I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 LSA industry conference - Search Starts Here in Boca Raton, FL earlier this week. Several members from Berry were in attendance to network with our peers in the industry and to learn about new trends and best practices. I had three main takeaways from the event:
1. Yellow Pages companies of today are much more than just print publishers and are well-positioned for growth in the digital space.
I listened to Charles Laughlin and Matt Booth from BIA/Kelsey give their Global Yellow Pages Report. BIA/Kelsey's research indicates that revenue from Yellow Pages publishers in the U.S. will be 53% digital in 2016 - today digital is 22% of revenue. Much of this shift is a deliberate effort by publishers to transform into providers of digital advertising solutions including online yellow pages, display advertising, mobile, search, websites and more. The message was clear that growth in this space is very attainable and very much in the hands of the publishers. Several things were noted that could improve the outlook even more:
- Stronger economic growth
- Improved sales execution by selling with a focus on leads and results
- Seizing opportunities in mobile
- Strong Innovation
2. At the end of the day, advertisers want to be shown actual metrics and proof that the adverting they are purchasing is working and generating leads.
Mary Boysman, VP Brand Marketing and Advertising with Aspen Dental shared some wonderful insights into the marketing spend and efforts from her nationwide company. Aspen has a multi-media approach to advertising including newspaper, broadcast, and local search. She continues to invest in Print Yellow Pages because they still deliver leads - Aspen knows because they measure! They continue to see actual leads (not just calls) come into their practices across the U.S. Her message was clear:
- Show the business case behind the products you bring to an advertiser - prove to them the value they will get
- Be channel neutral when possible - to her it doesn't matter if the lead is coming from print or digital, she wants the most leads possible
- Reward your loyal and growing customers
3. If your advertising strategy does not include mobile - you are missing the mark!
Mobile was a constant theme throughout the conference. There were several presentations on the importance of mobile. Research suggests that mobile searches will eclipse desktop searches in 2015. Mobile advertising needs to be timely, relevant and actionable. Consumers that are performing searches on a mobile device are ready to buy - in one click they can make a phone call to make a purchase or get a map to a local business. The first step to success is ensuring a business has a true mobile website. Businesses need to ensure that they are set up for success and can be found when a consumer does a search on a mobile device.
Although at some level, I knew most of these things going into the conference, it was good reinforcement that the strategy we have defined is the right one. At the end of the day, Berry is in the business of providing leads to our clients, taking the complexity out of advertising and doing all of this with a high level of service to support them.