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

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.

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