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  • Yellow?

    The representative from Yell came to see me on Friday to talk about the clients who we look after the Yell advertising for.

    I had my speech prepared on how the printed Yellow Pages were dead for anything other than plumbers and double glazing companies and for our clients at least, it was now all about Yell.com.

    To a large extent, he got the speech. He put up a good fight though and I was encouraged by many of the things that I heard. There are some interesting developments available now or on the horizon, which show Yell has been listening to its customers.

    The objection about a lack of measurability of advertising in the printed directory has been addressed with the introduction of call-tracking. Call-tracking routes all calls through a dedicated local telephone number and allows accurate response statistics to be provided. Most business have no idea how many calls their Yellow Pages adverts are generating and this is, therefore, a step in the right direction.

    More exciting is a move to pay-per-call charging. Using the call tracking system and combining it with predictive data, Yell will be able to base its pricing on the number of calls generated. Customers will decide how many enquiries they want over a certain period and Yell will use its data to advise on the size of advert required. The charging will be based on a cost-per-call and monitored through the tracking system.

    I am told that cost-per-call should be available on Yell.com within a few months and for the printed directory in 2010.

    Another innovation that catches my eye is the introduction of video into Yell.com. This gives businesses a great opportunity to talk to visitors and stand out from the crowd. At £1100 for a Yell produced video (which can also be used for other purposes) or £350 to up-load an existing one, the pricing is within reach of many businesses and is something that I will be talking to clients about. We might even try it ourselves.

    To see innovation inspired by competition and changing customer needs is encouraging and reminds the rest of us that we need to react, not submit, to changes in our own markets.

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