After Rebranding, YP Names Allison Checchi CMO

Will Work to Move Company Past Its Yellow Pages Legacy

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Four months after running its first brand campaign promoting the shorter, simpler name it took on after discarding, YP has promoted Allison Checchi to chief marketing officer.

YP CMO Allison Checchi
YP CMO Allison Checchi

Ms. Checchi, previously the company's SVP value and yield management and business development, will be tasked with increasing awareness of the new YP brand, and helping advertisers take advantage of its tools to build their own. She replaces Ken Ray.

"After leaving from AT&T, we were somewhat starting from scratch," said Ms. Checchi, referring to the company's spinoff in May 2012. "In the branding of YP, we also need to make sure people are aware of what YP is."

Since making the switch from Yellow Pages, YP has redesigned its mobile and desktop website, and its app. It has also launched new website-building and online presence-management tools for small businesses and acquired predictive analytics company Sense Networks to enhance its mobile display offering.

The campaign had a heavy outdoor component, with ads running on buses and billboards across the country, including a takeover of the 42nd Street shuttle in New York City. Ads also ran online and on the radio. Four agencies -- Interbrand, BarrettSF, Havas Media and Ignition-- were hired for the effort, which used the tagline "The new way to do."

Ms. Checchi said YP wants to extend beyond simply cataloging local information for consumers. "Just providing information from local search like phone numbers and addresses, that's just table stakes," she said. "We have to move into helping users get things done. And be that through the menus on our site, be that through the way we try to drive connections between the merchants."

In order to compete against Google and Yelp, YP is trying to make its user experience as frictionless as possible. For example, on its mobile app, a swipe across a business name in its search results will trigger a call.

YP may be known as a consumer facing company but Ms. Checchi's role will also include a significant dose of b-to-b marketing, as she will be responsible for communicating YP's value to small business owners. "My job is telling our story in a compelling way to small businesses and backing that up with products and services that help them and fit their needs," she said. In addition to selling advertising to small businesses, YP offers website creation and search engine marketing services.

As Ad Age recently reported, the stock of marketers with engineering degrees is rising. Ms. Checchi fits that trend, holding a degree in engineering science/management of technology from Vanderbilt University, along with an MBA from Harvard Business School. "My background is very analytical and I think that's really key for marketing today," she said.

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