Monday, January 19, 2015

The New Look Yellow Pages

It's been rather a staple of wisdom in the marketing trade that the old-fashioned "yellow pages" directories are no longer a good way for businesses to advertise.  Telephone directory use has plummeted and the ads are only seen by a tiny fraction of consumers.

But what about the "New Look" versions of these dinosaur directories?  At least one of the better known properties has a webpage that performs like a search engine and includes promotional and social media-type add-ons.  Of course, there is advertising for enhanced placement.

That's all well and good, and it is nice to see the directory company moving resolutely into the new era.  But at the end of the day, what I see is a derivative application.  Google, Yahoo, Bing and others got there first and have vastly better Top-of-Mind-Awareness.  To really make the ad spend worth the while the new directory application needs much more innovation.

For the small business seeking promotional gains from the Internet, I counsel care, and adherence to a tool that is already recognized.  I'm not persuaded that the ROI is there for a player like Google, but it is certainly superior to other search engines.  And that includes the new look yellow pages.  As with all of these thinks, a careful decision is in order.

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