Archive for October, 2010

Where Has The Yellow Pages Marketing Gone?

October 31, 2010

For several generations of small business marketers, the printed Yellow Pages have represented a continuing source of leads and sales.
Those thick yellow books filled with listings and ads offered an easy-to-use buy-sell package that often meant the difference between yearly profit and loss.
In fact, studies by the Yellow Pages proprietors indicated some businesses earned a third of their profits off of these ads.
Starting in the 1980’s and continuing through today, the impact and value of Yellow Pages have diminished.
The older telecommunications managers who oversaw these publications saw the handwriting on the wall and separated them from their other enterprises.
In the 1990’s Hedge Funds bought these “cash-cows.” Significantly, each sale was for less money per measurement unit.
Where then are Yellow Page advertisers going and who cares?
Well, the short answer is that they migrated to the Internet.
The Internet has it own set of requirements. Not the least of which is that the process must be monitored constantly.
The nice thing about the Yellow Pages was that once placed, the small business owner only had to think about it once year, at renewal time.
Yellow Pages also offered a very concentrated target area, closely reflecting the marketing footprint of the small business.
Given the reach of the Internet, for the small business marketer the real question is how to focus what are usually limited resources.
The Yellow Pages set limits on the small business footprint.
The Internet widens that reach considerably.
Since 2005, our research has shown that the marketing footprint for the average small business has doubled to 70+ miles.
Ironically, ad channel suppliers are narrowing in their offerings.
At the same time, in recent months Google, MSN, Verizon and a host of other providers are toting local web advertising.
Indeed, November’s ad:tech show in New York City is top heavy with offerings that “localize” click ads.
In this major showcase, it is ironic that the major players are going local, just as small businesses have gone global thanks to the Internet.
As small business marketers digest local adverting options, new media are opening up that they need to participate in.
One such rapidly growing media are mobile phone “Apps”, such as location-based services, that can pinpoint potential spending points from the user’s location are being more widely used.
In short, the world is rapidly changing and small business managers need to move nimbly to maintain profits.