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To kick off DMS, Charles Laughlin, Kelsey Group program director and conference chair, presented a general state of the industry and the main issues it faces.

First and foremost on this list is a general move toward evolving the local ad sales bundle and adding more ROI-based products. The expectations in the market and the conditioning of users and advertisers by Google, has pushed the industry in this direction as an opportunity and a necessity. This will include a matrix of seven or eight sources of local media, including print, search marketing, video and mobile.

“The industry can benefit from the collection of these sources of traffic,” Laughlin said. “IYP, SEM and mobile search will all be significant sources of distribution further down the road. The question is, how do you build together these elements?”

Part of the answer is to start at the street level, at the point of sale, he argued. As mentioned in the previous post, the realization of the bundling opportunity will have to take a route through the realities of local sales.

“A large amount of investment needs to take place in sales transformation,” he said. “This will include transitioning the sales force and bringing in new sales reps. It will also involve the underlying technology to support the sales force — different people with different tools at their disposal.”

What else can we expect out of the next few years in the local advertising space?

  • The amount of print titles will decline 30 percent, which will ultimately be healthy for the industry.
  • Print residential White Pages will all but go away, reduced to an on-demand print run. This will result in cost savings for the industry.
  • Professional services will largely shift from print to online, while trade services and home services will be resilient in maintaining print ad spends.
  • Self provisioning, such as Google AdWords, will account for 25 percent of U.S. local advertising.

Many of these trends will result in at least one major U.S. Yellow Pages publisher divesting its print operations, asserted Laughlin. They’ll focus instead on search marketing, directory assistance, online video and mobile search.

“This isn’t going to happen on a wide-scale basis,” he qualified, “but we wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two examples of it.”

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