Modern World, Modern Solutions

The company that publishes the iconic YellowBook was forced to adapt during the digital revolution. Randy Stockdale comes up with innovative ways for the company, now known as hibu, to thrive online

A new approach

Randy Stockdale, bilingual and bicultural marketing executive, is based in Houston, Texas.
Randy Stockdale, bilingual and bicultural marketing executive, is based in Houston, Texas.

It all started in 2011. That’s when hibu boldly proclaimed its new plan to go from a supplier of print and Web ads to a provider of digital marketing services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The plan called for comprehensive solutions, including websites, e-commerce, mobile ads, and social media capabilities. The company would find success by engaging emerging and established world markets in places like Argentina, Chile, Peru, and the US Hispanic markets. Randy Stockdale, a veteran Hispanic market expert, was brought on to run global marketing.

A big part of Stockdale’s job lies in showcasing hibu’s value-added services to these targeted business owners. Our products and services are designed to help companies with digital solutions so they can grow and attract customers,” he says. “We’re not just selling ad space in YellowBook anymore. We’re selling digital ads on Yellowbook.com, building websites, publishing magazines, offering e-commerce solutions, and doing much more.” hibu has become one of the world’s largest website producers (more than 450,000 sites) and biggest magazine publishers (more than 800 community magazines in the United States alone).

Helping businesses with Hispanic strategies 

The US Hispanic population is expected to approach 130 million in the next three decades. Hispanics use online and mobile applications more than any other demographic. “To survive, it is crucial for SMEs to capture this growing market as consumers migrate to a primarily digital environment,” says Stockdale. His team builds websites and offers all other digital and print products in English, Spanish, or both. They offer help with bilingual search campaigns and Spanish-language keywords. Outside of the states, hibu has a presence in England, Spain, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. In the last fiscal year, the company’s Latin American revenue totaled more than $41 million thanks to 29,000 websites and almost 100 directory editions.

Stockdale and his team, hibu’s Hispanic business unit, have a dedicated bilingual sales force in Texas, Miami, and other key areas of The United States. They geo-target the SMEs in pre-identified areas and then do on-site visits to present examples of their ubiquitous community magazines and the advertisements available. By going hyperlocal, hibu can interact with business owners to demonstrate the true impact of a multifaceted strategy. “Many of these companies don’t even have websites. If they do, their websites haven’t been optimized for mobile. You’ve got to do everything you can to reach your customer in these modern times. We make that possible,” he explains.

Through placements in the electronic YellowBook, advertising in print magazines, participating in postcard campaigns, and using hibu’s full array of services, SMEs are able to maximize their reach. An important step is teaching each SME owner how to engage with the marketplace. “An owner might know his market, but he doesn’t always know how the marketplace engages search,” says Stockdale. What keywords do consumers use to search for businesses? What devices are they using to perform that search? How often do they go online? Stockdale illustrates how to engage these channel strategies to attract new business.

Stockdale says an online store will allow customers to interact with hibu remotely. Its directory app is the most downloaded of its kind in the Android and Apple stores. Unlike some competitors, it has location services features that return a broad selection of businesses. While there are many options out there, Stockdale says it all comes down to results. Companies have to be found through online searches. They need to reach emerging markets. Small and medium-sized enterprises can’t afford radio, print, or TV campaigns. As a transformed, renewed, refreshed, and remade company, hibu provides the modern solution.

 

UPDATE: At the time of press, Hispanic Executive learned that Stockdale had taken a new position as vice president of CHI & Partners.