YP Canada’s Billot Talks Verticalization

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Yellow Pages Canada is the in midst of an all out program to return the company to positive revenue growth by 2018. Growth may be a given for early stage company’s pursuing opportunities in local online commerce. But for a legacy media company like YP Canada, growth can be a herculean challenge.

For YP Canada, verticalization is one of the key pillars to its return to growth strategy.

“If you look at history from a Yellow Pages perspective, we always thought about the services industry — plumbers, physicians, lawyers,” said YP Canada CEO Julien Billot. “This is not sufficient any more because we have competition in the services segment and the customer base is shrinking. So of course we have to fight for these segments but also create new opportunities.”

Billot will give a Headline Talk at BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming ENGAGE conference, May 16-18, in Austin, TX. 

Since joining the company, Billot has pushed hard to build up the value proposition in key verticals where the company hasn’t been successful in the past — dining, retail and real estate. In December 2104, YP Canada acquired two companies, Bookenda and Dine.TO, that pushed forward the company’s efforts to draw in new customers in the restaurant vertical, all combined into the YPDine vertical application. In June 2015, the company acquired ComFree/DuProprio in order to build a product set for the real estate vertical. And the company has launched ShopWise, an online shopping vertical.

While revenues and customers are still declining for YP Canada, 2015 results show these declines are slowing, new customer  acquisition is improving and the company appears to be delivering, so far at least, on its return to growth plan. Billot says the shift to verticals and the emphasis on building its own audience are keys to this progress.

Check out the video below for more color on what Billot will discuss at ENGAGE.

ENGAGE’s focus will be “Best Practices for the Local Commerce Universe” and will emphasize sharing tactical details that will give those attending actionable ideas to take back to their businesses. One way ENGAGE will do this is through Featured Case Studies, in which speakers will be asked to deliver a focused presentation that shares in detail how they solved a problem or pursued an opportunity, with details on outcomes.

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