Selling phone book advertising sucks!

February 15, 2010

Looks like SuperMedia’s (post bankruptcy Idearc Media) CEO Scott Klein has moved from “Tonight Show” themed Friday afternoon employee broadcasts to YouTube….. is Hollywood next?

Interesting how he doesn’t mention Verizon Yellow Pages? Hmmm.

Apparently they’ve now accepted the fact that phone books are dying off and “in my opinion” only 10-20% effective due to the impact of digital and print directory saturation.

It has been said by some that Yellow Pages usage stats are likely wrong.

Local Business Information references according to TMPDM (the largest “phone book ad placing agency” in the U.S.)

Primary Source of Local Business Information

I assume that if the number was 28% in 2009, then in 2010 in a digital urban marketplace like Dallas – Fort Worth it will be sub 25%? Sounds fair?

I still see a bit of lip-service with the SuperGuarantee (’s Service Guarantee, rebranded the SuperGuarantee by Klein) since I have yet to see actual numbers reported on credits to consumers.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the video. Thumbs up. Mr. Klein is great on camera~!

Mr. Klein needs to not worry about “YellowCrooks” outside his organization…. or Yellow Book for that matter. (In my opinion the growth of educated and expert Local Internet Marketers will eat phone book companies lunch if you ask me. SuperMedia will never be able to compete with a well educated and dedicated search engine optimizer.)

Back to the videos, Klein does a much better job than this guy:

Just watch him here:

Back on topic: I see a shift coming soon for the company. Cold-calling will be a thing of the past. It doesn’t work.

While at Idearc, I spent much of my time researching, testing, and “fooling” with search marketing. I am 28 years old and have not used a phone book to find a business since I was 17 (minus cold calling from phone books as a “Yellow Pages Media Consultant/Planner”

During the shift from print it was apparent to me that if you have to “sell” your services, they must not be a tremendous value to your client.

Personally, I prefer to teach vs sell. I won 3 President’s Awards while at Verizon/Idearc for sales…. it is not sales when you are teaching. It is called coaching.

Being a sales rep and being a “Small Business Advertising Coach” are two totally separate things. One is responsible for commissions and contracts, the other results, creativity, success, and strategy.

Unfortunately, Today, Yellow Pages Sales / “Media” Consultants do not sell advertising but really just sell advertising contracts.

When is the last time a “sales manager” took the time to make sure a client was getting results from the advertising that was agreed to?

Contracts to advertise on Google when Google themselves does not require such a thing? Why do you need contracts when you can deliver?

Transitioning to “Media Consultants” from “Cold Callers” is going to be a huge challenge for SuperMedia without intense focus and training (the last 7 years for me) on Search Marketing etc….

12 month contracts only work for phone book ads....

When your ad agency says: “We Succeed Only When Our Clients Succeed.”

Do they really mean it… or is it just lip-service?

The first step is to learn about Google Analytics!

How do you know what is going on with your website if you can’t measure the traffic?

Isn’t that like having a storefront but never watching the folks entering to see why they are not buying?

What about PPC landing pages?

Phone book companies focus on print ads but when it comes to your Google ads they send all the traffic to your home page with a proxy “mirror” site. Just as important as the ad in the phone book, you must focus on building landing pages that match the message, questions, answers, and intent of the consumer.

If you invest more than $400.00 per month for management of a Google AdWords & Yahoo campaign that has a monthly budget (bucket) of less than $3,000.00 per month……. you have been and/or are being SCREWED! (in my professional opinion)

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