Allison Checchi is charged with increasing awareness of the former YellowPages.com, rebranded YP last year. Since being promoted to the CMO slot in January, Ms. Checchi is helping small businesses use YP's tools to grow their businesses, including online advertising, search-engine marketing, list management and reputation monitoring.
Ms. Checchi was previously senior VP-value and yield management and business development at YP, which spun off from AT&T in 2012.
In the following interview, she discusses how marketing is helping to boost the company's bottom line.
What have you accomplished in your first year as CMO?
Coming in, first and foremost, was establishing the right metrics so that marketing could actually measure itself and hold itself accountable for sales results, and also delivering on what marketing is actually doing to contribute to the business. I think many CMOs and marketing executives wrestle with that age-old question of ROI and how they are proving their relevancy in the business.
Something I'm really proud of this year is driving business attributed to marketing, which grew by 70% in 2014 year-to-date, as well as driving our overall unaided awareness in the marketplace. We were able to do that with the "YP can do that" campaign -- it drove a 24% improvement. And for me personally, building a great team.
How were you able to grow the business attributed to marketing by 70%?
The direct measurement is really in lead generation and sales conversions -- everything from top-of-the funnel, driving awareness of YP, but also driving more direct response, as well as partnering with sales to drive better accountability and measurement and improved close rates.
What was the strategy behind your new brand campaign, "YP can do that?"
The campaign launched in May. We built upon the brand campaign that launched in 2013, when we introduced YP with brand messaging around "The new way to do" -- introducing the Yellow Pages as YP -- and we shed all references to the Yellow Pages. This year, we reintroduced the Yellow Pages in our messaging, because that context is really important to people. We focused on "YP can do that," with more assertive, confident language that speaks to the root of what we do, both for consumers and for businesses. YP is really focused on helping businesses do what they do best, which is serving their customers and helping them grow their businesses, while YP is taking marketing off their shoulders and helping them get marketing done.
How do you compete with digital giants like Yelp, Facebook and Google?
We don't necessarily compete -- we coexist and in many ways we partner with these players. Yelp is a partner within our YP local ad network; we are a Google premier SMB provider; and with Facebook, part of our "Get online, get found" product offering for small businesses is helping them claim and manage their presence across directory sites and social sites.
What are your marketing priorities for next year?
We want to build upon the track record we've created this year with our contribution to sales. My marketing priorities are basically grow sales, grow sales, grow sales -- and turning my attention to the sales organization and how we better equip them to be brand ambassadors. We are doubling down our efforts in direct marketing and lead generation, and we'll be out with some campaigns in that area, as well as continuing to simplify and present new and enhanced product offerings to our customers.