Yellow Pages Is a Growth Industry

A challenge that every marketing person faces is to determine the unique selling proposition (USP) for a product or service and then convey it in an interesting manner that will encourage the target market to buy. Today, after six months of research, interviews, searching through records, analysis, writing and editing, our directory team has completed its comprehensive Global Yellow Pages 2007: The Kelsey Group’s Outlook and Forecast. This is the fourth edition of this report, which has grown from 300 pages to 550 and now covers 150 companies with profiles of 47 countries/markets.

The two biggest ahas are that despite competition from both other print directories and new technologies, the industry has managed to maintain its EBITDA margin of 44.6 percent. The second is what we led with in the headline of the press release, which is that the market valuation of the industry is now conservatively $136 billion vs. $100 billion two years ago.

One of the more important findings, which only could have been uncovered by thorough study, is that the worldwide sales force has grown in the past two years by an estimated 14 percent to more than 41,000, accounting for 55 percent of total employees. TKG Senior Vice President and team leader Charles Laughlin said that we “expect to see a lot of experimentation with various sales channel blends over the next few years as publishers build on their strong sales and financial foundation.”

Last week The Kelsey Group, in conjunction with AMR International, held a local search conference in London attended by 120 European industry leaders. The optimism of this group reinforced the message we heard at the EADP Conference in Barcelona last month, and a major reason for this positive outlook, as Laughlin said, “is that buying digital media is complex, and most small businesses need help. The Yellow Pages sales force has emerged as an enviable asset among local media players vying for small business ad dollars.”

Other key observations can be found in the press release. Most of The Kelsey Group has been involved in creating this Outlook and Forecast, but special thanks are due Bobbi Loy-Luster, Kathleen Harkness Passarelli and Michael Taylor. Each of these people went above and beyond to make sure that Global Yellow Pages 2007 is the most thorough, complete and accurate study ever done on the Yellow Pages industry.

The USP? This is the first study of its kind that features a searchable database for quick access to the most often referenced data, such as titles, distribution, total employees and number of sales representatives. The data are searchable by region, country or publisher, as well as by revenue type (print, digital or total revenues). This feature will be available in July.

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