DIGITISING NEW ZEALAND’S SME COMMUNITY
We are quite comfortable in the discomfort of transformation and we can create that entry point into the digital world that is perceived to be expensive.
“It’s not a matter of if, but when,” says Yellow chief marketing officer Bruce Pilbrow on businesses undergoing a digital transformation. For the past 60 years, it’s been serving New Zealanders and their businesses alongside its own transformation and now it’s ready to impart that experience onto SMES.
Since entering the market with a phone book, Yellow’s faced the digital revolution and come out the other end with a business that’s 50 percent digital and growing.
Now, it’s time for New Zealand’s SMES to follow suit, in order to help them get their stories out to their communities.
“If we can help a small business thrive in a community, they are going to employ more people, they are going to spend more in their local community,” says Pilbrow.
“We love that local connection between business and community; it’s part of our DNA at Yellow.”
Yellow has launched what’s believed to be New Zealand’s first marketing subscription service. It’s a needs-based solution to help SMES take off.
“We’ve worked with world-class international providers to pull together some excellent tools at an affordable price for Kiwi SMES.”
With SMES in a variety of marketing positions around the country, the service includes four different digital marketing solutions to help SMES grow their online and social presence, tell their stories in digital platforms and ultimately drive business leads.
They are ‘Get Started’, ‘Grow and Promote’, ‘Share with Followers’ and ‘Create Content’ to suit the different needs of businesses.
Looking across New Zealand, Pilbrow sees SMES owned by people with strong values and a love for their community but facing hard graft.
Feedback from owners shows they want more time to work on their businesses as they are balancing being on the tools, doing the paperwork and their own form of marketing.
“There is one Yellow and our job is to find a marketing solution that helps your business thrive – we will put together a package that suits that.
“We are quite comfortable in the discomfort of transformation and we can create that entry point into the digital world that is perceived to be expensive.”
On top of price, Pilbrow adds there’s also a perception digital means building a website, but that’s not always the answer.
Yellow takes a step back to ask: What does it look like to get online? And once you’re online, how do you effectively tell your story without merely flogging a product?
And for those who already have a website, Yellow looks at how people will find it. It’ll ask how can you get a ranking in Google? And how do you optimise your listing or your website?
“Some customers might already have a website but it doesn’t do anything and what they need requires search engine marketing to get it popping up on Google or a platform to tell their story in a social space,” says Pilbrow. “Our challenge is to help customers without using confusing acronyms and marketing speak, we simply give them practical solutions based on their needs."
One of those customers is Mike Pero, who has called Yellow a partner of Mike Pero Mortgages since the early 90s. Like Yellow, Pero has also evolved over the years, originally advertising in Yellow to grow his business from ground zero and today using digital as a major part of the business.
He’s also expanded, launching Mike Pero Real Estate in 2011.
Since then, Pero has opened a new office every 45 days, an achievement aided by Yellow’s marketing support.
While he loves marketing and is hands on, he realised Mike Pero Real Estate lacked an in-house skillset for online business marketing, so uses Yellow to get his message out to the nation instead.
One size doesn’t fit all
But while a digital transformation is front of mind for New Zealand SMES, that’s not to say the phone book should be pushed to the back.
Yellow’s original offer of a listing in pages of a book is still a relevant solution, particularly when looking beyond the country’s main centres.
Pilbrow explains the Yellow pages are still rated and used with Nielsen data predicting it sees 9.6 million physical lookups a month, with 65 percent of those leading to a phone call.
“So the question is not whether the pages are dead. It is more about understanding the best way for you to promote your business to enable measurable, positive impact. Great marketing must always come from what’s best for the customer.”
“Whether that’s print, or print and digital, or digital only, we will put together a package that suits that.”