BIA/Kelsey ILM West: 12

YP: Too Much Friction in SMB Space

YP CEO David Krantz said his company is shifting its focus from search to the juncture where consumers try to connect with advertisers. "There's a lot of friction in our space, and we collectively create a lot of that," he said at BIA/Kelsey's ILM West. "We have to establish better connections with consumers and advertisers."
NetNewsCheck,

LOS ANGELES -- The CEO of YP, which retooled from the former AT&T Interactive and AT&T Advertising Solutions, laid out his vision for the company's direction on Wednesday, and it had little to do with search.

Rather, David Krantz said the company would focus on "making it easier for consumers and advertisers to find each other and do business.

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"There's a lot of friction in our space, and we collectively create a lot of that," he said. "We have to establish better connections with consumers and advertisers."

Krantz said YP needs to zero in on the critical juncture between where consumers try to connect with advertisers by making a call, requesting an appointment or a quote or purchase/transact, and where advertisers respond to those inquiries, provide proposals or enable consumers to transact.

And SMBs need to be approached more thoughtfully. "In our space, advertising is sold; it's not bought," he said. Reps themselves need to be trusted to explain what ROI looks like in the digital landscape.

Krantz said the new YP has been capitalized in a way that it's not carrying an overly heavy debt burden, which has freed the company to extend out to scale and invest in new technologies. "The conversations on the board have switched to 'where are we going to invest?'" he said.

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He said he now sees YP as "a 6,000 person start-up company." And it's one where sales reps won't be segmented by different products, though sales tiers would remain for high end customers, national sales and telesales.

And he added that "freemium" benefits like listings were also essential to new advertiser acquisitions. Nearly a million non-customers have come forward to claim a free listing and grab a presence, and "that becomes a lead list," he said.

But there's one area where Krantz said the new YP would be harder to find. "We're kind of tapping out on search," he said.

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