Nathan hangs up her Yellow boots

She’s been behind some of the country’s most creative—and creatively
awarded—marketing campaigns, but after four years with the embattled
Yellow Pages Group, business transformation director and former
marketing director Kellie Nathan has decided it’s time for a change.

“Yes, I am looking for a new permanent marketing role, although I’m
happily entering the world of marketing consultancy from Monday 2 July,”
she said in an email. “I’ve had four fantastic years at Yellow, and
I’ve learnt a lot. Now I’m looking forward to finding a new
opportunity.”

Nathan was the former head of communications and
brand at Telecom and also worked as a category marketing
manager at Frucor, before joining Yellow in 2008 just after Telecom sold
its directory division for $2.24 billion). She has held her current
role for around one year and it’s thought she will not be replaced.

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Yellow won a whole heap of creative awards during Nathan’s tenure, including Cannes metal and a Yellow D&AD pencil for Yellow Treehouse and pretty much everything at the 2011 CAANZ Axis awards for Yellow Chocolate,
and while such awards are certainly nice for any company to win, many
felt they were slightly hollow victories because the company was in such
serious financial trouble and was struggling to adapt to life in a
post-Google age.

For some the classic quip ‘nothing kills a bad
product faster than good advertising’ seemed to be at play because, as
Yellow executives have openly admitted, the online directory didn’t
really work. But the counter to all the criticism was ‘well, things
would be worse if we didn’t do anything’ and, according to Colenso’s creative effectiveness award entry from 2011, the attention-grabbing campaigns helped Yellow “outperform the category by a factor of five”.

Like
the difficult mission Fairfax is currently undertaking in Australia,
Yellow has resolved to move away from its reliance on print and become
more digital (also like Fairfax, it decided to cut 20 percent of its staff earlier
this year). Recent innovations aimed at upping its digital offerings to
SMES, such as Yellow Toolbox and Yellow Local have shown that this
leopard is trying to change its spots (although not everyone’s impressed with
some of those changes). And since new chief executive Scott Pomeroy has
started, the company has started reselling Google Adwords (one of
Google’s weaknesses is its lack of sales force on the ground and access
to SMEs and the same reseller arrangement is in play with Yellow’s
equivalent in Australia, Sensis).

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