Changes at YP Talk

Regular followers have noticed that YP Talk has been silent for several months now.  But it’s not without cause.

When you believe strongly in something, there are times when you have to step forward, plant a flag, and makes good things happen.  YP Talk has been silent because I recently acquired a small print and online Yellow Page operation in central Florida.  In this everything digital world many people want us to believe in, one has to ask, am I crazy?  I will let you the readers of YP Talk decide.  Here is the full story on the some compelling factors behind my acquisition.

  • First, it’s in Florida.  After three years in Kansas, while the people there are very nice, and having a chance to work for the Brock’s at Names & Numbers was certainly a pleasure, it was nice to sell our snow shovels at our final yard sale before moving
  • The books are LOCAL books.  We focus on LOCAL businesses.  In the Alarms section you will not see any ads from ADT – instead you will find the local alarm company Security Center.  In carpet cleaning, no Stanly Steamer, instead you will find Carpet Pro based here in Port Orange.  In the florists, no 800-Flowers, instead Port Orange Florist.  It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t accept an ad from a national company.  But they need to have a strong local presence
  • All of the ad programs are bundles.  Buy a half page; get a dollar bill sized in another heading.  Online is bundled with print.  Add it all up — it comes to better VALUE for that local businesses advertising dollar as they can capture ready to buy customers no matter what format they are looking for them in.
  • We include white pages in the books, and in a format and font size you can actually read without a microscope.  We have many features which make the book a valuable RESOURCE for local consumers
  • The covers feature local art and photography
  • And most importantly, we have FAMILY here in the area.  It’s nice to be back on the east coast where most family is within driving distance of us.

Of course, half of the conversations I have with those local businesses start with them telling me that print is obsolete.  I nod my head and smile, but then ask that if that is true, how is Coleman Plumbing able to get OVER 100 calls a month from the call tracking number in their ad??  Or that local dentist, who has a very specialized practice bringing in 30-40 calls a month on his RCF??  Keep in mind anyone that gets in his chair is going to be spending over $1,500.  I then ask them to explain what I should make of the 6-10 calls we get a week from consumers asking for another copy of the book.  Note this isn’t New York city – there are only 25,000 households in the area.  If that isn’t enough, we run a contest which appears on the last page of the book where consumers can send us a list of businesses they found and use from the book, and we’ll enter them into a contest for a new TV.  The pile of responses is several inches thick.

When the VCR was invented, they predicted the end of movie theatres.   After that, the higher quality DVD will definitely kill those theatres now.  Well then along came Blue Ray which is so advanced, and we all have 100” big screen TV’s, so surely now we never go to those “obsolete” movie theaters do we?  I guess those $10.8 BILLION in ticket sales didn’t really happen then (source)?

We all have many choices and sources available to us when we are ready to make a buying decision.  Print and online yellow pages are just one of them.  I have had enough of apologizing for the industry, for the printing of millions of books each year (on recycled materials), for investing big bucks into online products that aren’t Google.  We provide a valuable service to local small businesses.  If you don’t believe me, come ride with me on a sales call where a frazzled small business owner looks you in the eye and admits they don’t have a clue on how to market their small business within the limited budget they have and can afford.  It takes a lot of courage for them to admit that.

For those that insist it has to be all digital, I sat fine.  But if I can’t help that local business define what they are about in the size of half page or quarter page print ad, how on earth are they going to know what/how to say in whatever digital format you think “everyone” uses?

At end of day, it’s not print OR digital.  It’s all about defining the key value message that business offers, no matter the platform, and then getting that message out.

So what does this acquisition mean for YP Talk?  For one thing after over nine years of writing this newsletter, this will be the last email I will push your way.  It’s not that I don’t think there are a lot of important topics related to this business to discuss – exactly the opposite.  It’s just that there aren’t enough hours in the day/week when you are the sales department, production, finance, marketing, and senior management.

I will continue to post my thoughts on this YP Talk blog from time to time. But mostly this message was just to tell all of you, thank you.  Thank you for your support.  Thank you for your comments both pro and con.  Thank you for the feedback on how you used the information we provided here.  There was nothing more gratifying then to bump into someone who mentioned they used an article to kick off a sales meeting, or sent another article to the marketing group asking how come we don’t have this.

Thank you to the suppliers that help make this industry what it is.  Their advertising support for this newsletter was key to so I could do this, and I really enjoyed hearing about all the new things they brought to the table.  It forced me to be current.

And lastly a big thank you to friends and family who also tolerated many years of me having to go run off and create a newsletter when I probably should have been spending more time with them.  Now I just bore them to death with my efforts as a local Yellow Page publisher.

And for those worried about the future – don’t be.  You will find as I have, that about every 5 years or so you will be reinventing yourself as the marketplace changes, as companies change, as technology changes, even as you change.  But do count your blessings as you are now working in the most exciting industry out there, one that is changing for sure, but still brings huge value to every community and business it touches.  How many industries can say that?

Peace be with you.

6 responses to “Changes at YP Talk

  1. Fantastic, when I retired to Southwest Florida after over 30 years in the YP industry, I received 5 different YP directories. 8 years later I get one. Good luck and keep everyone posted.

  2. Ken, I really hate to see YP Talk cease to be sent out. I have always enjoyed reading the information each month that comes out in the Blog. I have also always forwarded it to every manager and ever sales rep of mines, and urged them to read it, because every time without exception it builds more confidence in the reader as to why we sell “print” to begin with, and why it still works even after all of the naysayers have called us names, and made fun of us, and say that we wont exist by the end of the year. Somehow, we always do anyway.

    I wish you the best in the Sunshine State. Much continued success.

    Always your friend,

    Wayne

  3. Ken I wish you the very best. Most of all, have fun with your new venture. Jim Runyon

  4. Hi Ken….I didn’t get to say my goodbyes to you upon your departure from Names and Numbers to start your new and exciting venture. I wish you the very best. In case you haven’t heard I resigned my employment last week and will be moving on to another venture myself. Again I wish you all the best.

    On Sun, Sep 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM, YP Talk – The Voice of the Yellow Pages

  5. Ken – When you described your Florida books, it read like a checklist for what we’ve been doing at Tahoe Telephone Directories for the last dozen years – bundles, one price, color and internet included. We’re weathering the storm better than the competition….check out our books at http://www.TahoeYP.com & http://www.Carson YP.com Look forward to hearing from you…Mike Fedor, msf800@yahoo.com

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