SEMPO announced an educational partnership this morning with yellow pages publisher Yellow Book, a division of the UK based Yell. According to the press release put out, the SEMPO Institute “will be providing distance learning education for Yellowbook’s media consultant sales team.”
I believe this is the first such relationship between SEMPO and an individual yellow pages publisher, although the Yellow Pages Association is a long-time member of SEMPO.
The deal appears to be about helping the Yellowbook sales force improve its ability to educate and sell SEM related products to local yellow pages advertisers/small businesses (SMBs). All the major US yellow pages publishers, including Yellowbook, have been selling simplified SEM offerings for several years and most of them are Google resllers. Indeed, some of the yellow pages publishes even bought SEM firms (e.g., Idearc-Inceptor) to bring SEM expertise in house. A number of years ago, Yellowbook purchased an SEM firm called ClickForward.
Yellow pages publishers and increasingly newspapers, as well as a number of independent sales channels such as Yodle and ReachLocal, sell search marketing to small businesses. But the products they’re selling are greatly simplified and managed by them or third parties, as opposed to the local advertisers. This has been a key to more deeply penetrating the small business world with search marketing.