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Meet The New Dex, Same As The Old Dex

Have you heard the news?

My one-and-only-ever former corporate employer has now officially emerged from it’s bankruptcy:

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/stories/2010/02/01/daily6.html

The new company has a new name (“Dex One Corp.”), a new stock symbol (“DEXO”) and some new members of its board.

Unfortunately, it still has the same CEO that led the company to its demise, along with the same old, tired “sounds-great-but-frankly-no-one-believes-you” mantra that they’re mission is to help local business owners.

This is, of course, generally good news for the beleaguered and beaten-down yellow pages industry.

But I don’t see the news that really matters to small business owners:  That the yellow pages publishers have changed the way they treat their advertisers.

Until I see that any of the major yellow pages publishers show any signs of educating their ad designers, sales managers and account reps on the use of Direct Response Marketing principles and strategies, I just don’t see their yellow page books and internet programs breaking out of the boring blur of sameness and actually starting to do a good job of attracting customers, clients and patients for their advertisers — at least enough to make paying their outrageous advertising rates a really smart investment.

Which is good news for local business marketing consultants like myself, since business owners will continue to need help from outside the yellow pages industry to invest their advertising dollars wisely and get the best possible return on their investment.

Of course, I could be wrong.  I guess we’ll see if there’s really anything “new” about this corporation other than just a name and stock symbol.

My prediction:  Same games played by the reps and managers, same boring books full of poorly-designed ads, same over-priced, under-performing, inflexible internet offerings, same “we still think we’re a monopoly” annual rate hikes and strong-arm sales and credit tactics, same “me me me” focus that puts the interests of the company and its employees above those of their advertisers instead of seeking win-win solutions.

Of course, I hope I’m wrong.  As I’ve often said, the yellow pages industry can put me out of a job anytime by just starting to do the right thing by their advertisers.

My gut tells me that won’t be anytime soon…

What are your thoughts? Let me know with your comments below.

4 Responses to Meet The New Dex, Same As The Old Dex

  1. Lisa Vilfordi Reply

    February 1, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Hi Steve,

    I work for SuperMedia, formerly Idearc Media, a competitor of RHD. We also recently emerged from bankruptcy with a new name at the very first of the year. We now trade on Nasdaq under SPMD and now trade at about $35 a share (opened at $17). During our reorganization we worked hard to not only fix our balance sheet but also fix our business with new initiatives that benefit advertisers and consumers.

    I could not agree with you more that traditional yellow pages are becoming less useful to consumers and advertisers. But at SuperMedia, our media consultants develop marketing campaigns that fit each client best and that could be to advertise on Superpages.com, our SuperpagesDirect Direct Mail products and, when it is appropriate, our Verizon Yellow Pages. We also have a variety of tracking tools and services to help businesses build their online presence with search engine marketing campaigns, PPC advertising, web site building and hosting, etc.

    For years the YP industry has been focused on defending their product instead of differentiating it.

    Last year we introduced the SuperGuarantee (www.superguarantee.com) program available in all our products. When a consumer hires a painter, auto mechanic, contractor, plumber or other service provider that is part of our program, we will stand by the work. If there is a problem, we will step in and make it right. If we can’t, we will cut a check for up to $500 to the consumer. The program is free to both the consumer and eligible client. Since the launch of this program we have seen double digit increases in the possession and usage of our directories — increases that we haven’t seen in years.

    For our SMBs, we’ve created the SuperTradeExchange (www.supertradeexchange.com) – a national barter program where our clients can provide goods and services to other clients within the exchange. A great way of doing business in a recession.

    We are working to be different – The Verizon Yellow Pages and Superpages.com are not the same old yellow pages.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
    Lisa Vilfordi

  2. Steve Sipress Reply

    February 2, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Lisa.

    Unfortunately, “working to be different,” as you put it, is not actually “being different.” Or being better. Which is what really matters.

    Yes, your company has taken a couple of baby steps to start moving in the right direction, but they still have a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go…

  3. John Hansen Reply

    February 24, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Steve,

    I’ve read some of your articles on Ezine and now have seen this blog. Where you do make some valid points about an oversized company with the same directors, staff and same old mantra, you fail to produce any customers that have been satisfied by your work.

    Talk on the internet is cheap. Where can you show a proven track record that someone choose you over a corporation where flawed, does show some sort of tangible results. (Granted, it doesn’t work like it used to).

  4. Steve Sipress Reply

    December 31, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I “fail to produce any customers that have been satisfied” by my work???

    On the contrary, John, I helped hundreds of extremely satisfied yellow pages advertisers during my 3+ record-setting years as a RHD/Dex sales rep, and even more since leaving the sinking ship and helping clients on my own.

    I have pages and pages of testimonials from happy clients — both when I was with the yellow pages publisher and in the years since.

    And there’s one “case study” video on my website http://www.CutMyYellowPagesBill.com of an interview I did with one of my many extremely satisfied clients after I helped them (a) cut their bloated yellow pages bill by about 75% and (b) make more money from the yellow pages than they ever had before.

    Oh, and (c) I handled the entire process for them, so they didn’t have to continue to deal with their lying, incompetent sales rep and manager who had ripped them off for years.

    Maybe someday situations like theirs will be rare, but unfortunately this is an extremely typical example of the dynamic between the average small business owner and the big yellow pages publisher that cares little for them.

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