I am frequently asked to give an example of how marketing is changing and of a marketing method that is now outdated or not working as well as it should. The example I often give is yellow pages advertising.
Search marketing is quickly making printed yellow pages advertising obsolete. With the “Generation Y” and “X” crowd leading the way, a quick search of the web will yield quicker and more complete results for a local plumber, pizza parlor, or marketing consultant. Google and Yahoo! simply make a better mousetrap.
Yellow pages advertising success rates are hard to track and you have little control over the process. Online marketing methods will bury you in analytics about your traffic, which will allow you the ability to change your ads in response to competitive pressure. Also, yellow page publishers require that you sign a one year contract while pay-per-click sources let you come and go as you please.
To my chagrin, people are slow to change and the yellow pages remain a giant industry. According to Simba Information, “U.S. yellow pages revenue is expected to total $16.54 billion in 2009”—read that again. Small to medium sized businesses still empty their wallets to the tune of $16.54 billion a year for the yellow pages.
Marketing expenses get institutionalized and remain in place even when they don’t work as well anymore. Take a hard look at your marketing budget. My recommendation is to trim or eliminate your yellow pages spending now.
John Bradley Jackson
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