Archives For Sales Corner

You don’t have to be in the media industry to realize that the advertising world is changing exponentially.  We are all impacted simply because advertising encompasses the world we live in today.  Whether you are watching TV, playing games on your mobile phone, or listening to the radio, you are constantly trying to be reached by marketers who are hoping their dollars are hitting the right target audience.  The tactics in which advertisers reach you constantly have to adapt based on new technologies that are introduced to the marketplace and the way people are obtaining their information and seeking entertainment.

The recent surge of internet/mobile is what sparked my interest to make the shift from the print industry to the digital world.  It is important to emphasize that this is not a blog suggesting how advertisers should spend their dollars or on the state of the industry.  It is simply my story of moving between industries and what provoked me to do so.

My first job out of college was selling print advertising (primarily newspaper).  Just like other recent graduates, I fell into this position due to my eagerness to land my first “real job” and get my feet wet.  In the beginning of my career, I was constantly confronted with the client objection, “but the newspaper is dying”.  As this may have been true 5 years ago, it wasn’t nearly as true as it is now.  While I hung in there and continuously dealt with rising paper costs, newspapers shutting down, decreasing circulation, and clients cutting their print budgets, I began to entertain the idea of moving to another advertising sector.  For three and a half years I took the bus from New Jersey to New York twice a day.  During this time, I sat back and watched as the number of commuters holding a newspaper, magazine, or book dwindled and was replaced by people using iPhones, iPads, and Nooks.  It wasn’t a secret that the world was rapidly changing and I wanted to be a part of it.

As a young professional building the foundation of my career, I wanted to make sure I had the right skill set in order to be successful.  While I learned invaluable skills and worked with life changing mentors during my time in print advertising, I was determined to start from the ground up and add online/mobile advertising to my repertoire.  In December 2010, I handed in my buttoned up suit and four inch heels for a pair of jeans and flats to start my career as an Account Manager at WhitePages.com.  What better way to get away from print than to join a company who had a campaign to “ban the phonebook”?

The past year and a half at WhitePages has been an amazing experience.  I joined an incredible team and have learned more than I could have ever imagined.  That being said, there were definitely some adjustments.

  • Shortened turnaround time to get a campaign live. No longer do I have to reserve press time two months out and lose sleep over late creatives.
  •  If there’s an issue with the creative, I can do the most amazing thing:  pause it until it’s fixed.  It truly is a beautiful thing.
  • Accountability- due to the ability to track performance you must monitor and optimize campaigns closely in order to ensure you are reaching client goals.

Looking back, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had, but I’ve proved to myself that sometimes you just have to trust your gut and enter the unknown to reap the rewards.  I was able to join an amazing company that values their employees and fosters a collaborative environment in which we continue to learn and grow as a team, and for that I will always be thankful that I made the switch.

Things in advertising have come a long way since the days of Don Draper. A long long way. In the digital ad space technology is king and if you don’t stay up to speed you risk putting your business on the line.

When I started at WhitePages as an Account Manager I had the opportunity to work with highly experienced Account Executives whose job it was to sell display advertising on our sites. Two years later when I was promoted to that position, I was nervous to take on the role, but thrilled at the same time since I had learned from the best.

When you’re new to the game your first email response is like your baby’s first step. Your first meeting feels like you will definitely get that RFP (request for proposal). And after submitting your first proposal, you can’t image how they could not pick your site. After all those firsts, all you can do is wait for your first sale. Getting that first client on board was a definitely a challenge, but the real challenge was turning that initial sale into a long term relationship.

This particular client was very happy with the results they were seeing, and wanted to buy more inventory – inventory we were all sold out of. This is where things got interesting. After brainstorming with the team and my amazing Account Manager, we decided Audience Extension might be the missing piece. Audience Extension is a relatively new concept, and allows advertisers to reach highly coveted WhitePages users after they leave our site.

We presented this to the client and we immediately saw a smile on their face. This was something completely new not only for the client but for WhitePages as well…needless to say, we were excited to get to work! After a month of working very closely with both our extension provider, Audience Science, and client, our back end results improved tremendously, making us a top performing partner.

In this rapidly changing digital advertising industry I’ve learned that in order to maintain a longstanding successful partnership it’s imperative to research and test new solutions. While it’s important to maximize internal resources, it’s just as important to keep a pulse on technology available in the marketplace (some of my favorite trades are Media Post, IAB, Digiday, and Ad Age). With anything “new” in life, there is always a fear of the unknown. Being a confident seller and innovative thinker will only help you succeed and grow your book of business!

As a seasoned Account Executive in digital ad sales who’s spent the last 7+ building my desk the thought of being out of the office on maternity leave brings up some fears.  Being a new mom is  exciting, overwhelming, and a bit scary when you realize that there’s so much happening professionally and personally that you need to prepare for.  Lucky for me, I have a great team here at WhitePages to help out professionally but it led me to thinking about other soon to be mom’s in the rapidly ever changing competitive digital advertising space. All these questions are running through my head…What will happen to my desk when I’m out? Who is going to cover for me (surely I am not replaceable!), will my prospects forget about me? And the most honest question of all, what will happen when I come back and how will I balance it all?  Wanted to share my maternity leave plan and what we do at WP that can maybe help others.

Putting a Plan In Place

As the first Account Executive in my office to take maternity leave we’ve been working hard to put together a formal maternity plan. Over the last couple of weeks we figured out coverage, set a plan that allows us to continue to build on the momentum already in place, and ensure a smooth transition for my clients and co-workers alike. While it made me anxious to not know what the process will be when I embarked on this journey I’m excited to be a big part of implementing a plan that benefits everyone and that co-workers in the future can participate in.

Learn to Let Go

Over the past seven years I have nurtured and grown my book of business from scratch. While I’m out of the office my primary responsibilities remain in place as I’m still held to a revenue number and certain organizational goals. The nature of sales is that to a certain extent you create your success; what you put in is what you get in return. Now preparing to take maternity leave creates some anxiety as I learn to let go, trust in the foundation that I’ve built along with the team, and transition all my responsibilities for the first time.  Knowing the amazing team we have in place makes this transition much easier and leaves me confident that we will continue to exceed expectations.

Trust your Team

While I’m out our Account Management team will serve as the primary contact for all existing business; handling the day-to-day campaign management, keeping abreast of incremental/renewal opportunities, and facilitating all client meetings and entertainment. For new business there will be one point of contact who will take the lead and delegate any client requests internally as needed. This teammate will also help with maintaining contact with new prospects to continue to push things forward.

Part of being successful is the ability to continuously learn and evolve. Up until this point my focus has been on establishing myself and building my career. Now I need to learn how to balance my career with my other priority, motherhood. I believe discipline is one of the keys to sales success. There’s always a fear of the unknown with any major life event, but I know that this preparation and the continued support of my team, management, and family will allow me to jump right back into it just like I will my skinny jeans.


It’s 2012 and technology has surpassed what people believed it could do twenty years ago. We now have mobile optimized websites, applications and, believe it or not, mobile advertising on our cell phones. In order for these ads to show up in the palm of our hands it takes technology, operations, and a dedicated team. I’m going to share my experience setting up our new mobile ad server and the back end processes that go into getting those delicious looking McDonald’s Value Menu ads in front of those precious little eyes of yours.

Out with the old and in with the new. It’s a powerful statement. We’ve all heard it before and in this case it wasn’t as easy as taking your old clothes to Goodwill and shopping for new ones, but all the work was worth the effort. Who doesn’t love the new, next best thing?

Over 4th of July weekend in 2011 we realized, although it was Independence Day, we weren’t so independent. Our mobile ad serving provider shut its doors unexpectedly. All of our mobile ad revenue was at a standstill – not good for business. But as we know “the show must go on”, so we picked up the pieces and set off to find the new.

The Big Decision

After meetings with potential ad serving vendors and thorough evaluations we decided on AdMarvel (www.admarvel.com). We felt that AdMarvel had all the capabilities we desired in a mobile ad server; frequency capping, geo targeting down to the zip code level, ability to run companion ads/roadblocks, and a way to pass proprietary information dynamically into our ads. After contracts were signed, the real fun began!

Ad Operations Set Up

For anyone who has led a project with lots of moving pieces, you know how difficult it can be to keep with the timeline. Coordinating meetings with multiple vendors and internal teams can be quite the challenge, especially when people are in different countries. In order to manage things more effectively we broke the project down into phases. This gave us a smaller picture within the big picture for us to focus on and stick to the schedule.

This was my first mobile migration and as for anything that’s a first I ran into problems, had some questions, battled through the struggles, and had to think about things I had never thought about before. As we all know, the mobile space is relatively new and the guidelines are still being developed; you use that big brain of yours, your best judgment, figure out what’s going to be ideal, and then you do it.

So how did we do it?

1. Within AdMarvel we set up site IDs for all placements within our mobile sites on m.whitepages.com and m.411.com; there are 96 site IDs total
2. Sent those IDs to our developers for implementation
3. Created a test plan for both mobile sites that was broken out into 3 phases
4. Once those IDs were implemented and the developers gave the OK, we tested on our staging sites to confirm everything was set up and functioning correctly
5. After a few failed attempts, we got it right and approved the code to ship to production

Teamwork

Now this might seem like a straightforward sequence of events, because it is, but there was much more to it. As with any tech project, we had our ups and downs, trials and tribulations, but in the end we worked as a team to get everything done and actually released our new ad server ahead of schedule. Yes, ahead – unheard of right? Not when you work towards a common goal, with smart people, who realize teamwork is important. If it weren’t for the amazing team I worked with we would not have been able to release our new ad server so quickly.

Next up app integrations!

If you are going through this process, have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to reach out and let me know your thoughts and experience.

About Elise Bidman – Elise is an Account Manager for online and mobile. Responsible for campaign management, trafficking and mobile ad operations. She can be reached via email at ebidman@whitepages.com, on Linkedin, or via the Whitepages Ad Sales Facebook page.

Our Home Page is Skin Deep

Jeff Mayer —  February 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

As a result of the clean and uncluttered layout of our site, our Skinny Takeover Placement has become wildly popular with premium advertisers since its roll-out in October 2011. I’ve personally had the pleasure of being the Account Manager on more than half of the skinny executions and have firsthand experience with the development, ad creation, approval process and performance for our partners. What makes me most excited is the feedback we’ve received about how incredible they look, how amazing they perform, and the amount of buzz they’ve generated around the campaign!

So, what is a WhitePages “Skin”?

The “Skinny”, (as we like to call it), is a full page branded image that is seamlessly integrated and embedded into our Home Page. It’s a visually stunning custom creative that is unique to the industry, and executed without the higher cost of building rich media ad units. From a technical (post sale) perspective, what has been so rewarding when working with our partners is how simple and easy they are to implement and launch!

What makes our Skinny’s so desirable?

  • Wow Factor for your brand.
  • Easy to implement – turnaround time is less than two weeks, depending on final approval of the layout.
  • We can layer in Geo (including zip codes), Behavioral, Demographic, and Day Part Targeting.
  • Flexible flight dates – 1 day, week, month etc.
  • Not just available on our homepage – can run on People Search and Reverse Phone Form pages, as well as an Interstitial.

So, when you want a “custom” and “out of the box” solution, and don’t want to stress over deadlines or spend weeks developing, you want the WP Skinny!