If you are of a certain age and have been in business, chances are that at some stage you will have had an advert in Yellow Pages. Those days are long gone with the world moving to digital methods of discovery. You'd think that Yellow Pages would have been a casualty in that transition but a conversation with André Boisvert, chief architect with Yellow Pages Canada suggests otherwise.
Although the company still derives significant revenue from its print media business, more than CAD 400 million now comes from services it sell to digital properties like Google, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, Facebook. That revenue is growing at double digits. Who would have thought? So how has competition changed?
Boisvert says that in the pre-digital environment, competition was local but the barriers to entry were extremely high. Today's competitors are global and the entry barriers are very low. However, as Boisvert says: "While it would be easy to scrape the web to get some information, that would lead to inaccurate information and therefore not relevant information to the consumer."
YellowPages knows that in the digital world hoarding that information is not an option but equally, Boisvert notes that the consumer doesn't care where they find information, as long as it is relevant to their needs. It therefore makes complete sense for the company to act as the trusted source for accurate information around which other services can wrap their offering.
So while one part of the business fades away, another flourishes and in turn, the business model is being enhanced.