Archive for the ‘BIA/Kelsey Events’ Category

Leading in Local: Yellow Media and YP Discuss Transformation to Digital Business

Monday, September 16, 2013

During a time when many customers have already or are in the process of transitioning to digital tools for local search, it was interesting to hear from two directory companies on how they are responding to this industry shift.  Paul Ryan, CTO of Yellow Media (Canada) and Darren Clark, chief product officer and CTO of YP, led the discussion titled, “The view from the CTO’s office,” at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local conference last week.

Darren talked about how today’s marketing decisions are often driven by new technologies.  Since branching off from AT&T, YP has brought their product and technology departments under one roof which has made it easier for them to grow their digital offerings. YP is experiencing 20% year over year growth in their digital business and the rate is even higher in mobile.

Similarly, digital makes up about 45% of Yellow Media’s business and they expect to be at 50/50 by the end of the year.  They are in the process of retooling their infrastructure to retain rich content of their SMB clients.  This is much different than their print products which are thrown out and replaced each year.  Having this rich content will allow Yellow Media to better design their products and solutions with the consumer in mind.

Darren gave a high level look at YP’s focus which is based around presence, performance and leads.  By succeeding in these areas, Darren thinks YP will be able to help SMB’s connect more effectively with their customers which has always been central to both of these publisher’s businesses.

In addition, while they both find partnering to be important for their businesses, a clear priority is growing their digital business.  Paul said that Google is losing share in Canada because of all the innovative options that exist for consumers, presenting a tremendous opportunity for Yellow Media.

The analogy stated by the moderator of the session to describe how these directory pubs are approaching their legacy products is that they are building a new house while the old house still exists.  To them, digital solutions are the future of local search and they are building their businesses around existing and emerging digital technologies.

Leading in Local: Game Mechanics Can Help Drive Customer Loyalty

Friday, September 13, 2013

I am at the BIA/Kelsey Leading in Local conference in Austin, Texas and I got to hear an interesting session Wednesday led by Seth Priebatsch, CEO of LevelUp.  Seth is an avid gamer and during his discussion I was surprised to hear how he is using game mechanics in his business in order to drive customer loyalty for his clients.  His company is a mobile payment platform with over a million users and 5,000 participating merchant locations and at the core of their business are three game mechanic techniques:

  1. Sunken Reward: Reward given based on visit to location or discovery which is proving to be more compelling than coupons.
  2. Progression Dynamic:  Completing an activity over and over again to gain rewards. This drives loyalty by reinforcing repeat customer behavior.
  3. Appointment Dynamic: Customers must return at a predetermined time to take action on a discount/deal. Potentially drives business during slow periods/seasons.

According to Seth, these techniques are often found in games that he plays and he saw an opportunity to use these techniques in the business world.  In addition, he shared some statistics that further support why it is no surprise that game mechanics are showing up in the business world. For instance, the average age of a gamer is 35 and 34% of heads of households play games.

Seth also talked about how credit cards typically charge a small flat fee per transaction, but technology and legislation are driving mobile payment transaction costs down to zero.  Having no transaction cost has been a differentiator for LevelUp’s success.

LevelUp trades the cost of moving money for transactional data, which creates opportunities for them to assist clients with insights mined from the data.  It was interesting to hear about transaction marketing and just how powerful the insights are in helping SMBs win more customers and get more revenue out of each one.

Franchisors Assert Significant Control Over Local Online Branding, but Also Provide Significant Funding

Friday, August 30, 2013

BIA/Kelsey hosted an informative webinar on August 21, 2013 highlighting results from its Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) study of 600 SMBs.  There were two enlightening points regarding franchise accounts:

  • On average, a franchisor pays 43% of a franchisee’s local online presence costs.
  • 51% of franchisees say their franchisors are “highly involved” in the social media presence of their local businesses.

Here are the slides from the presentation:

BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor Slide 1

BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor Slide 2 Source: BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor (LCM – Wave 17), Q3 2013.

Warren Kay, BIA/Kelsey’s new executive in residence, said, “Franchisors made a mistake in the early days by letting franchisees create a presence that sometimes competed with the corporate entity. Franchisors probably won’t allow individual locations to drive their brand message through social media. And, that’s good.”

In the past decade, there has been a decline in corporate support/funding for dealer/franchise yellow pages and local search programs. But this new information indicates corporations are willing to share in the cost of a franchisee’s local online presence, presenting a renewed opportunity for co-op funding. LSA’s co-op service bureau can be a great resource to agencies and publishers. For more information, contact Local Search Association’s Val Onyski by phone at 248-244-0731 or via email at

BIA/Kelsey will present more findings from Local Commerce Monitor Wave 17 at the September 11-13, 2013 Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing Conference at the Hilton, Austin, TX. For more information, click here.

Dex One Discusses Focus on SMBs, Digital Products at BIA/Kelsey’s Conference

Monday, March 25, 2013

I attended BIA/Kelsey’s “Leading in Local: The National Impact” conference in Boston on March 18-20 and really enjoyed the terrific content and speakers.  David Sharman, Dex One senior vice president and chief strategy officer, was particularly interesting during his keynote presentation.

Sharman discussed Dex One’s growth opportunity — providing SMBs with the latest marketing services.  Using  more than 1,000 sales reps, Dex One is making strides to build on its long-standing relationships with local businesses.  While print still is an important aspect of the business, Sharman acknowledged the necessity of offering digital solutions that work for SMBs. To show its commitment to digital, Dex added digital expertise to staff and started to report digital revenues separately from print revenues.

Dex also has made some new partnerships with companies such as xAd, PaperG and Google to offer products that are fast, flexible and capital efficient.  Dex’s digital product portfolio includes SEM solutions, Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), SEO, and websites which have helped Dex’s digital business grow by 30% making it worth around $300 million. Sharman attributed much of the digital growth to product bundles, which have a renewal rate of about 70%.  Another driving force is the company’s Guaranteed Actions program, which is Dex’s commitment to deliver a certain number of leads across multiple media.

According to Sharman, Dex One still faces some challenges including finding new customers, identifying a way to soften the decline in print yellow pages revenue and being smarter with book distribution.

On the financial front, Dex reduced its debt by $1.8 billion, and the company has met guidance every quarter.  Regarding the merger with SuperMedia, Sharman said it provides “more runway to transition to a growth company,” and both companies are focused on delivering value to their customers.

7 Key Takeaways From BIA/Kelsey’s ILM Conference

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In my Locals Only column posted today on Search Engine Land, I shared 7 key takeaways from BIA/Kelsey’s jam-packed ILM West conference last week in Los Angeles.

As we head into 2013, local businesses have some important trends to consider when developing their marketing plans. The ways in which consumers are both searching and finding local businesses are rapidly changing, and local businesses and marketers are quickly adapting to take advantage of new opportunities to drive business in the door.

Read my full column on Search Engine Land.

More from Day 2 at the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another great session yesterday at Day 2 of the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference, entitled “The ‘New’ Newspaper: New Users, New Reach, New Revenues,” focused on the future of the newspaper industry. The session, moderated by Peter Krasilovsky, VP and Program Director at BIA/Kelsey, featured Dallas Morning News Publisher and CEO Jim Moroney III and San Diego Union-Tribune President and COO Mike Hodges and.

Newspaper industry innovations are always interesting to those of us with a traditional Yellow Pages background. Both newspapers and phone directory publishers have legacy systems, print products, embedded resources – and of course, similar challenges in today’s increasingly fragmented media market.

Moroney talked about how he is working with his team at the Dallas Morning News to ensure that the paper’s core advertising assets are being leveraged to their full advantage. He said that content marketing is at the core of the Dallas Morning News’ expansion: relevant, high-quality, targeted and interesting content that drives a consumer to make a decision or purchase.

To deploy existing assets to full advantage, Moroney created “508 Digital,” a new group backed by the Dallas Morning News’ trusted name, which is specifically tasked with reaching out to small businesses with an affordable, self-serve platform solution. For the paper’s larger existing customers (retailers, automotive, etc.), Moroney is developing another new business line, “Speakeasy.” This line is helping to increase sales with high quality content provided in partnership with an agency.

Moroney said that Dallas Morning News’ 125-year history in the market and its full spectrums of choices are giving his customers the confidence they need to continue doing business with the publication.

Asked if digital can save the newspaper industry, Moroney advised that new lines of business are needed to ensure the growth necessary for a healthy future.

Hodges discussed his digital background and said he harbors no preconceived notions about how to grow his business. The San Diego Union-Tribune is no longer just a newspaper, and his goal is to serve his advertisers regardless of the platform.

His publication entered the daily deal arena and is generating $13 million in new revenues as a result. U-T also started a rewards program for customers who demonstrate loyalty to local businesses.

In addition, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s broadcast business, UTTV, leverages 160 newsroom content providers to create sponsored content. Cox and AT&T UVerse are among the partners working with U-T TV.

Hodges said his future initiatives include a digital agency, real estate and mortgage brokerages, and a coffee delivery service with the morning paper.

All of these initiatives add up to some impressive innovation in a legacy product and great use of embedded assets. I think these developments definitely deserve some attention as our industry tackles some very similar issues.

Day 2 at the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference

Thursday, December 6, 2012

After a “musical” networking event Tuesday night that kept everyone entertained, Day 2 of the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference kicked off yesterday with several strong presentations, including an interview with Google’s Todd Rowe and a keynote by CityGrid’s Jason Finger.

My favorite panel, “Search for It! Local Online Retail Innovation,” featured a great group including comScore’s Matt Archer, Where2GetIt’s Manish Patel and Kenshoo Local’s Paul Wicker. In just a half hour, the group discussed key insights into this year’s holiday shopping figures and product listing ads (PLAs).

To provide some context on where things stand in the online shopping space these days, here are some quick facts:

  • The 2012 shopping season is off to a great start, up online sales up nearly 17% year-over-year.
  • PCs still leading the way for online shopping, according to Archer.
  • Cyber Monday sales have leapfrogged from $484 million in 2005 to $1.4 billion this year!
  • Research shows that sales via mobile and tablets are gaining quickly, with tablets dominating the evening hours, as shoppers use them from the couch or in bed while watching TV.
  • Mobile apps dominate access for most of the leading pure-play online retailers, with Amazon and eBay topping the list.

Wicker, who in a past life worked as a YP sales rep, described how his time in the job led him to love working with SMBs. He said he wants to help SMBs better understand the value of PLAs. Wicker talked about how Kenshoo Local has developed an algorithm to help SMBs increase the impact of their PLAs, noting that beta tests so far have showed positive metrics in terms of cost per call and ad effectiveness.

Patel said the solution for SMB advertisers is to embrace the online ecosystem by claiming their locations and verifying the consistency and accuracy of their data. He said no matter the size of one’s local business or number of locations, each one should have its own website to ensure accurate local content and optimized search results.

The panel closed with an interesting discussion of the ways to attract service companies to employ their own version of PLAs – or in this case SLAs: service listing ads. While all agreed that strong e-commerce capabilities are a requirement, the group felt that SMBs have a long way to go in that area.

The panel did a great job of leaving the audience wanting more, and several folks lined up to chat with the panelists at the session’s conclusion.

Thoughts on Day 1 at BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I’m very much enjoying my time here at BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West conference, taking place this week at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

The event kicked off yesterday, and without question the highlight for me was the session “SuperForum: Sales Force Transformation,” which discussed the ongoing question on how to structure sales teams to successfully meet the demands of today’s fragmented media environment. Charles Laughlin, SVP and Program Director at BIA/Kelsey, moderated an expert panel that included Kris Barton of ReachLocal, Mark Canon of SmugCloud, Jeff Folckemer of LocalEdge and Kathy Geiger-Schwab of Geiger-Schwab Consulting.

Laughlin opened with the important reminder that in the realm of sales force transformation, “absolute success is hard to find, and fundamentally difficult to achieve.” He said that BIA/Kelsey would be publishing a foundational paper in early January that will explore attempts by Deseret Media Group, Dex One, Eniro, Yodle and others to make significant change in their approach to sales.

Pointing out that recent studies have determined that 79% of SMBs are either confused or don’t understand their digital options – and that 45% do not understand the ROI of their digital programs – Laughlin said that “the enormity of the challenge tends to be underestimated.”

Each of the panelists weighed in. Kris Burton explained that sending members of the tech team on sales visits has helped to close the gap in the understanding of client needs. Mark Canon observed that the SMB experience has changed, becoming much more complex with the proliferation of media choices. Jeff Folekemer said his company’s dashboard includes all of its products, making it easier to track supplier performance.

Kathy Geiger-Schwab, a former Berry executive and longtime expert in the sales improvement arena, suggested looking at the “CoreCo vs. the NewCo” She said companies should ensure that they continue to profit from their core business, while engaging a new team to build their future. She recommended “Profit From The Core” by Chris Zook and James Allen as a good read for those looking to transform their businesses.

The group discussed a variety of ways to improve sales teams, including:

  • Automating SMB research as a tool for sales teams to use
  • Watching your NPS (Net Promoter Score), but working with the baseline and be realistic about improvement
  • Creating websites for SMBs that reflect the business’ identity
  • Create a long-term business plan that emphasizes that success takes time
  • Moving to resellers wherever possible and using their embedded investment to your advantage

And perhaps the most important message the panel had to sales teams out there was not to let what you know get in the way of what you don’t know. At the end of the day, change scares the entire management team. So to transform your sales force, start with the top and work down.

Gearing Up for BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West Conference Next Week

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It’s not too late to register for BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West conference, taking place next Tuesday-Thursday, December 4-6 at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles!

The event agenda is jam-packed with a variety of exciting speakers from across the local search industry. I’m particularly excited for the following sessions:

  • Search for It! Local Online Retail Innovation: comScore’s Matt Archer, Where2GetIt’s Manish Patel, and Kenshoo Local’s Paul Wicker will discuss how the development of product listing ads driving Google Shopping, map insertion and enhanced locators have altered the online shopping landscape.
  • SuperForum: Mobile’s Impact on Interactive Local Media: National to Local: This four part series will look at the mobile local opportunity, local targeting and the evolution of mobile ads, the intersection between mobile and local, and how local businesses can plant the mobile flag. Representatives from BIA/Kelsey, Verve Mobile, xAd, Locu, JiWire, WillowTree Apps, and Duda Mobile will guide the conversation.
  • The Advertiser SuperForum: A section of this conversation will feature Maya Kermath, former business development director for AT&T, who launched KOR180, a new fitness studio in Austin. One would think her deep experience should help make launching an SMB easy, right? Not so fast. Mari will discuss the promise and the pitfalls and what she is learning about digital marketing as a small business owner.

In addition to the speakers and panels, there will also be some great networking opportunities and a chance to meet with innovative companies looking for partners, vendors and advisors.

So book your hotel room, register for the event and pack your bags for LA! And if you can’t make it, check back on our blog next week for live blogging of our favorite sessions.

Register Today for BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West

Monday, October 22, 2012

It’s not too early to register for BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West, taking place December 4-6 at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

The event agenda is jam-packed with exciting speakers from across the spectrum. I’m particularly interested in hearing from:

  • Kris Barton, chief product officer at ReachLocal, who will talk one-on-one with BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin on Sales Force Transformation
  • Tobias Dengel, CEO at WillowTree Apps, who will participate on a panel discussing mobile’s impact on interactive local media
  • Andrew Shotland, principal at Local SEO Guide and a BIA/Kelsey associate, who will join Paul Wicker, director at Kenshoo Local in reviewing the new landscape in local/social SEO

There are also many, many others I look forward to hearing from. As usual, I’ll be blogging on-site for the duration of the event, so stop by here for the latest.

Register today – I hope to see you there!