Marshall steps up to the plate with Charles Laughlin of The Kelsey Group pitching. An exec with a long history in IYP, etc.
Full Disclosure: I had lunch with Pat Marshall once. I think the food was good and I paid, but I don’t think it will bias me one way or another. Update: Pat reminded me that it was my company (in other words my investors) that paid not I, and the lunch was at our request so of course we paid. If anyone thought I was trying to say that Pat was a skinflint that is not the case. Pat is the most generous human being in the local search biz. Are we ok now Pat?
Chuck: why did you want to get back into the IYP biz?
Marshall: I like playing v. coaching (he was previously a consultant)
Chuck: Is Yellowbook really in the local search game?
Marshall: marketing speak but yes. who, what, where, mashups, video. We’re moving towards a “local commerce search experience”
Chuck: Specifics por favor
Marshall: Moving infrastructure from print publishing to a “media agnostic” infrastructure so we are not beholden to print constraints. We are focused on growing our qualified traffic. Growing inventory to service advertisers better. We are fostering the wisdom of the crowds approach to our strategy.
Research shows when people are using local search they are not shopping, they are hiring. The difference is huge. The three components of “hiring” as we see them are:
1. Urgency – does it have to happen today
2. Risk – if I make a bad decision how screwed am I?
3. Satisfaction – when the decision is made does it increase your satisfaction?
John Kelsey: Whatchoo talkin bout Pat?
Marshall: We use qualitative research (focus groups, etc) and quantitative data to look at each element of the decision (e.g. hiring a plumber). We figure what people are willing to trade away v. what they are never willing to trade away and then focus on the latter. For example price may not be the most significant factor in making a purchase decision.
People using local search have difficulty conceptualizing what they are looking for. You need to serve people searching for “leaky pipe” as well as “plumber”.
The David Carradine commercials are out. They are now going after a younger demo. New ads coming soon using Ms. Mexico! Excellent choice. Local search is tres caliente!
Customers are asking for search engine ads without really knowing what they are asking for.
The decline of Yellow Pages look ups over the past year is slower than the previous five years.
Kelsey: Ideal partnerships for Yellowbook?
Marshall: infrastructure which lowers our delivery cost is key. Quality traffic. Put skin in the game, don’t try to sell me.