Archive for April, 2010

AT&T Interactive Adds Voice Search, Social Networking to YPMobile App

Friday, April 30, 2010

It’s been a busy April for AT&T Interactive. Earlier this month, the company announced that it was introducing YP.COM as the new name of its flagship YELLOWPAGES.COM web property and brand. Then just a few weeks later, it opened its much-anticipated social search site, buzz.com, to the public for an early-beta program.

Now AT&T is debuting voice search and integrated social networking tools in its latest version of the YPMobile App for iPhone and iPod Touch.

According to AT&T, the new voice search tool will allow users on the go to easily conduct local searches by simply speaking the name of a local business or types of businesses they’re looking for. The updated app also includes improved map-based search with quick access to recently viewed business and events.

Additionally, the app is integrated with Facebook and Twitter so users can share their favorite businesses with friends.

To download the free app on your iPhone or iPod Touch, visit the iTunes store.

Sensis ‘Free Pizza’ Campaign Shows: When it Comes to Finding New Business, Yellow Pages are Still 70% of the Pie

Monday, April 26, 2010

Over the past few months, we’ve released new data that reinforces the ongoing value of print and Internet Yellow Pages to local businesses. Now a new advertising campaign by Sensis, an Australian Yellow Pages provider, shows that when put to the test, our findings match up closely with the real world.

As The Australian reports, Sensis opened a new Melbourne restaurant, the Hidden Pizza Restaurant, in the basement of an alleyway earlier this month. Flyers distributed in the local area, as well as the restaurant’s website and Facebook page, offered a free pizza to consumers who could find its location during a two week period. The restaurant’s blog told consumers to, “just look us up the way you would any other business.”

Data collected during the campaign, which concluded April 25, found that of the 8,000 consumers who located the restaurant, 70% found their way via a paid Internet Yellow Pages listing, through paid search engine listings that Sensis placed, or from a print Yellow Pages directory (which were delivered shortly before the campaign began). Blogs, social media, and other forms of word-of-mouth accounted for the other 30% of customers, the company said.

We’re very encouraged by the results of this campaign, which we believe illustrate the strength of Yellow Pages’ multi-platform advertising model in driving real leads for local businesses.

For more, read the full The Australian article here.

YPA Data is eMarketer Stat of the Day

Monday, April 26, 2010

eMarketer, a leading digital research and trend analysis company, featured data from our Local Media Tracking Study yesterday in its popular e-newsletter and on its website.

The story, entitled “Finding Consumers Who are Ready To Buy,” discussed our research, conducted by Burke, which found that eight out of ten print and Internet Yellow Pages searches in 2009 were conducted by people who said they were ready to buy. The article also talked about additional data which found that two-third of respondents said print and Internet Yellow Pages were more trustworthy and accurate than search engines for finding local business information.

We’re excited to see that eMarketer published another statistic from our research as their Facebook “Stat of the Day” on Friday. It’s nice to see that the online community is taking note of our data and the continued role that Yellow Pages platforms provide in generating leads in our rapidly changing media environment.

Yellow Pages Marks Earth Day With Sustainability Report Launch

Thursday, April 22, 2010

As you may already know, today marks an important day to encourage environmental awareness and appreciation of our natural surroundings.  Earth Day turns 40 today and we thought there was no better time to issue our first-ever Yellow Pages industry sustainability report.

Leading the development of this report has been a big, but rewarding job.  I am pleased to work with so many Yellow Pages companies that are making great progress on the sustainability front.  We’ve come a long way since we launched our environmental guidelines in 2007, but unfortunately many of the efforts aren’t widely known or publicized.  I’m hopeful this report helps us get the word out and clears up common misperceptions about our industry’s environmental impact.

Yellow Pages industry successes include:

  • Launch of consumer choice programs (www.yellowpagesoptout.com) to give consumers a choice to reduce or stop directory delivery.
  • Use of directory paper that contains recycled content and fiber derived from lumber byproducts – making it unnecessary to use new trees to produce Yellow Pages.
  • A 29% reduction in the use of directory paper since 2006, as a result of programs to reduce the size of directories, use of more efficient pagination systems, and expansion of digital and mobile search products.
  • Implementation of soy-based inks and nontoxic dyes that pose little threat to soil or groundwater supplies and adhesives in the binding process that are eco-friendly and non-toxic.
  • Support of recycling and up-cycling programs that ensure directories have a life after use.

Of course, this effort isn’t only about celebrating our progress but also setting the stage for where we need to go.  While we’ve made good progress, we must focus on continuous improvement and have outlined our vision and goals for the year ahead.

Click here to read the full 2010 Sustainability Report.

In the spirit of today, I would also encourage you to check out the Earth Day Action Center website to find out what green events are going on in your area.

The 2010 YPA Annual Conference, ‘Transformers,’ Defined by Optimism and Opportunity

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I’m thrilled to report that our 35th annual YPA conference, “Transformers” was a great success. More than 425 Yellow Pages industry professionals from across the country and around the world joined us in sunny Las Vegas for four days of informative and imperative dialogue about the changing nature of our industry.

Like our industry, our conference was transformed this year to include a new format that highlighted Strategic Exchange Sessions (SES) instead of the traditional exhibition hall. The SES program was designed to allow companies to easily make appointments with industry executives during the conference – and the feedback we received so far has been outstanding. We’ve heard that those who participated were able to make more connections and have more quality 1:1 conversations than ever before.

Our general session and breakout sessions were also well received. The level of engagement and enthusiasm about the topics was significant – as the posts (and video) on InsideYP and on Twitter (via our hashtag, #YPA10) clearly illustrate. Some highlights include:

  • YPA Chairman Chris Cummings kicked-off the first morning session with the argument that, despite the fast pace of change in the industry, print and Yellow Pages products are performing well. He called on the industry to continue to work together to promote the facts about offerings and their usage in a transparent way to advertisers.
  • Eastman Kodak Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Hayzlett captivated the audience with a discussion of the transformation Kodak has made as the world moved away from film/print imaging to digital. As one attendee said, “If Kodak can go through that big of change in their business in that short of a time, and actually come out of it stronger, this industry should have no problem.”
  • Although unable to join us in person because of the volcanic ash situation in Europe, Jesper Karrabrink, CEO of Eniro shared a keynote address by video which discussed, among several things, the transformation necessary in our databases to be able to deliver truly relevant searches and to not be constrained by our traditional directory heading structure.
  • Local Matters CEO Mat Strover, who also participated in our “Being Built to Last” panel hosted by BIA/Kelsey, delivered a keynote today in which he explained why the future of the Yellow Pages industry will be all about relationships—and how social media is the most powerful and efficient environment to build those relationships.
  • Picking up on Chris Cummings’ point, our Advertisers Panel discussed the important of data in driving marketing decisions. Sales representatives from SuperMedia and Yellowbook, along with two long-time YP advertisers, expressed optimism that local businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of maintaining—or in some cases, reengaging—their Yellow Pages offerings.

In addition to these activities, our attendees enjoyed networking and reconnecting with one another – most notably during our Monday night Gala dinner (with our special guests!).

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s conference a success.

Mr. Business Builder: YP Sales Reps Must Believe in Themselves and Their Products

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Frank Rowan, founder of Mr. Business Builder, not only preached passion, belief and persistence as the key ingredients to successful selling, he demonstrably confirmed those traits in his presentation yesterday at our annual conference in Las Vegas.

The focus of Rowan’s speech was that YP sales reps must believe in themselves and in the products they sell before they can become successful.  He said that so little is sold when so little enthusiasm is offered. Successful sales reps are good listeners who have moved from a product-centric to a service-centric mindset. More importantly, they build relationships with their customers by identifying and fulfilling their needs.

Rowan went on to say that customers want our advice and are looking for the best executions in terms of reaching their target audience.

Top Ten Tweets from #YPA10 – Day Two

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

As we finish up our annual conference here in Las Vegas, I’d like to share our top ten favorite tweets from today’s sessions. And in case you missed it, click here to see our top tweets from yesterday.

  • OscarSMarques: #ypa10 Eniro’s Jesper gave the best presentation. his company’s on the right track
  • ym_sam: #ypa10 Both SuperMedia’s Bill Brewer & YellowBook’s Chris Heilbrock reporting uptick in Yellow Pages advertiser count & spending.
  • ym_sam: #ypa10 YPA Conference was great! Thanks to all! Travel safely.
  • MarketingMoxieMatt Stover nailing the future of local search: “It’s all about the relationships, stupid!” #YPA10
  • davehucker#ypa10 STATISTIC: 93% OF SOCIAL MEDIA USERS THINK COMPANIES SHOULD ENGAGE VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT ONLY 16% OF BUSINESSES USE SOCIAL MEDIA
  • matterslocal: Local Matters CEO Mat Stover: The Future is All About Relationships #YPA10 http://ow.ly/1AQSK
  • ym_samCool YP stats: Municipal landfills consisted of 4.9% Newspapers & 0.3% YellowPages. #ypa10
  • davehucker: #ypa10 if yellow page users were a country. It’d be the 5th largest in the world
  • AlanSee: Checking out Buzz.com at YPA ... #ypa10 … Give it try
  • AlanSee: Good meetings with Acxiom and Century Interactive at #YPA10 … Thanks for setting them up

YP Advertisers: Data Drives Decisions

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Charles Laughlin from BIA/Kelsey moderated an advertiser panel today.  The key takeaway: data drives marketing decisions.

“I like monthly reports with as much detail tracking as possible,” said George Bochanis, Esq., owner of George T. Bochanis Law Offices.  “It seems like the technology is increasing every year.  I would love to have something that shows tracking, timing, calls – whatever is available.”

Shannon Rodman, director, YPMG Marketing Ops, ServiceMaster, talked about the difference data can make in an organization where stores are a mix of company owned and franchised.  In the economic downturn, the company-owned stores have maintained ad levels with print Yellow Pages.  Franchisees, however, have been skeptical and want to move to Internet-based marketing tools.

“We need to go them to stay in the directory,” said Rodman.  “They need to see that the books are delivering and they need to stay in the directories.”

Chris Heilbock, regional vice president of national sales from Yellowbook and ServiceMaster account rep commented that franchisees are coming back to print Yellow Pages after other options haven’t worked out.  “Our corporate spender is more stable.  They’ve done measurement and understand the marketplace.  A lot of the franchise owners are influenced by other people around them without other statistics or data.  We’re seeing some of that come back now.  They’ve tried some other things and they’re coming back to what they had before.”

Bill Brewer, regional vice president of sales for SuperMedia, said building systems to give advertisers performance metrics is a key priority.  “We’ve doubled our testing budgets year over year for the last three years now.  We think it’s key to the future growth of all of our platforms.”

Chief Marketing Officers Discuss Pathways to Innovation and Revenue Growth

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In an informative panel discussion at the YPA Annual conference today moderated by Amdocs Vice President of Customer Development Rocky Wolf, members were treated to insights and updates from four CMOs on the frontlines of industry transformation.  Sharing notes on emerging technology challenges and the innovations driving new paths to revenue, it was interesting to see how many similarities there were across the companies represented in the panel.  Here are some of the highlights:

Question: What’s the next big thing in technology?

Answer: Social and Mobile

According to Stephane Marceau, CMO of Canada’s YPG, baking social and mobile into all user interfaces is a top priority.  “80% of our users in Canada use Facebook, so we need to integrate it into all of our solutions,” he said.  YPG sees opportunity in building further social and mobile solutions for what they call “local lifestyle”.

Building on that thought, DexOne CMO Maggie Le Beau, added that in the development of new mobile and social applications, the most important thing is to adapt to these new environments.  “There were a lot of lessons learned when we went online that we don’t want to repeat with mobile – the goal is not to replicate the product in the new medium.  We don’t want a static experience of a desk top or a print product,” she explained.

Question: What are you doing to adapt the sales channel?

Answer: This is still a work in progress, but it all comes down to leveraging relationships.  Arming the channel with data-driven solutions is essential to success.

According to Berry CMO Kathy Geiger-Schwab, “Access to the SMB is everything to us and that is our key to moving forward.”  She shared details of Berry’s new go-to-market approach that empowers their marketing consultants to provide prescriptive recommendations to customers on all elements of their advertising approach based on analysis of their rich geography and heading-specific data.

Question: How are you building and providing new value to your customers?

Answer: Demand creation and communicating return on investment are the name of the game.

“We’ve invested in building one simple solution for customers to be able to see the ROI of their local advertising programs all in one place,” said Ken Ray, CMO AT&T Advertising Solutions. “Providing pay-per-call models is also a new priority.”  In this space, there have been many key learnings, he said.

“Lesson #1: print is alive and well.  We should be cautious not to jump too aggressively into digital while overlooking a very effective medium in print.  Lesson #2: We’ve inadvertently set up a system where vendors are fighting over the same call, which is sometimes causing unwanted results.   We want to generate more leads for our clients, not customer support hassles,” cautioned Ray.

The workshop was packed with attendees and they expressed interest in hearing more about social media challenges.  Watch this space for future items on the subject.  Thanks to all our panelists for an insightful session.