I swear the stack of Yellow Pages in the lobby of my building has more books now then when they were delivered a few months back. Directory advertising is a $15 billion industry. If you have a broadband connection, do you need a phonebook? Fifteen billion dollars; I know the demographics of who still uses phone books – but- $15 billion in 2009?
Small business marketing habits are changing. Web pages, social media, new mobile couponing technologies, digital engagement, blogging… The billions spent on directory ads, direct mail, newspaper, and other formerly dominant old media tactics is driving all digital marketing platforms. And rightfully so.
Today’s connected consumers want to be engaged, informed, validated, and even entertained. They want to see a YouTube video, read a blog post, be Tweeted to, or get a Facebook invite. A coupon or ad on page 678 of a 2010 doorstop will not work.
I remember the “Let Your Fingers Do The Walking” ad campaign for The Yellow Pages. How odd that we all let our fingers do the walking now. They walk to Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, Facebook, and other sites with more valid and current info. What a nightmare come true this must be for Yellow Page publishers. And to make matters worse, 20% of all homes and many business do not even have a landline phone or bill.
One of my favorite old (1979) movies was Steve Martin’s, “The Jerk.” Think of this classic scene in light of today’s social networking on Twitter and Facebook. “The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need! My name in print! That really makes somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now.” BTW, there is a Navin Johnson page on Facebook and you may be able to friend him.
So why do we Google instead of “Phonebooking” or “YellowPaging” someone?
Think: connection, convenience, current info, engagement, value added, and the right platform at the right time.