Tag Archives: YP Talk

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……

 

 

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.

Natural disasters and Print Yellow Pages

No one ever uses the print yellow pages.  Everything is available online so print is a waste.  I haven’t looked at a print directory in years.

Do these comments sound familiar?  They are the kinds of comments you will see from print naysayers all across the internet.  Those of us who work in the industry and see the incredible results it brings for SMB’s day in, day out, know these comments aren’t true.  So how can we prove the negative Nellie’s wrong?  It only takes one of those life events, better known as a natural disaster.

Below we are posting the entire blog from Amy Rybczynski of the DAC Group.  She goes through several recent natural disasters including the most recent event known to us as Hurricane Sandy, a storm so powerful that many people are still struggling with its aftermath months later.

What did Ann uncover?  Calls to tracked ads jumped dramatically after one of these weather events occur as people scramble to rebuild, replace, and reestablish their lives, businesses, and communities.  As is the case in many storms like Sandy, cell towers were wiped out, power was lost, and the internet is just a memory from the past.  The bold lettering in the article has been added to draw your attention to the power of Yellow Pages in tough times like these.  Good job Amy.

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Superstorm Sandy Drove Yellow Pages Usage
Amy Rybczynski – Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back in August I blogged about how our testing program for a waterproofing client gave us a clear view of the effectiveness of print Yellow Pages after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee hit the East Coast and mid-Atlantic region late in the summer of 2011.

Calls to the advertiser’s tracked lines went through the roof in the months that followed the storms, registering in 220% more calls in September 2011 than in the previous September, despite the fact that we were tracking 25% less lines. Call counts stayed higher than usual for the months that followed, gradually coming back to average levels early in 2012. Undoubtedly there was a lot of residual cleanup to do after the storms passed through, lasting months after the initial impact, and our call data reflects that. And while we don’t have any proof of this, it’s not a stretch to assume that some of the later callers were among those that had suffered losses and recovered, then decided to take preventative action on their newly restored properties.

In late October 2012, many of the same areas were hit with another major storm, this time Superstorm Sandy. I was interested to see how our testing would look this time around, given that the worst damage was once again within our client’s main market area. At first glance, the results weren’t nearly as obvious as they were after Irene, but the damage this time around was concentrated more in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, rather than being widespread across the advertiser’s entire market area.

However, when I dug down into regional data, it was apparent that the storm had an impact on call volumes to the advertiser’s test lines in the most affected areas. The rise began in late October, even before the storm hit, which could indicate that the advance warning of the storm provided by weather experts may have led to preventative maintenance calls. In fact, looking at data across all markets, calls started to rise on October 25th, four days before the storm hit, and remained high through November 8th.

In looking at individual regions, we can see that calls increased dramatically. In Maryland, there were twice as many calls per active test line in October than in September. The rate remained nearly steady for November as well. Calls for each month were just about double normal levels. New Jersey saw a similar jump, with double the calls and over 40% more calls per test line. Interestingly, New York didn’t see a rise until November, at which point they saw a 47% jump in calls and a 77% jump in calls per test line. The delay may be attributable to numerous power outages in the area and that it took a while for a lot of people to return to their homes. Based on what we saw in the aftermath of Irene, we can certainly assume that this jump in activity may continue well into December and beyond, as well.

The phone lines used in these tests were unique to print Yellow Pages directories, so we know that these calls were all the direct result of a print Yellow Pages reference. While we’re all well aware that our society is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, this call data shows that the print Yellow Pages are still very much in use, particularly when life events (or major superstorms) strike.

Amy Rybczynski, Marketing Research Analyst

 

News U Can Use – January

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

THE COOLNESS FACTOR.     It used to be that high school photos would be taken by a photographer who would set up in the gym one day and snap away as class members filed in one by one.   Typically, the price for a complete “package” would top out at $60 or $70.   But that’s no longer cool.   More and more moms are now making private appointments with the local hip photographer to have model-like photos of their teenagers, and they’re willing to pay the price – for example, in Austin, Texas, $699 for the basic pose and $1199 for the complete package.   The key, according to one parent, is about making the portrait show some individuality, with professional light and shadow, etc. (USA Today, 11/12/12).

GOT MOLD?     Nationwide, mold-Inspection laws are in a state of flux – e.g., Arkansas and Virginia both passed mold-inspection laws and then repealed them; and only Florida and Texas have licensing laws for mold inspectors.   But household mold poses a health threat everywhere, and mortgage lenders frequently require a mold inspection.   That’s why CIE certification (certified indoor environmentalist) is a key credential for many contractors.   The author of the source article achieved CIE certification, enabling him to command $300 to $600 per inspection – and he noted his “yellow-page ads were very effective, accounting for about 75% of my sales for the first two years” (Journal of Light Construction, 11/12).

LAWYER STATS.     In 2011, over 44,000 US law students graduated from ABA-accredited law schools, and nine months later only about half had found jobs in the legal field.   Indeed, in 2010 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics had forecast some 74,000 new lawyer jobs from 2010 to 2020 – but only three years into that decade, some 133,000 new lawyers have hit the job market, and by 2020 there will be 300,000 additional grads.   As we’ve said before in this publication, a great many of these new lawyers will be forced to hang out their own shingle, some out of home offices – and if you can identify them, you need to let them know how important it is for them to be well represented in the YP (Wall St. Journal, 11/9/12).

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

Recent media/advertising news of note:

What the “fiscal cliff” deal really means for small-business owners
After weeks of speculation and on/off discussions, Congress finally got a deal done.  Now most small-business owners are expecting to see their taxes to rise. “The fiscal cliff deal will make me spend more time working in the business rather than on the business,” commented Bill Westrom, who owns a financial-consulting firm with just five employees. (Source).  The topic is covered in YP Talk in part one of our two-part series about what 2013 holds for SMB’s (Link).

Super Bowl ad slots almost sold out

But then again times can’t really be that bad can they? USA Today is reporting that CBS, which will air this year’s Super Bowl game has just two 30-second Super Bowl ad slots left to sell (and they are probably taken by now) at their record rates of at least $3.8 million for a 30-second slot. Viewers should look for new advertisers, more social media tie-ins, and longer ads at this upcoming 2013 Super Bowl.  <Source>

Internet Advertising Revenues Hit Historic High in Q3 2012

Even in a weak economy, advertisers are pointing more of their advertising dollars towards the Internet.   According to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report figures released by IAB and PwC US, Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. reached $9.26 billion for the third quarter of 2012, making it the largest quarter on record with an 18% increase year-over-year, in comparison to Q3 2011’s $7.8 billion. In addition, they mark a 6% increase over the Q2 2012 figures of $8.72 billion. <Source>

Billboards doing well in Time Square in New York

Never mind that the One Times Square building which hosts the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop has almost no tenants,  it still earns more than $23 million a year in ad revenue. How?  Companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Sony and News Corp. are among the brands that spend millions each year digital billboard advertising to reach people milling around in Times Square.  Even during non-New Year’s days, it’s a very busy place with lots of potential eyeballs.  With digital boards, some of big dollar success comes from being able to change and turnaround new messages faster and with lots of moving graphics. (Source)

Mobile-ad spending continues to grow
There has been no shortage of reports of significant increases in mobile-ads.  According to an eMarketer analysis, the U.S. leads the way with search and display spending up 220% in 2012. Globally, mobile-ad spending reached $8.41 billion, compared with slightly more than $4 billion in 2011. (Source)

ZenithOptimedia has also estimated that traditional media ad spending will be flat in 2013, mobile is still likely to see strong growth.  Factors working in mobile’s favor are its low cost and high levels of consumer engagement, both of which are appealing to advertisers with tight budgets.  (Source)

The increasing expenditures in mobile are also being channeled towards social media mobile sites.  For example, some brands are now putting 20% of their Facebook ad spending into mobile campaigns, up from 14% in October, according to a Kenshoo study.. (Source)

A Tablet Christmas Day
What did you get for Christmas?  Chances are it was a new tablet.  On Christmas Day there were 17.4 million tablet device activations, more than doubling the number of devices from a year before, according to mobile ad/analytics firm Flurry. Tablets also saw more activations than smartphones this year, the firm reports. In other measures, non-Apple tablets gained in popularity on the iPad, and while Christmas Day saw a record number of application downloads.  How many yellow page apps do you think were downloaded?? (Source)

Still haven’t picked out your tablet?  Looking for something to bridge the gap between laptop and smartphone? Here is a review of ten top-rated tablets. (Source)

Twitter Growing in Scope and Usage
Twitter has become the hot social media these days and there has been no shortage of news.  First, if you are little behind about this new media, you can start with a list of “Golden Tweets” that generated the greatest number of “retweets” in 2012. At the top of the heap was President Barack Obama’s “Four more years” tweet, celebrating his victory in the U.S. election. Other much-shared tweets included Justin Bieber’s tribute to a deceased fan; the U.K. Olympic team celebrating its successes; and a Japanese voice actor announcing his engagement to a fellow star. (Source)

Did you also know that over three-quarters of world leaders now use Twitter?  That is an increase of 78% from 2011, according to a Digital Policy Council report. President Barack Obama remains the social network’s top political leader, with 24.6 million followers, followed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who has 3.8 million followers.  Of course, it’s not really Barack banging away on the keys, but I think you get the concept – Twittering isn’t just for the common folks looking for their 15 milliseconds of fame. (Source)

However, sometimes those tweets can get in you trouble.  Take Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.  He was recently fined $50,000 by the NBA after posting a tweet criticizing the league’s referees. Cuban’s tweet, posted after the Mavs were defeated by the New Orleans Hornets, said he has “failed miserably” at getting the league to fix referee-related issues (Source)

Digital revenues still not there for traditional publishers yet
While all of this twittering, mobile advertising, and social media growth is going on, “traditional publishers” (talking creative media here, not yellow pages) still aren’t offsetting losses from declining print and broadcast advertising with digital advertising.  Web ads are accounting for just a small percent of radio and newspaper groups’ total revenues. Publishers still believe  digital has plenty of promise, “but as 2012 draws to an end, it’s clear that this promise is still more theoretical than real,” writes Erik Sass. (Source)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YP Talk — 2012 in review

Happy New Year everyone!!!! 

The WordPress.com stats helpers have been kind of enough to prepare a 2012 annual report for this site.   One of the most interesting stats for this site that we are very proud of — readers in 2012 came from 149 different countries which has to make YP Talk one of the most widely read sources for the Yellow Page industry, worldwide….

Here’s an excerpt from the annual report:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had over 35,000 unique views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 8 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you to all of you for reading and commenting on the articles we have posted over the past year.  We look forward to keeping you informed in 2013.

How to confront a critic of the industry’s environmental efforts

One of the most effective ways I have found to deal with industry critics regarding our environmental position is to simply to engage them in a conversation.  As simple as that concept seems, many are disarmed immediately when you present the simple facts of how the industry has been proactive in the makeup of the materials we use in our print products, the voluntary opt-out programs implemented, and what the real statistics are on the impact of directories to the local waste stream.

Local Search Association President Neg Norton recently demonstrated that on a panel run by the Product Stewardship Institute, a group that has made it their self-appointed duty to confront industries they feel are anti-environment.

Here is the full content of Neg’s response as posted on the Association’s “Insiders” blog.  Good job Neg and the entire LSA team:

 Product Stewardship and the Yellow Pages Industry

Contributed by: Neg Norton

What is the role of government in product stewardship? This question was posed to me as one of five panelists on yesterday’s Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) webinar. Many government officials and recycling professionals listened in, and other panelists included:

According to PSI’s invitation, the purpose of the webinar discussion was to discern, “…whether key [product stewardship] program principles, such as transparency and accountability, are best attained through voluntary, mandatory, or hybrid programs that encompass elements from both approaches.”

During the webinar, I stressed that it is important to not lump all of private industry together when considering how to regulate the environmental impact of products in the marketplace. Government leaders and other key stakeholders should look at what each individual industry is doing and not take a one-size-fits-all approach.

As we know, many states and cities are feeling the budget pinch, and taxpayer money has to be carefully prioritized to protect public health and safety. The bigger the threat, the greater need for government.

Certainly, hazardous products require government oversight in order to protect consumers from injury. As the ACA’s Alison Keane noted, paint is the top household hazardous waste product. That is why the ACA founded “PaintCare,” a non-profit program to manage the reuse, recycling and proposal disposal of unused paint. This industry-support effort is in conjunction with government oversight initiatives that include a per-can assessment fee, convenient paint collection and a management system run by manufacturers.

However, a telephone directory does not present the safety hazards that paint can. And when it comes to the print Yellow Pages, we know that voluntary self-regulation through industry-led efforts works best for consumers, small businesses, and most importantly, taxpayers.

Our industry has been proactive in reducing the carbon footprint of our products and has generated significant results. Last year, we re-launched our successful, industry-funded consumer website, www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. The site, which is provided at no cost to consumers or cities, enables residents and local businesses to choose which directories they receive or stop delivery altogether. The recycling rate for print directories is high and the impact of phone books on the municipal waste stream is miniscule. Moreover, over the past five years, our industry has undergone a 50% reduction of paper use for directory production.

Another factor is whether government and an industry are aligned in their goals. For our industry, we have a common desire with government to reduce the number of unwanted directories. Publishers do not want to incur the cost of printing and delivering a product to a household that does not intend to use it. Local government wants to reduce unwanted directory deliveries but often have competing budgetary demands. So, the industry offers a free solution: a website where consumers can opt-out of phone directory delivery.

Mr. Lifset included in one of his presentation slides that there is, “No sound science to support effectiveness of voluntary approaches to environmental policy,” and that the, “Majority of voluntary schemes collect little or no data… no data, no evidence!” I disagree. For one, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) provides us with credible data on the success of our efforts. Back in 2009, the EPA determined that directories made up three-tenths of one percent of the of discarded paper & paperboard products in the municipal waste stream. Now, however, the EPA has determined that phone directories are such a small part of the municipal waste stream that they no longer see a need to track the product separately.

Mr. Martin noted that Australia had a 77.7% recovery rate for newsprint in 2011. That is very common to the recycling rate for newsprint in the U.S. – which includes telephone directories – of 71.6%. Whether or not the Australian rate includes telephone directories is secondary to the larger point of the commonness and success in paper recycling globally.

While our industry continues to responsibly self-regulate the production, distribution and disposal of our products, we believe that government can play an important role in communicating solutions and options to the public. I shared with the webinar listeners an overview of the collaborative press releases that our industry has issued with state and local lawmakers across the country, several of whom are noted as strong advocates of the environment.

I’m glad that our industry had this opportunity to share our positive story with interested parties on the PSI webinar, and I look forward to continued dialogue.

 

Now what do we do?? Lessons learned from Sandy

The images on the news following Hurricane Sandy of the suffering and living struggles people are going through in the New York/New Jersey area have been horrific to watch.  It brings back many memories of the aftermath of Katrina, but on a different scale.  I still have family in the area and many were without electric and heat for 9+ days.

What you will not hear as much about is the impact on businesses from this serious, destructive act of nature.  It has been estimated that more than 3 million businesses – large and small, schools, government agencies, and hospitals – are still affected to a point of being partially or completely shut down.  Even YP Talk was not immune as the serves that host our system are based in the northern New Jersey area and lost power for a couple of days.

Once again, it reminds all of us of the need for disaster recovery plans.  It’s easy to talk disaster recovery;  it’s a whole other thing to actually implement it.  And we’re not only talking about hurricanes, flooding, or blizzards:  recall the earthquakes of the early 1990s in California, the recent fires this summer in Colorado, record size tornados in the southeast (not the mid-west where it is expected), and the nuclear reactor issues in Japan. Sandy’s total economic damage from this super storm could be as high as $50 billion.

Back in September, 2005, post Katrina, we covered the need for every business to have a disaster recovery plan in place (link to full article).  In that article we suggested 5 general steps for implementing a plan.   What’s different now, some seven years after Katrina and that original YP Talk article (has it really been that long?), is that technology and communications are even more critical in today’s businesses and business operations. Sandy brought down a lot of the core infrastructure:  power, Internet, and even cellular communications were wiped out and in many areas, have still not been fully restored.

While we are not suggesting that we are disaster recovery experts at YP Talk, but the two key questions you should consider in your organization is:

  • How long can our business remain down with no data, no computer access, no internet, or no telephone/communication operations before we will have to shut down completely?
  • How much data can we afford to lose before our business will suffer irreparable damage going forward?

Obviously, the answers are different for every industry and business.  But here’s some food for thought:  according to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40% of businesses fail after a disaster and only 43% of all businesses feel prepared to handle an emergency. Other statistics indicate that 61% of businesses that where without communication for seven days or more eventually shut down permanently within a year.   Further, a loss of more than 30 days of data is proven to be catastrophic to 78% of businesses.

As an extension to our earlier article list, here are a couple of things to consider for your disaster recovery plans:

Step back before going forward:  Have you determined your organizations vulnerabilities and capabilities?  Expect the unexpected.  And no plan is worth the paper it is printed on if you don’t test your plan often — practice does make perfect

Backup Power is Key:  Today, EVERYTHING requires power.  If you house your own systems, do you have redundancy plan that may even include being able to run on generators for up to three days without refueling?

 Location, location, location:  Is all of your key physical infrastructure in the basement or other susceptible location??  One harrowing story from an IT manager indicated that their building’s block-long basement was filled with water and it actually made it up about four feet into the lobby above.  Hence, no surprise that the damage to the building was enough that they couldn’t get into the building at all, and then didn’t have any power for five days.  But even then, all that infrastructure was lost.

Communications, Phone, and Email:  Maintaining communications with staff, with your customers is essential after a storm.  Many firms have employees in different parts of their operation that can work from anywhere as long as they have access to servers and technology. While cellular communication if often the default provider after a disaster, as Sandy showed us, it’s not totally infallible.  Have a Plan C.   Social or business networks such as Linkedin.com or Facebook can be extremely useful for group communications, news distribution to groups, and just staying in touch.

The cloud is available:  One thing that is different from the Katrina days is that a number of cloud-based services are now available to both backup data and help companies get operational again. Think about using a service that can provide needed back up and support during disaster events.

Risk Management and Insurance – Does your company carry business interruption insurance? Flood insurance is also good because most insurance policies do not cover “rising water” from floods. The government sells affordable flood insurance to many Americans, but you must buy a contract well before a storm is viable to have coverage in force. Companies such as: Met Life or Lincoln Financial as well as others provide this service.

As Sandy showed us, here in the twenty-first century, our businesses rely heavily on critical infrastructure – and it’s essential to have a workable business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan to keep your business going, because you never know what’s next…..

 

 

 

Why apples aren’t oranges

A new press release came out that had this nefarious title:  “2012 Waste Figures Affirm YellowPagesGoesGreen.org Stance Against Yellow Pages Paper Directories”

My first reaction was wow, can’t wait to see these stats.  But when you dive into the press release/article what you find instead is a lecture about recycling paper in general, with absolutely no Yellow Page specific data.

For example:

According to Greenwaste.com, each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 3.5 cubic yards of landfill, 17 thirty foot (pulp) trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, and 4100 kwh of energy.

That’s nice to know, as well as “…DailyGreen.com reports that paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste, and one third of municipal landfill waste; Statspotting.com adds that paper waste accounts for up to 40% of total waste produced in the United States each year, which adds up to 71.6 million tons of paper waste per year in the United States alone…”

But note this is PAPER, not YELLOW PAGES.  It easy to see why they could be lumped together.  They are both fruits, right?  But, they are also different.  Did they just get it wrong then?  Not exactly.  See there is a little hidden motive involved here called money.

Back in July, 2011 we put a spotlight on the “YellowPagesGoesGreen” group and it’s not a pretty picture – simply put they want to rid the world of printed phonebooks so people will be forced to use their online directory product.  A little capitalism is fine, and as many bank robbers have noted on why they rob banks (“…it’s where the money is…”) it’s just that bogus misrepresentations like this are exactly why ADP has kicked of the “Power of Yellow” rally.

As we’ve noted, time and time and time again, the YP industry does not “harvest”, or farm, or cut trees for their paper. They don’t have to. They use all of the residual materials that come from the milling of trees for lumber and all of the PAPER items we do recycle (If you want to find out more go here: http://www.yptalk.com/archive.cfm?ID=322&CatID=3).

And we’re ok with a well-intended group scolding people a little:  “…many people are not pitching in to make the Earth a greener place to live, and the damage that is being done to our environment in the name of endless paper consumption is leaving our future as a race in doubt, unless we band together to do something about it now…”  Just please stop wrapping yourself with the green flag when your real motive is to game some revenue from the print Yellow Pages industry, a product that still gives an ROI of at least $10 for each $1 spent in an ad program, that is used by 75% of population during the year when they truly need a local product or service.

Now that’s the true Power of Yellow.

ADP Launches “Power of Yellow” Campaign to Fight A “Virus of Misperception”

In a packed meeting room on Friday in Chicago, the Association of Publishers rolled out a new multi-phase effort entitled the Power of Yellow™ , to increase the factual understanding of advertisers, consumers, and the press about the continuing value of print Yellow Pages, and to immunize the industry against the “virus of misperception” that it believes it threatening the industry today.

The genesis of the campaign comes from a desire on the part by independent publishers to initiate a “Got Milk”-grass roots style of campaign for the Yellow Pages industry.  Larry Angove, President of ADP, indicated that earlier efforts to work with the former Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA) on a campaign were rebuffed.

This is the first coordinated industry marketing effort since the mid-90’s when the then named Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA), tried a light bulb and the tagline in the “Get an idea”

Unable to achieve any significant traction with the new branding (traction that could be verified through higher sales) the “Get an Idea” campaign was abandoned two years later.

This new, multi-faceted program general first-phase components are being provided to all ADP members at no cost, and include templated adds that can used in a range of media

  • Phased Media Releases
  • Television Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Print Media Ads
  • Newspaper Op-Ed Articles
  • Magazine Feature Articles
  • Directory Filler Ads
  • Sales Presentation Video
  • Coordinated Sales Collateral

Support for the effort also includes:

  • Placement Guidelines and Schedules
  • Offensive Talking Points
  • Defensive talking Points
  • Advertiser Testimonials
  • Data Source Documentation

A unique feature of this new program is the inclusion of four of the industry’s leading research experts to “star” in a series of 30-second television and 30-second radio spots proclaiming the Power of Yellow™ which publishers can then add their own product information to for local release.  Featured in the spots are:

  1. Dr. Dennis Fromholzer, President, CRM Associates
  2. David Goddard, EVP, IMS Local Search Authority
  3. Paul Gordon, Vice President & General Manager, Catalyst Paper USA
  4. Steve Sitton, President & CEO, Market Authority, Inc.

In presentations at the kickoff event, each of these industry experts noted key aspects of the factual arguments this effort will present:

Dr. Dennis Fromholzer:  “….the value of a lead from print yellow pages is 25X more valuable than a click to an online ad”

David Goddard:  “….people where saying print was dead 10 years ago.  We project the print/digital revenue mix will not reach 50/50 until 2018 at the earliest…”

Paul Gordon:  “…the reality is the industry isn’t knocking down trees solely to make paper for its products”

Steve Sitton:  “…print is not dying on schedule as many said it would.  Our research has found that the migration to digital is slowing.  That’s a very inconvenient truth”

At YP Talk, we have long advocated that the industry needs to begin to confront its many critics about print.  As far back as 2005, we made several calls to action (here, and here are just two examples).  As Goddard noted at the kickoff, if the Seattle and San Francisco opt-out ordinances had held up, they could have resulted in a $500+ million hit to the industry.   In June, we advocated that the industry reconsider the use of the iconic walking fingers in its local marketing efforts (June article here).  As a result, we are ecstatic to see this new initiative from ADP and will be supporting it fully as it rolls out.

As Sitton noted at the kickoff, it’s time to stop this “virus of misinformation”.  Amen.  But the industry needs your support.  Do we have it??

Are you helping your advertisers find “NEDICT”s??

Every small business wants to grow.  But how can they do that?  The simple answer is they need to target their advertising towards the “NEDICT”’s.

We once again asked Jacqui Cherven Bickel (yes, she has recently gotten married – Congrats Jacqui) of Genesis Publisher Services, a company that provides sales training and support services to a number of publishers, who these buyers that SMB’s should be directing their advertising programs to? She immediately educated us on the NEDICT factors:

“N” as in New Comers

Now matter how static you may perceive a small town to be, you would amazed at the changes they occur each year in that town.  Just compare the white page listings year to year and you will see the new people that have moved in to town, and unfortunately those that have moved on.

This is great news for an SMB’s – they need to be able to reach those 20-25% of new people in their community that don’t know them, haven’t heard about them, or don’t even know their business exists.  This crop of new comers is needed to replace those clients that every business will lose each year.  Does the businesses advertising message speak to these new people in their market??

New comers could also be those consumers who may be new to the need to the products and services offered by the SMB.  An example may be the first time homeowner.  If they’ve rented a home or an apartment or lived with parents up until the purchase of their first home, they’ve not likely needed the services of say a landscaper, a roofer, an air conditioning contractor or many other businesses.  Now that they have become homeowners, the need for such services will arise.

“E” as in Emergency

The most classical use noted for a print Yellow Pages is when that water pipe has burst, there’s water everywhere and a consumer needs someone NOW!  Let’s face it – emergencies happen.  It is called “life”.  And often they come up when we least expect them.

If a directory can contain upwards of 4,000 potential headings, there is no way a consumer/buyer can be an expert in all of those categories.  That’s way it’s critical that an advertisers program speaks to what they can do in the case of an emergency, or how they will satisfy that wide range of urgent needs that pop up.

“D” as in Dissatisfied

Can you name a bunch of businesses you have dealt with where you weren’t happy with their products or services, and vowed to never again do business with them?  That should an easy list to create.  But what happens when you need that product or service again?  The consumer/buyer needs to find another business to work with, thus, they go into the Yellow Pages without knowing who they’re going to call, only knowing who they AREN’T going to call!

“I” as in Infrequent

How often do you usually need to replace a roof, find an extended care facility for an elderly family member, find a veterinarian that has weekend or holiday office hours, replace a busted garage door, etc.. etc., etc.  For many of us, these are unique, often one-time events.  But when the need arises, where can I find the local SMB’s I need, and even get educated on what questions I should be asking??  Hint:  it’s not in the newspaper, on cable TV, or over the radio.

“C” as in Comparison

Even if I’m pretty happy with the business I have used in the past, human nature is to do at least some comparison shopping just to be sure I am getting the best deal and service available.  What better place to do that than in a Yellow Pages where all of the provider’s of those products or services are group together in that same heading for my easy viewing.  For example, your favorite, local, mom and pop hardware store — Ralphs Hardware, did you know they now have equipment rentals?  And how would I know that unless that put that information in their ad?

“T” as for Transient (as in traveler or tourist)

I’m sure each of you has a story about how sometime during your travels, you forgot something, your eyeglasses broke, you would really like to go to a sushi restaurant, or that you needed an office supplies store.  You don’t know the area, what businesses are there, or even where can I find them?

Another way to think about it – calculate the number of hotels in the area, add up all of the rooms they have, assume a 75% occupancy rate, and an average stay of 2 – 3 days, and the number of travelers you have in your market will astound you.  All of those travelers, will have needs in a place they aren’t familiar with.

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These are just some of the core buying needs that bring consumers to local SMB’s.  Which is why they need to make sure their advertising message speaks to each of them, in a comprehensive Yellow Pages program, in print, online, and mobile.

Are you helping your advertisers (or potential advertiser) be found for each of these buying needs?