DexYP: What Should the Brand and Strategy Be Going Forward?

Months of rumors were answered yesterday when it was announced that Dex Media and YP would become DexYP. It’s not a merger; Dex bought YP for $600 million.

YP had been owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital, with a minority stake retained by AT&T, the original owner of YP (formerly the AT&T yellow pages).

More than any other directory publisher, YP had continued to invest in its brand and consumer strategy. This past year, under the leadership of new CEO Jared Rowe, the company had also started to emphasize its print directory again as part of a “blended” print-digital approach for SMBs. This was something of a surprise given that it had been gradually backing away from print in the past few years.

YP also strongly promotes its consumer brand and traffic — “60 million consumers visit yp.com each month” — as part of its selling proposition to SMBs.

Dex has not really emphasized its consumer-facing properties and spent more time developing a broad set of marketing and progressive operational solutions for SMBs. In the past several years, under the leadership of Joe Walsh, Dex has moved from selling traffic and leads to a suite of services that help them manage their businesses — something approaching a cloud-based “operating system.”

That’s represented in “DexYP’s marquee product, Thryv, formerly known as DexHub”:

[Thryv] is an all-in-one app enabling local business owners to manage their businesses on their smartphones and other devices from anywhere. Thryv lets local businesses automate business functions they performed manually in the past, or never performed. These include building a digital customer list, communicating with customers via email and text, updating business listings across the internet, accepting appointments, sending notifications and reminders, managing ratings and reviews, generating estimates and invoices, processing payments, and issuing invoices and coupons…

(This “operating system” approach is essentially the thesis behind LSA’s new Tech Adoption Index research project.)

The merger of the two companies reflects DexYP CEO Joe Walsh’s vision for “a single, massive Yellow Pages entity,” according to my colleague Charles Laughlin. The belief is that only massive scale and its corresponding efficiencies can effectively compete with the larger digital-media companies.

There are some interesting questions now:

  • Will DexYP continue to invest in the YP brand?
  • Will the combined company use the YP brand for consumer-facing products and experiences and “Thryv” brand for the marketing solutions aimed at SMBs?
  • Will there be an attempt to reconcile the two companies’ somewhat different approaches to SMB marketing solutions or will DexYP simply shift to selling the Thryv product across all markets?

What are your thoughts about the outlook for success? What should the DexYP strategy be? What should happen/will happen to the YP brand assets and consumer properties?

Here’s another interesting aspect of this: Dex has been “branding” and promoting CEO Joe Walsh as an accessible personality (an entrepreneur like the SMBs themselves) in a series of SMB-focused explainer videos on YouTube about marketing tactics — everything from website development to email, CRM and social media:

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2 Responses to “DexYP: What Should the Brand and Strategy Be Going Forward?”

  1. Michael says at

    YP was making decent progress in helping SMB’s migrate into digital products like Paid Search and Online Display. It will be interesting to see if Dex continues that momentum.

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  4. Greg Sterling says at

    The Dex product strategy is very different. We’ll see what happens.

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