Panel of Yellow Pages Players Discuss Landscape Sales Trends


Rocky Wolf, chief customer officer advertising and media, Amdocs, moderated a panel to discuss sales trends in the Yellow Pages space. Panel participants included:

  • Ken Ray, vice president and chief marketing officer, AT&T
  • Mat Stover, executive vice president, chief marketing officer, SuperMedia
  • Pat Marshall, chief new media officer, Yellowbook
  • Stephane Marceau, chief marketing officer, Yellow Pages Group

Marceau said that Yellow Pages Group is dialing up the sense of urgency and that there is a definite acceleration in transformation. He said YPG has fundamentally changed its value proposition with its 360-degree solutions and that this requires new go-to market approaches. He said 30 percent of searches on YPG’s digital channels today are mobile.

“We don’t serve books, we serve customers. 20 percent [of customers] use our web sites and SEM, and that was 0 percent not too long ago. We literally brought into the organization hundreds of digital native experts and managers.”

Ray said that Yellow Pages industry has been saying for some time it’s performance based but that today the business is more complex and the measurement tracking is more explicit.

“Most of us have moved into SEM so we’re looking at cost per click and cost per lead. We’ve made real learning around pay per call. Now the whole conversation has changed. What kind of call is it? … How long was the call? … Was it a local call? We’re working with customers to really figure out what makes them comfortable about the calls.”

Ray says that it’s important to manage the dashboards the offer customers and reps insights into performance.

“The last thing you want to do is give a customer four different passcodes … We have a product we call Ad Reporting 2.0. It’s a real-time dashboard that customers can log into. We have a rep version of that.”

Marshall says that Yellowbook believes that any relationship with a merchant has to be openly transparent and that the provider has to offer great customer service.

“We have to prove that they’re getting great service and results.”

Marshall says that sales teams are using emulators to give customers a sense of the experience across all platforms.

“I know of an example where the sales rep was walking around with five devices. You can use emulators to show what an iPad, iPhone presence is going to look like …. You do have to show the difference between the different mediums.”

Stover at Supermedia said the most important thing is to keep the customer at the center.

“I think it’s less about any of the companies here [at the conference] and what is the right thing for us to think about as local media companies. The customer is at the center … The unifying force is the customer. Some of what we’re talking is recreating the business around the customer. That is innovation in a sense because it’s a transformation from what the industry was doing.”

Stover sees significant opportunity in mobile for the industry.

“To some extent we missed the window for online and having a dominant position … with mobile we have a great opportunity to be there. One of the things we do now is spec mobile web sites. It’s a totally different discussion with the customer when you say ‘here is your mobile website.’ That leads to a whole different dialogue.”

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