The snow covered mountains were a beautiful backdrop for ADP’s 2018 Annual Convention and Partners Trade Show recently held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The three-day conference included speakers from all aspects of the Yellow Pages industry and attendees from around the world. New to this year’s Convention was the addition of an Innovation Day, where attendees heard from various experts on forward-thinking insights, products and services. They enlightened attendees on subjects ranging from securing existing revenue, attracting new advertisers, staying relevant in search channels, transforming our industry and needing innovation as an ongoing force for future growth.
ADP President and CEO Cindi Aldrich, opened the General Session with a humorous video of a conversation she had with Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa. Alexa’s answers were peppered with direct quotes from a survey the Association conducted with its members and vendors. Hard-hitting at times, Alexa told the attendees that the future is now and that advertisers want digital and online opportunities and that these choices must be offered along with print options. Alexa said Yellow Pages businesses must act like an agency and offer advertisers the full gamut of advertising choices. Cindi stressed that ADP will help lead the members and announced that the theme of this year’s conference is The Evolution Begins… and that the Association will be the resource to lead this transformation.
Cindi then presented ADP Chairman Laura Hill, Co-Owner of Downey Publishing, with a beautiful crystal award and commended her for her two terms of service and dedication as ADP’s Chairman. Laura said she was honored to have served as the Association’s first woman chairman and to follow in her father Wally’s footsteps who also was one of ADP’s chairman.
Laura said, “I am very honored to have been the Chairman of this Association and proud of all the members that share their best practices. Everyone here is going through changes, and we as a group always leave this conference stronger with what we learn here.”
Starting the General Session was speaker Dr. Dennis Fromholzer, President of CRM Associates, who enlightened the audience with the results of the 2018 Ad Effectiveness Study. He stressed that Yellow Pages work and this Study proves it. His company’s research shows that calls to ADP member ads have increased in each of the past three years and that 99% of members’ ads are profitable. Results are strong in all markets, but are the best in markets with fewer than 300,000 in population. In addition, the Study showed that an advertiser that spends $2,500 per year in the Yellow Pages typically receives $90,00 in sales revenue per year. Also, he said that using multiple lines in ads increases calls and that local numbers are better than 800 or toll-free numbers. People want to shop locally.
Because of how valuable the 2018 Ad Effectiveness Study is, ADP is offering the Study for free to members as part of their paid membership. The Study includes 210 headings with statistics on annual calls, annual sales, revenue from sales, sales ROI and number of calls needed to break even. There are no better sales aids to convince advertisers of how well the Yellow Pages works.
Using information from the Ad Effectiveness Study, two members then role-played a sales call. Attendees were shown how to effectively use these sales aids’ statistics to counter an advertiser’s objections and successfully turn a headshake into a handshake for a Yellow Pages ad. With the strong numbers from the Study, it was hard for the advertiser to argue with the information and he was won over. Members also swapped effective sales aids and shared success stories of what works best for them when calling on advertisers.
The Leadz™ Pay Per Call (PPC), program was a highlight of the day when Chris Heilbock, Regional Vice President of National Sales at hibu was interviewed by Kari Simpson, President of Digital Marketing, Inc., and shared case stories and examples of real customers by categories that used PPC. He stressed that a tremendous amount of hibu’s revenue is performance-based and explained how PPC can save advertising cancels, and be used instead of filler ads. He told attendees the PPC program is easy to setup, that ADP does the work and members can sit back and collect a big check.
Quinn Bahm, Vice President of Impact Directories, detailed the variety of bonus programs his company has offered over the last decade. He described how members should know the sales reps’ personalities, what motivates them to create good selling habits and helps puts a little extra cash in their pockets. He said in addition to individual bonuses, they have had success with team bonuses.
Quinn also took the opportunity to direct attendees to the Power of Yellow™ section on ADP’s newly redesigned website. He said content is king and the most important aspect of POY is testimonials. He challenged everyone in the next two weeks to put a testimonial on the website so when someone Googles Yellow Pages our testimonials will be forefront. It’s easy to do and there’s a form on adp.org that can be filled out and video and audio can be uploaded.
Wednesday’s General Session began with a friendly game of Family Feud ADP Style. It was the Salt Lakers versus The Rest of the World. It got rowdy pretty fast with a lot of audience participation, but the Salt Lakers pulled off a hard won victory.
David Mihm, Founder of Tidings, took to the stage to show publishers how they could help their small business clients survive in the Google-Facebook duopoly. He said Google has 96% of all mobile search but that 90% of the time on mobile is spent on apps and only 10% on a browser. David emphasized that 84% of small businesses think websites work and our industry needs to start selling them on where they think the customers are buying. Publishers need to help the advertisers become better businesses and be selling websites, email marketing SEO and social media to them.
A panel of four members discussed reinventing the Yellow Pages which included font sizes, adding cell phone numbers and creating smaller specialized directories that lead to a lively interaction between the attendees and the panel.
Next, Ken Brock, President and CEO of Names and Numbers, conducted an interactive roundtable discussion among attendees answering any and all questions related to the Yellow Pages. Topics ranged from sales compensation, how long to train sales reps on selling digital, starting up new directories and how to attract young sales reps.
Yellow Pages expert Steve Sitton, CEO of Market Authority, confirmed that print productivity is still the “best deal in town” and that 20% of publishers added new books last year. From his 2018 Publisher Survey, attendees learned that people that have the most money are those 50 and over and 62% of them still prefer Yellow Pages. He emphasized that a call from print is 21% more likely to be a new customer. Plus, it’s $16 cost per conversion for Yellow Pages versus $60 for Google ad words.
Steve said, “These numbers sound good but we need to do something different like adding digital and social media. The sales strategies cannot be the same as they were 10 years ago. Publishers need special forces training, better tools, strong group selling and gamification. Sales people need to be stimulated and focused so they can execute their best selling. It’s the sales force’s perception that is the most important to selling the Yellow Pages.”
The new members of the 2018/2019 ADP Board of Directors were announced. The officers are: Chairman of the Board Todd McKnight, COO, Names and Numbers; First Vice Chairman Edward Kruger, General Manager, Ogden Directories; Second Vice Chairman Chris Heilbock, Regional Vice President of National Sales, hibu; Treasurer Tom Tolbert, Publisher, Front Door Direct and President/CEO Cindi A. Aldrich, Association of Directory Publishers. The ADP Directors are: Quinn Bahm, Vice President, Impact Directories; John Bills, President, ATD – Austin; Brent Cooper, Owner/Publisher, CPC Yellow Pages, Amber Weems, COO/Publisher, Victory Publishing Co., Ltd. and Ex-Officio Laura Hill, Co-Owner, Downey Publishing.
The Convention ended on a high note with the presentation of the Gold Book Awards. This Celebration highlights the industry’s excellence in both the Directory and Marketing and Promotion Divisions. Annually, the Publisher of the Year Award is given to the publisher member company that has the most cumulative winning points in both Divisions of the Gold Book Awards. Congratulations to Action Pages for being honored as this year’s Publisher of the Year. The member company that won Directory of the Year is Yello Media Group for their Find Yello Jamaica Directory. For a complete list of all the Gold Book Award winners, visit adp.org.
The ADP member chosen to receive the President’s Award for notable or important contributions to the Yellow Pages industry and helping further the association’s goals was Kathy Haynes, National Sales Manager for Valley Yellow Pages. Kathy has spent 30 plus years in this industry. In addition to her day job, she has been a committee leader on various projects at ADP her entire career. She has dedicated thousands of hours of her free time to further the Association’s many causes for the betterment of the entire industry. Kathy is humble, selfless and always has a big smile on her face and is readily available to help any member that reaches out to her.
ADP has a lifetime achievement Award named after the late Wilbur Lewis who was the founder of White Directory Publishers and a three-time past ADP Chairman. Mr. Lewis guided more publishers on the road to directory success than anyone else in the Association’s history. This is the Association’s highest award and recognizes lifetime dedication to the Yellow Pages industry.
Receiving the Wil Lewis Award was Danny Bills, Owner/Publisher at ATD – Austin. Danny is an icon in the Yellow Pages publishing business. He has been a publisher over 40 years and deeply involved in ADP for over 30 years. He is the publisher other publishers go to when they’re looking for business insightfulness and guidance. Danny is a legend in this industry and is regarded as one of the most ethical employers. Cindi said that even though he is now officially retiring, she sincerely hopes we will still see this strong advocate of the Yellow Pages industry at future events offering his wise counsel.
Cindi closed the 2018 Annual Convention by thanking all the Convention’s sponsors and the Partners Trade Show participants. Attendees always enjoy learning about the latest Yellow Pages products and services for their businesses from a variety of vendors.
On a final note, she reminded attendees to sign up at adp.org for the Publisher Summit being held September 17-18 at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion, Pennsylvania. Because she said, if you’re looking for new ways and strategies to grow your Yellow Pages business and solve problems that you grapple with every day, this is the event you don’t want to miss! This Summit is all about publishers and their business needs. Ed Kruger, President of Odgen Directories, is generously sponsoring this event and has tickets to see the Pittsburgh Pirates vs. the Kansas City Royals game in a suite at PNC Park for the first 50 registered attendees. So don’t hesitate; register today. See you in September!