In a general session at YPA 2010 this morning, BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin moderated an advertiser panel that featured two advertisers as well as two publisher representatives. The advertiser representatives were local Las Vegas personal injury attorney, George Bochanis, and Shannon Rodman, Director, YPMG Marketing Operations at ServiceMaster. Publisher representatives were Chris Heilbock, regional vice president of national sales at Yellowbook, and Bill Brewer, regional vice president of sales at SuperMedia.
The bulk of the conversation focused around the advertisers, in particular Bochanis, who provided a candid look into the mind-set of a local advertiser. Bochanis is a longtime print Yellow Pages advertiser who graces the back cover of the Embarq (Dex) Las Vegas directory as well as the second page full-page ad in the inch-thick (page-wise) Attorneys heading in the same book. In the tanking Las Vegas economy one of his core areas of focus — workers’ compensation — has taken a hit because of the declining construction industry. However, Bochanis’ mind-set with regard to print Yellow Pages has been to “not to change a thing.” He’s happy he did not make changes to his print strategy so that he did not lose his coveted position in the directory, but also because even with the decline in business he saw from categories like construction accidents, his leads in terms of calls from the book only dropped marginally.
Bochanis, who operates www.lvaccident.com, began using online Yellow Pages about a year or two ago and said it’s not easy to say how it has performed, although he seemed happy with his Web site reporting tools. Another interesting takeaway from Bochanis was that he’s finding his clients are increasingly noting multiple sources when they fill out paperwork to say “how they found out about us.” Increasingly, he says, clients say Yellow Pages/Internet/Word of Mouth. This anecdotal feedback is consistent with BIA/Kelsey’s user view data that show consumers are consulting more and more resources prior to making a local shopping decision.
When asked what he’d like to see from his publisher that would help serve him better he said “monthly reports with as much detailed tracking as possible.” In particular those reports would essentially mimic the data he currently receives from his Web site provider and a firm he works with to optimize his site and search activity. When Laughlin inquired if he’d be interested in having a directory publisher host and essentially control his Web site, Bochanis answered essentially that he didn’t want to lose control of his site and stated, “that wouldn’t be part of the equation for me.”