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.