“Idearc Challenge” to CEO Scott Klein – Carry the Bag

December 20, 2009

https://i0.wp.com/www.quilladvertising.com/CaseStudies/idearcImage.jpgAn “IdearcChallenge” from me to CEO of Idearc Media, Scott Klein, is to “carry the bag” for just one week.  Show your reps how to manage 30 appointments in one day.

Just spend one week out in the field. Until you can show that you are able, willing, and capable of carrying the bag….. everything you say is just lip service.

That’s my .02 cents.

Most of Idearc’s talented sales managers, folks like Steve Ridgeway, former employee John Seidenstein, Scott Laver, Dave Lewis, and countless other folks all around the country, who I admire and respect, have all carried the bag. It changes your perception on what it is to “sell advertising.” Once you have done it, your understanding of the task and it’s challenges differ greatly than that of the folks in corporate towers, marketing departments,  and those bean-counters in the finance departments.

NEWSFLASH: SALES IS EASY WHEN THE PRODUCT WORKS, YOU HAVE A BETTER APPROACH, YOU MANAGE TO RESULTS, YOUR CULTURE REWARDS EMPHATICALLY ACCOUNTABILITY AFTER THE SALE.

I am not at all impressed with the direction my former employer, bankrupt Verizon Yellow Pages publisher Idearc Media, is headed. Your sales model is wrong. Why? Because it is a sales model. To become a small and medium-sized business marketing and advertising consultant you must carry the bag. Unfortunately for business owners not all bag carriers are capable of being marketing consultants. Some just know how to sell advertising and not how to actually advertise. Do you have a clue about what questions to ask a business to identify areas of improvement? Do you know how to determine whether your client is a candidate for your solutions based sales process and products? Or do you still think that all businesses need to invest in Idearc/SuperMedia advertising? Scott Klein seems to think that every business in America needs a ad in the phone book, based on his expectations of 30 appointments per day.

How can you sell the product the same as it was years ago? You can’t? It is a quicker conversation when it is understood that you must advertise in the phone book. Now with a fragmented local search market, yellow pages is no longer the only solution. Idearc Dallas Gallup Usage Study (Idearc Fort Worth Gallup Research.) Not as convincing as it was years ago. So why is Idearc’s Search Marketing Local product difficult to sell? Price. Ambiguous Contracts. Longterm Agreements. Lack of Arbitration. In the Event of Failure To Perform Recourse. Lack of Accountability from Sales. Poorly Designed Bid Processes and Keyword Research. Poor Effort to Incorporate Analytics and Web Design Conversion Strategies…. shall I keep going? Honestly, I think if someone is doing PPC outside of Google Adwords, Adwords Editor, and other effective and transparent tools from Google, they are just getting scammed. The problem is, they need high margins and a means of recovering from the losses of Yellow Pages Print Decline. Currently just about 91% of Idearc’s core business is Print Yellow Pages last I checked.

Another A.D.D. Moment:

(stay tuned for http://www.DallasDIYPPC.com, don’t lose the time and talent invested in your Google & Yahoo PPC campaigns by choosing companies who use proprietary systems and offer zero campaign ownership)

Klein needs to realize his biggest assets are not the companies systems (SuperMcTool), but the companies people. Including the campaign managers. I have seen many previous Idearc PPC managers at area PPC training courses such as the Google AdWords Seminars for Success and the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association meetings. It is usually after they leave Idearc and reach out to learn more advanced techniques. The talent at Idearc never touches Idearc Client websites. They have a different department for company sites than client sites. Take a look at this site for an example of the YP companies website design work:

http://www.allactionftworthcarpetcleaning.com/ pretty horrible if you ask me! Take a look at what 43 phone calls to AT&T will produce: http://www.TheTransmissionShop.com. You may ask why it took 43 phone calls for him to get this sort of quality site, but I assume that is just the nature of the Yellow Pages Website Development departments. Not the employees faults, as I assume they just work with what they have available. No kidding but the carpet cleaner attempted a redesign but the developer said they can not change the colors on the “website templates.” Both sites being redesigned by a more competent web developer.

Might be a good time to migrate to something 2005+ vs 2001 prior. Something not made for IE6 browsers? Something like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, or ModX CMS?

Scott, I think it is time for you to show your “media consultants” how it is done! Just spend one week carrying the bag. See how long you can refrain from leveraging your position as a CEO. If you can better understand the trials and tribulations related to your “sales business model” and start chipping away at them…..

You might just become a better CEO for a media corporation. Take a look at TMP Worldwide’s division 15Miles as an example.

https://i2.wp.com/recycledcrafts.craftgossip.com/files/2009/03/phone-book-organizer.jpg

YOU MIGHT START THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX…   or as we used to call it:

“The high security corporate back offices at the Airport” with the lavish bathrooms and corporate concierge service.

What is Google’s likely response to the SuperGuarantee?

The Voice of the Customer

“All a consumer has to do is pay by credit card and they will have a faster recourse of action when something goes wrong then to deal with this slow process offered by Idearc that only refunds you $500. The SuperGuarantee is just a gimmick. It was copied from ServiceMagic. Idearc knows they will not have to pay out claims. It is betting on it.” – Some Fool Wiser than the CEO of Idearc

“A new gimmick won’t stop the companies train wreck leadership.” – Mike Stewart


I feel this guys pain. Claims to be layed off over CEO sillyness.

December 20, 2009

Some gal on Mashable (a very informative internet geeky website that I enjoy) posted this video about a guy who was supposedly fired by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for not being enthusiastic about “Bing.”

According to Jennifer:

As the story goes, Ballmer was excitedly and repeatedly yelling Bing at the meeting, even pointing to staffers, putting them in the hot seat and telling them to say Bing. When the man in question didn’t exude the right enthusiasm, Ballmer fired him on the spot.

We can’t verify if the video is authentic in nature, but we have contacted the guy who uploaded it for comment, and we’ll update this post when we know more details. What do you think: real or fake?

(Warning: strong language)

I can just imagine my old CEO doing the same.

I remember one morning meeting it was a “treat” to have Scott Klein come to our local offices to discuss “the direction of the company” after being delisted from the market. This was about the same time he was making excuses for the company’s performance and issues with bad debt (he also failed to tell investors that he was reducing credit restrictions on new accounts. There is a Lawsuit for That.) First off he is very picky with beverages. Want to get under his skin? Drink a COKE. LOL. He takes off his glasses for pictures. That is funny. He refused to eat what the rest of us were having for breakfast. He made a big stink about it. He sounded like a spoiled brat. (I was chatting with the person he had his EAA call to fix the problem. lol.) Next, instead of discussing the company’s path, he proceeded to lecture us on his “10 keys to success” or some form of lip service (How about giving your media consultants time to practice what you preach with clients?)  He is very  cocksure. Now he has his own talk show, wonder what that will do to his huge ego? You should have been to the national sales meeting earlier this year……

Look out kid. They keep it all hid. — Bob Dylan

Remember the Patrick Stephens Motorcycle stunts?

I can totally see Scott Klein going around the office yelling at folks about SuperMedia, SuperView, SuperGuarantee, SuperSearch, SuperReps, SuperPowers, and SuperMcDonald’s.  It is just SUPER! Ya Know?

After over 9 years in corporate America……..

I think I prefer to be a consultant outside of “the office” (while saving the environment by not supporting saturation distribution and phone book waste, automobile pollution from not spending over 2 hours in traffic each day, all while continuing to work over 60hrs a week with greater productivity and getting to spend more time with my family to boot!)

All this talk about how much “the office” sucks…

Reminds me of “Where’s is Your Flair?” from Office Space. About 13 seconds in.

And I can’t share that without the classic (around 55 seconds in): Red Stapler

The office. World’s most unproductive means of doing business. No longer spend 2.5 hours per day driving to the office every morning. I work more hours on my business in one day than you can ever accomplish having to drive to the office.

I have totally lost all appreciation for the retardedness that is Corporate America.

It is all a joke. Those trips and awards make you feel important. Sales is important, but it is only 10% of the process. 90% of it is after the sale is made…..

Unless you just sell phone book ads. lol. That is like doing typewriter repair.

If you can do your own search engine marketing online, why not buy your yellow page book ads online? Might save a lot of gas if those sales reps don’t have to come out and bug you. Save gas from the commutes to the office. Save trees by not sending phone books to people who don’t want them. Naaah, that is just too responsible.

I know Klein is a huge Obama supporter. I am not. Too much cronyism for my taste. I just don’t like the crony corporate environment. My beliefs lean towards a different group.

Why would Google pay up to  500 million for YELP, when Idearc is on the chopping block after bankruptcy? I know why. YELP is community and consumer based. Idearc’s Superpages is a product pitch. Think about this folks. Why would Google pay up to 500 million for YELP.com when Idearc sells to Paulson and Co. for only around 200-250 million? YELP is like Google. Idearc is like ? (the answer is….. Scott Klein.) Not very creative or innovative if you ask me.

I am not saying the company is horrible. I am must saying that I don’t trust what HE was trying to feed me. Now I have the ability to respond.

Let’s look at the recent failures:
SuperYellowPages.com (who wants to see a phone book online)
SuperLeads Multi-product
SuperView (less productivity due to documentation)
SuperGuarantee (gimmick that won’t work which was copied from ServiceMagic)
SuperMedia (not “Media” until you recognize that sales reps are not media consultants)
SuperMenuBundles
SuperSEO (doesn’t recognize that organic listings and maps is the largest share of click traffic from Google)
SuperVideo (have yet to see an Idearc client rank on Google results with SuperVideo…. it needs real Video Search Engine Optimization)

The internet is the bathroom wall of America. Folks can voice opinions and share ideas. I wonder if Scott Klein, the Idearc CEO, will ever realize that an open, honest, transparent, and creative environment is what people will invest in. Not corporate fraud, lies, gimmicks, lip-service, and cronyism! The Idearc’s CEO needs to be Scott Laver…. not Scott Klein! But Klein doesn’t want to keep the industry talents around apparently.

Does “Corporate America” suck due to the people, the attitude, the culture, or the politics? Is it just Idearc? I can’t imagine the atmosphere at Yelp or Google being as bad as Idearc. Is it just a “high performance telemarketing sales culture” that is so bad? I just can’t imagine that being good for clients? Where is the accountability after the sale? When does the real “strategizing” take place? How hard do you really think it is to sell something people need and that makes them money? How often do people get bad advice from yellow page reps? Why do some people have success and others don’t? In my opinion it comes down to what kind of people you work with and get your advice from. If I owned a local business, the moment some “FOOL” came in my office throwing out ridiculous promises, industry percentages/statistics, and prices for advertising, then asks me to sign a contract without having time to have my lawyer read the fine print……………

Let’s just say if this sounds like the way you want to market your business…… YOU DESERVE IDEARC’S SCOTT KLEIN & THE YELLOWPAGES.

That’s my .02