like himself was having such problems, imagine what the less knowledgeable SMB owners were going through. So about 18 months ago he started Local Market Launch headquartered in the heart of beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, California.

Recently the company has announced another important hire in bringing on 20+ year Yellow Pages industry veteran Jeff Hoyer.  Jeff brings background as the former VP, National Sales for R.H. Donnelley/Dex Media, (managed a national team of 30, with P&L responsibility of $420 million in print, online and PPC products), and he was also Group VP at TMP Worldwide where he managed four VP/GMs and a portfolio of national clients.

Value Proposition:
Hoyer was able to give us some insight as to the value Local Market Launch can bring to both Yellow Page publishers and CMR’s. Basically the company performs three critical functions:

  1. Business Listings Management (BLM): They work with SMB’s to develop a business profile, highly customized to their local market, validate and enhance the client data to ensure a standard, quality listing. That profile is then optimized across top 30 search, social & directory sites, sites such as FaceBook, Yelp, Foursquare, Google+, Bing Local, City Search, and Merchant Circle. Once the business profile has been established they then push that information across the net syndicating it to over 150 search portals building the SMB’s brand presence consistently, uniformly.
  2. Local Search Optimization (LSO): After the initial stages of BLM, they come back every month, analyze the business’s top competitors and build citations based on where those competitors have business profiles.
  3. Ongoing Reputation Monitoring (RM): Here they provide interactive agencies, publishers, CMR, national brands, and even those mom & pop SMB’s a dashboard which allows them to break down usage and viewing results of their business’s reputation and social web presence in any number of sorts such as division, zone, etc, and receive daily report cards

When I questioned Hoyer about what a typical average cost that an SMB would expect to see for this type service, he indicated that they are targeting a $600 first year price point. But it doesn’t end there.

Given the swift growth of mobile Local Market Launch is not limited to just working on solutions for the Internet. To provide a similar, consistent profile on mobile platforms, the company helps develop individual business landing pages which are completely mobile optimized, and then spreads that profile across the internet.

What I think will make this company very different from other providers is its agency friendly business model. The dashboards discussed above are customized for each agency. The company also has no plans to establish a direct relationship with SMB’s. They expect that publishers and CMR’s will be able to take their core product and white label it with their own brands. Under Hoyer’s guidance the company has already begun testing with a “large-scale” publisher. Local Market Launch screen

The company currently has about 20 people and is beginning to rapidly hire in the Santa Barbara area. Of note is that none of the work they do is being done by offshore workers. Everything is being done right here in the good old USA.

LML Will Be at LSA:
Hoyer revealed that the company will be making a big splash at the upcoming Local Search Association conference in Las Vegas April 13-16. The company is planning a wine tasting event in their private suite and he hinted at a drawing for a weekend on the company in Santa Barbara, possibly in a private yacht. Companies interested in meeting with Local Market Launch (or to do the wine tasting) should contact Jeff at mailto:Jeff@localmarketlaunch.com or via his office line of 805-960-5572.

 
LML top-tier-pins-28-up

Partner With Local Market Launch
If you are an agency, marketing firm, media publisher, Internet directory or an organization that reaches local businesses, consider partnering with us today.

  • White-glove, dedicated specialists for each client account
  • Single point of contact for each partner project
  • Scalable and effective
  • Easy to integrate tools for resellers
  • Revenue sharing for the life of the client
  • Custom campaign capabilities

Need more information? Give us a call at (800) 720-3291 or email partners@localmarketlaunch.com.

LML_api-cloud

ADP Convention — An Opportunity to Believe to Achieve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions contact ADP Headquarters at 800.267.9002 or hq@adp.org.

Today’s Strategic Imperatives For Directory Publishers

Sebastien Provencher posted a great article on his Where Local Meets Social  blog on earlier this week.  We are posting it here in its entirity….

Today’s Strategic Imperatives For Directory Publishers

Yesterday, I gave an interview to the Globe & Mail about Canada’s Yellow Media / Yellow Pages Group, the incumbent directory publisher and my former employer (I worked there from 1999 to 2007). Even with the challenges they’re facing, I’m still a fan of the company (and of the industry in general) but the interview gave me the opportunity to put in writing what I think are the core strategic imperatives today for any directory publisher, not just Yellow Media. The list won’t surprise anyone in the industry but it’s always good to remind ourselves what they are.

  1. Change the culture. “Internet culture” must truly permeate every aspect of the organization. Concepts like speed of execution, innovation, quick iterations, coopetition, risk-taking, failing fast must become second nature (other people on Twitter & Google+ suggested “internet culture” also meant constant learning, openness, willingness to help each other out, adaptability to constant change, sharing, crowdsourcing, diversity, immediacy, learning, and expectation of access)
  2. The sales force. I believe the sales force is now the major asset of all directory publishers and this sales force needs to be able to sell print directory products as well as a variety of online products   including third-party ones like Google AdWords or Facebook advertising.  This means recruiting and training are critical success factors. I use to believe the brand was a major asset but not anymore.
  3. Reinvent the Print. I still believe print business directories have legs and they won’t die tomorrow (and by the way, stop it with      “Yellow Pages are dead” please, nothing ever dies, it just becomes niche).  Even I still use the neighborhood book once in a while. But the book needs to be reinvented to become more locally relevant, more about the consumer.  As Francis Barker (SVP at Dex Media at the time) said in 2004 at a BIA/Kelsey conference, print books design should be influenced by online local search patterns/usage. I’ll add that they now should be influenced by mobile local search/discovery apps. On a related note, book distribution in apartment and office building should be improved to avoid the PR disaster pictures like this.
  4. Continue investing in the Web. Beef up your dev and product management team, invest in R&D, try things. Facebook has shown that you can continue innovating even when you have huge consumer usage and ad  revenues.
  5. Focus on mobile. The Web is extremely fragmented and some players like Google and Facebook have managed to capture gigantic market shares. There’s probably a bigger opportunity to support the franchise by  focusing on mobile and launching various vertical apps. Directory  publishers need to invest and build up their mobile team and technology.
  6. Get serious about social media. I’m obviously biased because of the work I’m doing on Needium, but the time for experiments in social media is over. This is serious business now both from a consumer and an advertiser point of view.

Am I forgetting anything???

******************************

No you didn’t Sebastien.  Very wise words.  Nice blog.   I would like to pile on a little.

On the sales force, I was more than a little disappointed to hear senior level people from several major publishers trashing the capabilities of their current sales team at the recent BIA/Kelsey conference.  The message to them is wake up – you’re not really seeing what these people can do.  With a little more consistent direction, management support, and clarity on exactly what you want them to sell, they can do wonders.  Don’t sell them short just because
someone has been selling print products only for some time.  Trust me, there are a ton of other industries that would love to grab these sales pros, and they will if you don’t start paying some attention and appreciation to them.

On mobile, it’s clearly the big opportunity going forward.  I am not as
convinced on most social media, as I don’t view that as a place where people
want to be inundated with advertising.   The reason many people have gone to Facebook for communication is they get less spam than from email.

On print, agree totally with Sebastien.  Maybe the better way to look
at it is why does a print Yellow Pages have to have 4000 headings to be successful??  Wouldn’t a couple of key service guides, in addition to a full suite of digital products provide the same results for advertisers?  There are certain things for which digital is a slam dunk.  But then there are a host of other products and services, especially in headings I may not be as familiar with that print still works well.  And I still insist it’s quicker and easier to find many thing in print than online.   At least for now.

But in total, nice job Sebastien.