The SuperChallenge for Scott Klein CEO of SuperMedia.

March 15, 2010

Let me ask you a question. When you see a local search marketing company with 3.8 Billion dollars in revenue shrink down to 2.5 Billion, from 2005 to 2010, among what should be a growth business, when more and more local businesses startup and more and more local search options are available to choose from, who is to blame for the companies inability to adapt? Obviously, the GTE and telco local search ( print or web based ) dominance is no more. Reachlocal.com, one of the fastest growing local search companies is doing better.

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Idearc Media is planning to change the companies name after bankruptcy…

December 5, 2009

When my former employer, Idearc Media, emerges from a questionable bankruptcy court the first of the year (on January 4th 2010), what do you think they will change the name to?

  • SuperMedia  www.SuperMedia.com
  • SuperLeads Media
  • SuperGuarantee (ServiceGuarantee) Yellow Pages

Does Verizon want out? Does the media company hurt Verizon’s reputation or vice-versa?

My thoughts:

I like the idea of changing the company name to “LocalSearch” Find It or something that insinuates this. Superpages does not really make as much sense…. It’s just “Super” {Ya Know}. Or what about Inceptor? Nope. I like the idea of naming it Local.com, R.H. Donnelley or IAC. There needs to be a few mergers for the company to sustain viability with a monopolizing industry in Local Search. Make the offer larger and more powerful. When #27 at 30 million visitors is not even close to #1 at 130+ million visitors and #1 dictates your future….. monopolies are your friend. A partnership with Twitter and Facebook…. something to bring new life in the company and offset losses from folks not paying for and not buying yellow pages.

The future name of the company needs to become something that is not the combination of two words like veritas (Latin for truth) and horizon or idea and arc. How about RHD or IAC? I think it is time some mergers take place in the local advertising industry! Hopefully someone other than a hedge fund like Paulson and Company step in and change the direction of the company.

Lets go to an online purchase model for the industry. Make the company more like McDonald’s. Need a web hosting package? Sure… we got it! Need a media consultant for yellow pages? Sure! That will be a number 5. The agent keys the order in the SuperViewable McTools system and whala… you got yourself a great bundle!

If you expect that to work in online advertising….. you need to make a trip to a local Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing training and networking class by the folks at www.DFWSEM.org, for a rude awakening. That business model only works when you sell listings on a website and print phone book ads. Not the advice you want from knowledgeable “media consultants.”

Yellow pages work well because you don’t have to bug a client after the product is purchased.  The internet, not so much. I plan on bugging my clients everyday… or every other day. Whatever is just enough to keep them on their toes in the ever-changing internet marketing environment!

That SuperViewable McTool system officially means you are no longer worth more than the next $79.00 Super Profile Page you are able to sell each day. What a living. What a great future. What a huge asset you are going to be. Congrats!

Meanwhile business owners will continue to pay for the advertisement of competitors (unlike Google and other forms of marketing) in the antiquated yellow pages due to the credit policies and pricing of the yellow page industry. Time to consider a consumer subscription based rewards yellow page business model if you ask me!

Idearc’s latest ideas from the executive team are failing. They rolled out http://www.SuperYellowPages.com which is an online version of the printed yellow pages. Can someone say “doomed for FAILURE.” Next was the Idearc Challenge (must have come from the Pepsi Challenge while Klein was in charge of Marketing at Pepsi) and that is failing because in many markets for 1/2 the price a YellowBook ad has more calls – a lower cost per call, and finally the SuperLeads was over-priced and the company had dismal sales results from the program. For the State of Texas, I can recall one new client listed in the SuperLeads program. The sales reps are not selling it as Idearc wants to charge over $30.00 per call. Doing the math on the spot with a client and they look at you like your just walked out of the local loony- bin claiming to be President of the United States. Pretty much everything rolled out in the big fancy Dallas national sales meeting back in February was a bust (minus the Menu Pricing, but of course the sales reps are still without “menus”.)

It is obvious to folks in the organization that, aside from copying the ServiceMagic ServiceGuarantee program, the executives of the company have very few solutions to fix the consumer perception of yellow pages, wasteful saturation distribution methods, sales tactics, lack of accountability in fulfillment, and offering a better online marketing solution that incorporates social and organic website marketing. The executives at Idearc Media could care less about what I or other knowledgeable folks who work with clients think about the ideas. The disconnect between marketing and sales is growing due to job cuts. Idearc is also moving account management jobs to the Union areas of the country (due to a 3 year outstanding contract with the CWA) and then will continue moving the jobs overseas to India. At the next quarterly earnings call be sure to ask them exactly what and how many jobs are now overseas. Everything the company is doing only focuses on cost cutting to support revenue. This is fine for Wall-Street investors but doesn’t address the problem of the long-term future of the company. Keep up this mentality and they will continue to piss off clients and lose future revenue from these clients. Just because you can lock a client into a contract, you have not actually created revenue for the company until the client pays for the advertising charges. The company has “hung paper” for as long as I have been in it. Quality control should be the #1 area of investment for the organization. Quality control does not happen when you send account management jobs to India. It may be wise for future investors to also ask them about the churn rate of clients and account receivables issues.

As far as the web marketing boutique you seek……. IS NOT the YELLOW PAGES! This is probably going to be my last comment on the subject as I am going to avoid sounding like a broken record.

(I am sure that the name change is going to create another issue with people paying their advertising bill. Great excuse! Who is SuperMedia Company? lol)

Cheers,

Mike Stewart

(NEWSFLASH: YELLOW PAGES SALES REPS ARE NOT SEARCH MARKETING EXPERTS. THEY ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN SELLING. WHEN THE SALES REP MAKES MORE THAN THE PERSON MANAGING THE ACCOUNT YOU HAVE ” ACCOUNTABILITY ” ISSUES. IDEARC/SUPERMEDIA INTERNET MARKETING TRAINING FOR SALES REPS IS WORSE THAN BASIC. DON”T EXPECT GOOD ADVICE OTHER THAN A PRODUCT PITCH.)

Idearc is now SuperMedia LLC

edit: This is for Michelle: