Association Chairman Joe Walsh and President Neg Norton Hit Transformation and Opportunity in Opening Remarks

At the Search Starts Here general session this morning, Neg Norton introduced new Association chairman Joe Walsh, president and CEO of Yellowbook.

Walsh and Norton talked about the significant opportunity in local search over the year ahead.

“The Yellow Pages business is going to be around for a while,” Walsh said.  “It’s not a high growth business that’s for sure, so it causes you to ask what’s next?”

Walsh cited a BIA/Kelsey stat that says local media is set to grow 14 percent over the next five year, and that area represents significant opportunity for companies working to help local businesses win.

“At Yellowbook, we’ve gone to beyond Yellow.  Print Yellow Pages is still there and belting out giant numbers of leads.  We have our IYP and then a full spectrum of services.  We help small businesses be present on the web and get found.”

Both Walsh and Norton talked about the huge opportunity within mobile.

“Mobile devices change everything – they accelerate everything,” said Walsh.

Norton focused on the continued transformation opportunity in the space and talked about “So. Lo. Mo.” – the social, local, and mobile trends that are critical to industry growth.

“We know this space.  We know how to make money at it and we know how to make sense of it.”

Norton hit a few stats that demonstrate the significant growth:

  • Mobile ads will grow from 15% to 60% of ad market.
  • 50 percent of small businesses use Facebook and 19% use Twitter.
  • Social networking sites account for 1/3 of all online display ads.
  • 56% of small business will need help with their digital ad campaigns.

With the rapid pace of change, Norton challenged everyone to ask themselves if they are prepared to take the opportunity by continuing to train, equip, and reward sales teams for the new world.

“Businesses still need help determining the right content.  Businesses are looking for someone to partner with them with the goal of making their business successful.”

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