Archive for January, 2011 Is a Trusted Research Resource

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We all love those “best places” lists, especially when our home city pops up on them.  Sometimes I wonder how these lists are put together.  Check out these two research studies that use Yellow Pages data as part of some unique methodologies.

First up is this study from on the Gayest Cities in America. While not a traditional scientific survey or poll, its methodology combines data from several online sources to get a sense of the largest gay communities. This includes using to assess how many local businesses had the word “gay” in the name or business description.

Also, as featured in USA Today, Central Connecticut State University released its annual report on America’s Most Literate Cities. Part of its methodology each year is to search to identify the number of retail, rare, and used booksellers in each city.

I think both of these studies illustrate that data is not only comprehensive but trustworthy. It’s great to see people using our data in unique ways!

Women in the Business: Dex One Promotes Towles to SVP of Operations

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I was pleased to see Dex One’s announcement last week about Donna Towles’ promotion to senior vice president of operations.    In this role, Towles will be responsible for modernizing the company’s systems to better support the delivery of integrated advertising and marketing tools to local businesses.

Needless to say, Towles has an important task in front of her as Dex One continues to transform its company.  Clearly, Towles’ background and experience at Dex One  made her the right candidate for this newly created position.  She has directed a number of efforts to improve efficiency, accuracy and reliability of the company’s systems, which are key to helping achieve the vision of transformation.

Good luck on your new assignment!

Webinars and Blogs Declaring the End of Yellow Pages Have an Agenda

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Some of our staff recently participated in a webinar hosted by an inbound marketing software questioning the value of Yellow Pages. The invitation ads that we received proclaimed a bold headline that Yellow Pages advertising is “a waste a money.” It struck me that for all the for all the statements and predictions about the Yellow Pages I see in my inbox, there’s almost always an agenda behind the organization or person producing it – and it’s usually to sell their own competing product.

The Yellow Pages industry has, over the years, built a solid reputation for delivering highly trusted and reliable business listings. While our industry was founded on the printed directory – one that continues to deliver great value – our sales representatives are increasingly offering online and mobile products, so it’s not entirely surprising to see a company put down the competition.

2010 saw a continued shift in consumer shopping habits to include a higher percentage of online searches before purchase. Digital and mobile local search are clearly important for consumers today. But recent data from CRM Associates shows that usage of the printed Yellow Pages and resulting sales calls have begun to increase in the past year – so it looks like we’re alive and well in spite of what the  webinar  would have you believe. In fact, as I mentioned in another blog, “yellow pages” was among the Top 50 most searched terms in 2010.

So next time you get a email that says Yellow Pages advertising is a waste of money, or that the end of the medium is near, I suggest digging a little deeper past that headline. There’s usually a sales pitch in there. Any medium that is used by three quarters of the U.S. population each year, and more than a third of the population every week (35%), is clearly working. Small business owners aren’t working with unlimited budgets, so there’s obviously a reason they’re returning to Yellow Pages advertising year after year.

Investing in a Local Sales Force

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Groupon, a website offering daily deals for local products and services, has been all over the news lately for both its rapid growth and business strategy. In case unseen, the tech company recently disclosed it’s trying to raise $950 million in a new round of financing and has raised about half to-date.

I came across an article on The Atlantic site via P Morgan Brown that attempts to answer the question about why a company that doesn’t produce a physical product would need so much capital. The Atlantic editor and Matthew Ingram seem to agree: most of the money will be earmarked for building and training a “massive local-sales army” to reach an untapped mass of SMBs.

Online companies, even those as big as Google, face the question of how to implement a successful local sales initiative, especially because training effective, knowledgeable teams can require significant capital. Yellow Pages companies have a trusted, effective sales force experienced in working with local businesses to raise their bottom line. Some online companies have chosen to forge partnerships with YP companies to tap into their existing networks. But whatever approach a company takes, the value of feet on the street is clear. As Greg Sterling phrased it in a recent Wall Street Journal piece, “without a sales force or at least human involvement in the process, they’re not going to acquire these small businesses as customers.”

“Yellow Pages” Among Top 50 Search Terms in 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I always enjoy reading through the “Top” lists that come out toward the end of December. As someone particularly invested in local search, Experian Hitwise’s Top 1,000 Search Terms for 2010 list especially piqued my interest. The findings? Social networking exploded this year, accounting for 4.2% of the Top 50 searches. This was, of course, led by Facebook-related terms at 3.5% of the Top 50 searches. Facebook also took home this year’s most visited site award, accounting for nearly 9% of all U.S. visits between January and November of last year.

Another exciting first in 2010: “yellow pages” broke into the top 50 search terms. This, to me, is a clear indication that through all the noise about our industry, Internet Yellow Pages are a valuable, go-to search tool for consumers nationwide.

Other terms that broke the Top 50 include Netflix, Verizon Wireless, ESPN, Chase, Pogo, Tagged, Wells Fargo, Poptropica, games and Hulu – so I’d say we’re in pretty good company.

I look forward to seeing what’s in store for 2011. Happy New Year!