Who uses the yellowpages?
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say “nobody uses the yellowpages,” I would have been able to retire just 5 years into my near decade long career of selling and consulting on phone book advertising for Verizon Yellowpages and SuperPages.com.
To those that think people do not use yellowpages, I must disagree. Many people use the yelowpages every single day.
When I sold ads in Dallas, it was a challenge selling ads because in business perception often becomes reality.
For example, when the United States Department of Transportation created the interstate highway system we ultimately created the suburbs. We killed the traffic going through Route 66 towns, but over the course of the next few years rural towns became almost extinct. Just think of what the railroad did to towns that didn’t get rail lines a century before. This is apart of our country’s history. Technology and innovation lead to a migration of business growth and opportunity, from one media to another. Radio fueled the end of the Holocaust.
YELLOW PAGES ARE A BIG PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY.
I respect the contribution to local economies by the phone book. It was a catalyst for commerce and the creator of small business entrepreneurs everywhere.
Telecom employee unions also helped create high paying jobs for sales people and sales managers consulting in advertising solutions inside this simple product.
The suburbs are the future death of the yellowpages, because of mobile smart phone technology, saturation distribution, yellowpages industry fragmentation, and years of price-gouging and sleazy sales tactics by industry veterans. The phone book publishers now have a bad reputation amongst consumers and small business owners.
The phonebook has a continued chance of survival in Route 66 towns and most suburbs by catering to older, poorer, and less educated consumers. The age of phone book users are baby boomers with stable jobs and disposable incomes. Most of those that want to make the most educated and social buying decisions in suburban and urban markets won’t use the phone book. No matter how many books, with little incentive to use, you put on their porches, you will never see usage greater than 20% in urban markets.
Do yellow pages companies have a future? Sure. Just not the phone companies who were driven to fail by investors, bankruptcies, and greed.
Decisions by dumb bean counters and marketing reps at Verizon ended the focus in rural markets.
Verizon Telco pulled out of San Angelo Tx and the town hated losing it’s largest employer next to the city. The yellow pages death in San Angelo wasn’t caused by Verizon’s departure, but by the focus on margins and not putting resources or the business community first.
I witnessed this business model shift while just 19 years old working in the TCC Call Center in 2001 as a media consultant. ( First rep to never miss quota for 26 conscutive pay periods, I later received 3 President’s Awards at Texas Division Sales. ) First was ending the agreement to publish for CenturyTel, AllTel, and other independent telcos. Sprint took advantage of this. The rise of YellowBook as a serious competitor to the telco monopolies of the yellow pages industry. No longer where independent publishers not privy to the service order records for B1 and Residential phones lines. Independent publishers began publishing cheaper and more localized phonebooks. The creation of the independant publishers association began.
As a Board of Directors Member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, the first and largest search marketing group in the country, I am proud to be apart of the history in small business local search commerce.
I appreciate the role of yellow pages.
Just 7 years ago over 78% of Americans used the Yellow Pages print. Today that number represents less than 20%, contrary to what publishers try to tell you.
A old saying is “58% of all commercial statistics are false.” This is defined by industry research paid for by industry companies to the same researchers and analysts.
The future of the yellow pages will be in subscription-based magazines or hyper-local publishers.
Can the yellow pages successfully integrate content, group buying, and value to consumers leveraging the future technology of paper and tablets? We will see. I believe in the value of display advertising. Let’s hope phonebook companies recognize that display ads are in its future, or the reason for its death, like Route 66.
I have to admit, I love the small towns. I am from Rouse City Tx and my Grandma owned a Feed Store.
Can Yellowpage companies create small business advertising consultants offering a large bag of solutions incorporating content and transparency? Will the entire phonebook become call tracking lines for ROI measurement like we offer with internet marketing services?
The future will tell.
-posted from my DroidX