Yellow Pages B2B

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Yellow Pages Group
CMO: Stephane Marceau
Director, Corporate and Marketing Communications: Annie Marsolais
Senior Manager, Brand Marketing Communications: Andre Leblanc
Marketing Communications Manager: Ann-Marie Beauchemin
Brand Manager: Hugo Thibault

Agency Credits: TAXI 2
Executive Creative Director: Lance Martin
Art Director: Mike Lee
Copywriter: Troy Palmer
Account Director: Daniel Shearer
Account Manager: Brian Tod

Crossover Notes:
Crossover Notes: All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2012 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at

Crossover Note 5. The Total Brand Experience.
Crossover Note 6. Should the product be improved?
Crossover Note 12. Changing the Goalposts.

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):February 2011 – April 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: February 21, 2011
Base Period as a Benchmark: 8 weeks prior to campaign launch

a) Overall Assessment
Google, Bing, Yelp, Groupon, Foursquare, Facebook … Yellow Pages?

In the Fall of 2010, Yellow Pages Group (YPG) had a daunting challenge in driving sales among its core customers: small businesses. Six of the Internet’s most innovative companies were considered key competitors in its bid to be Canada’s number one provider of digital marketing solutions to small businesses in Canada. YPG had to find some way to be considered in the same light as these progressive digital leaders who were aggressively innovating their local business marketing solutions. This was a tall order for a brand that was traditionally thought of as a paper directory; there was little awareness of its digital properties and full suite of digital marketing services and solutions. [Crossover Note 12]

YPG had spent the previous two years revamping its operations to become a digitally focused company. [Crossover Note 6] They had becoming a go-to resource for consumers looking for local businesses online and had also built up the traffic to its other digital properties. YPG had also invested significant resources in innovating and creating new consumer-facing digital applications. For YPG’s small business customers, it had also expanded its digital marketing service offerings to be robust, innovative, and effective, packaging them as Yellow Pages 360º Solution.

Now, YPG had an opportunity to drive significant incremental sales of these digital services. But, perceptions would need to change, and YPG would have to lean on traditional advertising tactics to gain critical mass awareness and drive sales.

b) Resulting Business Objectives
Big goals call for big tactics.

YPG had aggressive sales goals for 2011, with sales of its digital services as a key component. The sales team would be upselling the new Yellow Pages 360º Solution to current customers, but YPG needed an additional outlet to foster new leads. This became the primary role of the recently launched site:

The objectives for the 360º site were simple:
1) create awareness of the website
2) increase lead generation and sales on the site during the campaign from the benchmark set in the eight weeks prior to campaign launch. Specifically:
• Increase traffic to the 360º site by +18%.
• Double the number of online Request for Quote forms being filled out.
• Increase inbound calls from the 360º site to YPG’s sales call centre by 50%.
• Increase sales on net new leads generated by the 360º site by 25%.

Also, to achieve these goals, the YPG marketing team knew that it had to generate serious awareness of the new 360º Solution.

c) Annual Media Budget
$4 - $5 million

d) Geographic Area
Canada – National

a) Analysis and Insight
YPG was going after small businesses that were either entirely new to digital marketing or who were novices at it. These businesses:
• Were strapped for time and money.
• Didn’t know much about digital marketing.
• Knew they had to be online and were scared of missing out.
• Didn’t get into business to be managing digital marketing campaigns.
• Needed any money they spent on marketing to tie directly back to sales.

Most small-business owners know that they have to market to consumers in the digital space, but they don’t know how to do it.

Some are overwhelmed by the complicated options. Some are dabbling, but aren’t sure how to take it to the next level of effectiveness. Others simply don’t have the time to spend on it, so they’re putting it off for the future. With so much to be gained, lost, or missed out on online, small businesses need help, and they need help fast.

But where do they turn? They struggle with knowing how to market themselves. They can’t turn to big digital marketing agencies, because they are too expensive, but can they really trust that kid who’s selling his services out of his parents’ basement? And out-of-the-box solutions are scary. Small businesses need affordable solutions that are tailored to their business and that they can trust to be effective.

The key driver for them is trust. They ask themselves, do these people know what they’re doing? Is my money being well spent? Will I be able to see the effect on my business? This is what YPG is set up for.

YPG has been connecting consumers with local businesses for over 100 years. It is a core part of its DNA and something it has tremendous expertise in. In recent years, YPG has worked to apply this understanding of how consumers search for local businesses to the digital space.

As such, for this campaign, YPG was going to need to show small businesses that it had a full suite of customizable services and solutions, and a staff of highly trained experts to design their customized solution and help them manage it. But to win, it would have to use its solid brand foundation to create and build this trust. [Crossover Note 5]

b) Communication Strategy
From past experience with YPG’s consumer-focused campaign we knew that telling consumers about YPG’s digital properties would be the primary driver in getting them to view the brand differently. Understanding this, our strategy for the B2B campaign became simple: we needed to drive broad awareness of YPG as a digital marketing solutions provider.

The goal was to build awareness, but small business customers are so diverse that we used traditional mass media to get our message out there. Then we drove small-business owners to learn more through visiting the 360º website and, subsequently, calling for a consultation.

Within each medium, we were careful not to alienate the small-business owners who were either digital marketing beginners or vetrans. We didn’t want YPG’s services to be seen as too daunting for a beginner, but at the same time, we needed to show that they were robust enough to help experienced veterans to hone their approach.

The goal of the advertising was to convey three interlinked messages:
• YPG offers a complete suite of solutions.
• YPG can help businesses enhance their presence online.
• YPG can help businesses be found by customers.

To achieve this, we focused on the core of the product offering, what YPG now called Yellow Pages 360º Solution, which encapsulated the entire suite of digital marketing solutions.

a) Media Used
• Television – 30-second spots x 2
• Print (Newspaper) – full and half-page ads
• Radio – 30-second spots x 3
• Digital – standard flash banners and rich-media big box

b) Creative Discussion
Novice? Veteran? Either way, we’ve got a campaign for you.

Our objective was to drive baseline awareness of Yellow Pages 360º Solution and an understanding of its breadth. Throughout each of the media we conveyed this while ensuring that we spoke to all consumers, whether they were beginners or veterans of digital marketing.

We launched with two spots in television. One, titled “Not Here,” targeted the digital novice small-business owner and showed how a bakery owner was missing out on potential customers by not being online. The spot shows an empty bakery with a bored small-business owner standing by the cash register. A potential customer then appears, but declines any help from the owner, because “he isn’t really there.” He couldn’t find her online and therefore didn’t actually come into her bakery. Not only that, but there are many more people like him, who would love to be her customers, but can’t be. The spot ends with a voice-over that briefly explains the breadth of Yellow Pages 360º Solution and how it can help businesses reach more customers.

The second spot, titled “Window Cleaner” and targeted at the more experienced small-business owner, showed that Yellow Pages 360º Solution can help any business grow by finding more customers online. It opens on a businessman talking on the phone. We hear a part of a conversation where we are being told that his business has grown dramatically since signing up with Yellow Pages 360º Solution. The businessman hangs up the phone, but the conversation continues. We then realize that it is coming from the window cleaners outside, and we realize that digital marketing solutions can be used for any type of small business. The spot ends in the same way as “Not Here.”

In print, we used imagery to convey the breadth of Yellow Pages 360º Solution and kept the headline punchy and simple, working to suggest to both beginner and veteran digital marketers that they should have a strategy for how to market on the web.

In radio, we asked small-business owners three questions about their online marketing strategy, in three different spots:
• What did they think about Search Engine Optimization?
• How would they describe their online marketing strategy?
• What was their best tool for their online marketing?

We then offered three ways to answer the question, including an answer which would suggest that the small-business owner rejects online marketing all together. It then turned out that no matter which answer the owner chose, they should get Yellow Pages 360º Solution, in order to find more customers online.

Finally, in our standard web banners, we worked from the insight that people enjoy impressive statistics about the power and size of the Internet. We found a few such statistics and used them to draw small-business owners in, and show them how they could take advantage of Yellow Pages 360º Solution.

c) Media Discussion
The task for media was to generate awareness across a diverse group of small-business owners (from blue-collar trades to mom and pop shops to boutiques to white-collar services), Because of this, we weren’t able to use targeted media without creating bias towards a particular sector. Instead, we used the mass media that small-business owners were most likely to use.

Our campaign covered a three-month period of time, starting in February 2011. It launched with TV, print, and radio, and was sustained with online.

a) Sales/Share Results
The campaign was a tremendous success:
• The website’s unique visitors increased by +31%, almost double the objective.
• Requests for Quote Form submissions increased by +277%, close to triple the increase that had been hoped for.
• Inbound calls from the 360º site to YPG’s sales call centre increased by +58%, eight percentage points above the objective.
• Net new sales that were generated through the 360º site were +82%, more than triple the +25% goal.

What fuelled this? Awareness of the Yellow Pages 360º Solution, which increased by +25 percentage points. (From IPSOS ASI - 2011 Yellow Pages B2B TV Advertising Campaign Post Test.)

Those who saw the ads were significantly more likely to be aware of Yellow Pages Group and its 360º Solution, see it as a credible company that is evolving with the times, and be more likely to have intent to purchase from its suite of digital solutions.

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion
What we know from our research was that exposure to the campaign increased awareness, brand imagery, and purchase intent. That said, when we look further at the diagnostics of the campaign, we can see that it performed well above the norm on several key measures: recall, brand link, and aided messaging.

See Chart: IPSOS ASI - 2011 Yellow Pages B2B TV Advertising Campaign Post Test.

This effect was garnered primarily through the ability of the advertising campaign to get across YPG’s three messages: the suite of solutions, enhancing the clients’ business presence online, and helping them get found by customers.

Finally, during the campaign, there was an impact on broad perceptions of the company. When respondents were asked about what they associate with YPG, positive associations increased significantly, while negative and neutral associations decreased.

See Word cloud of positive words associated with YPG

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels: While spending levels were healthy, they were not overly allocated, given the norms of National product-launch campaigns.

Pricing: Yellow Pages 360º Solution was new to YPG for 2011, but pricing of those elements of the package that had previously existed remained unchanged. There were also no special pricing promotions during the campaign period.

Distribution Changes: During the campaign, YPG kept the same sales coverage in the Canadian market.

Unusual Promotional Activity: There was no unusual promotional activity during the campaign.

Other Potential Causes: While the desired effect of this campaign was to bring YPG in line with the recent digital changes to the marketing industry, the results represent a leaps-and-bounds stride for the brand, only made possible through getting the awareness out via this advertising campaign.

Sometimes the smartest business is to fish where the fish are and build awareness for a service that delivers real results for people. The campaign was extremely successful in generating more awareness, traffic, and sales, and injecting YPG into the conversation with the digital big boys. That’s success in this book.