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The Kelsey Report® White Paper

The National Sales Channel: Analysis and Outlook
Charles Laughlin , 6/18/2001


Ask any certified marketing representative (CMR) to describe the current state of relations with the major North American Yellow Pages publishers and you'll hear a mournful tale.

CMRs say the major publishers are killing them slowly with commission cuts. CMRs also say the major publishing companies fail to appreciate how well the national sales channel has performed given declines in usage and revenue among the headings dominated by national advertisers. CMRs will go on to say that publishers need to do more to make the product appealing to national advertisers, in particular advertisers that have never purchased Yellow Pages advertising or are underutilizing the medium.

From their perspective, publishers will point out that CMRs are failing to grow national advertising revenues in real terms, meaning acquiring new accounts and growing existing accounts. Rather, publishers say, CMRs continue to "fish from the same pond" and grow their account base by migrating local accounts into national accounts and luring existing advertisers from rival CMRs. The publishers will go on to say that many CMRs think "sell" is a dirty word.

Publishers have revenue targets. They are warning CMRs to step up and do more to help publishers meet those targets, or they will put more energy into acquiring new channels to sell their product to national accounts.

Both sides have valid points to make, but the level of infighting over national is creating opportunities for other media. And the needs of national customers are being neglected in the process.

National revenue is either flat or declining, depending on how much of the revenue is actually national-to-local account migration. Yet no amount of incentive to find "new, new" business has been effective. Are CMRs falling short? Or is the national channel's struggle merely a reflection of broader problems in the Yellow Pages industry?

This White Paper will define the issues facing the national channel and explore some of the solutions currently on the table. This document also provides a quantitative picture of the CMR industry and looks ahead at future scenarios for the national channel.

Copyright � 2005 The Kelsey Group. All Rights Reserved.
This published material is for internal client use only. It may not be duplicated or distributed in any manner not permitted by contract. Any unauthorized distribution could result in termination of the client relationship, fines and other civil or criminal penalties under Federal law. The Kelsey Group disclaims all warranties regarding the accuracy of the information herein and similarly disclaims any liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages that may result from the use or interpretation of this information.

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Copyright© 2006 The Kelsey Group. All Rights Reserved.