New Zealand's Yellow Pages Group plans restructuring to focus on digital marketing services; consultation process to affect around 125 staff in nine different locations

AUCKLAND, New Zealand , March 1, 2012 (press release) – Yellow® has today unveiled a range of proposed changes that will further support its new focus of becoming a leading digital marketing services provider.

Yellow® Chief Executive Officer Scott Pomeroy says the company is currently undergoing a major transformation of its business model in order to provide customers with more relevant solutions and to also take advantage of the global industry trend of providing digital growth opportunities.

“The future of our business is digital,” says Mr Pomeroy. “While our print directories are still well used, people are increasingly using digital marketing services as part of their complete advertising mix. We are now in the process of restructuring our business in order to better respond to that need. This will mean we will require less people in some areas and more in others.”

Latest statistics also support this demand for digital. In a recent study carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the New Zealand Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), online marketing in New Zealand grew by 24% in 2011 to $328 million.

Mr Pomeroy says Yellow already holds a 25% market share of New Zealand’s online search and directories advertising spend and is focused on increasing that further with its new stable of online products and digital services.

“We’re seeing a dramatic change in consumer usage patterns. Like many directory businesses around the world, Yellow® has recognised that in order to increase value for our customers, our focus needs to be solely on transforming from a predominantly print-based directory to a sophisticated multi-channel advertising network.

We are focused on becoming the number one provider of leads and digital marketing services in New Zealand, with the aim of 50% of our new business coming from digital within five years. We are well on our way to executing this strategy, already offering complete packages which include print, online listings, websites, videos, social media and Google Adwords marketing to our SME customers,” he says.

Mr Pomeroy says the development of Yellow®’s suite of integrated products has meant a major rethink of how the business operates.

“Our customers have told us that they really want complete year-round marketing solutions rather than ad-hoc products like the old print-based model offered in the past. We are now responding to this need, but this has required a major refocus and considerable changes, particularly amongst our sales force.

As a start, we have moved towards a more “consultative” or “solutions selling” approach, where our customer needs are paramount and our sales people are able to provide them with advice on the complete range of capabilities and services Yellow® can offer to best suit their needs. We have also integrated a range of new technology, such as iPads, as part of this new move which has streamlined our processes, making it easier for our customers and cutting down on administrative duties.”

Mr Pomeroy says the resulting efficiencies has meant it is now necessary to restructure some parts of the business to ensure Yellow can continue to meet and respond to its changing customer needs.

“It’s never a good time to restructure and these decisions are not taken lightly. However, it is necessary and the right thing for Yellow®. We are committed to supporting our people impacted by the changes and in many cases, hope they will look to relocate for some of the newly created roles in our Auckland office.”

Mr Pomeroy says a comprehensive consultation process is now underway with around 125 staff located in Yellow’s offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin who will be affected by the changes.

“Yellow will move quickly to confirm a new structure in order to provide certainty to those involved and for the wider business.”

Mr Pomeroy says he is confident the necessary changes and Yellow®’s new focus will ensure it has a long, exciting future ahead.

“The digital market is unparalleled, and one that will allow Yellow® to be a trusted brand and a full service adviser to SMEs on their digital marketing needs. We are looking forward to being a leading player in this field and making a real difference to our customers.”

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