Last week I went to see the Walking With Dinosaurs show at the Staples Center. With impressive (but not very scary) special effects and life sized dino robots. Just a few days later I find myself at the Dallas Intercontinental at the business equivalent….the BIA Kelsey Yellow pages conference with Steve Espinosa and Tom Jones from elocallisting.
Its a large and expensive conference to attend….the venue is plush and the food is non stop…it should be at the price. The great and the good of the yellow pages industry meet to discuss the trials ad tribulations of their 12 billion dollar business. I was talking to a friend about this the other day and her reaction was..”Aren’t they dead?” Its a good question and from all appearances the answer is no….limping maybe but to quote the old peasant in Monty Python they are “not dead yet.”
They are under assault from many sides..the big print book is seen as an eco-disaster by a vocal YP activist minority, indeed they are almost illegal in some European countries. Some American cities are trying to make them “opt out” or even worse “opt in.” The YP folks are even resorting to a last ditch first amendment defense of “commercial free speech” to protect their right to distribute the book.Pair that pressure with the rapid growth of online and mobile search as the hot growth areas for end users to find stuff it’s tough to be a yellow pages company. It costs roughly 1.5 cents to drop that big book at your door…and any other solution, such as mail, costs 30 times more…so their options are limited.
Transitioning from a traditional dead tree product to a much more digital world with traditionally much lower margins is very tough…and its a challenge they are still struggling with. There is a lot of talk around “online presence management” it’s an interesting concept where one company, (they hope the YP) somehow and almost magically manage how local businesses are seen online for Local Search. Getting small businesses to have any kind of web presence let alone a mobile presence is tough. The Kelsey guys are focused on the website being at the core of the local market. Given how bad most small businesses are at that that’s a huge challenge. Even if the business has a website how will it get traffic…if it gets traffic how does that convert into real business. They definitely need another solution to be effective at Internet Marketing and SEO.
At MyLocally we touch one part of the elephant in the room. As the great and the good beat their heads against this large and complex problem we continue to produce thousands of marketing profiles for local businesses of all sizes and shapes.Those profiles get found really well in search engines and we generate calls for those clients. Is it a comprehensive “online visibility” package?…no it’s not. However while the industry continues to try to work out what they want to be as they grow old we’ll be there generating leads for local businesses.
Our new site www.mylocally.com was launched yesterday while we were in Dallas. It is a new modern site that reflects our company and products and firm positioning as a leader in generating leads from Local Search.