Tag Archives: call tracking

The Facts Are The Facts, And They Are Not in Dispute

I borrowed this title from actor Kevin Bacon’s statement in the “Few Good Men” movie, but it applies in this case.  I’m sure you see them all the time too.  I get 4 or 5 of these types of incoming comments each week.  Most are bogus or just pure spam.  But these two made me laugh since they are contrary to what the call tracking data is telling us about print Yellow Page usage:

“Yellow Pages are obsolete”

The following comment was posted on the YP Talk comment area:

I was googling “why do yellow pages still exist” and I was delighted to find this hilarious article desperately defending them instead. It’s like reading someone trying to defend the slide rule. Sorry buddy, but technology has made yellow pages obsolete. They provide no value, but they do kill a lot of trees. Mobile phones with internet access are now dirt cheap and ubiquitous, providing the same information to people. Even my grandmother has a cell phone. Nobody in their right mind would use the yellow pages, other than as kindling or paper weight.

My response, while trying to be somewhat diplomatic was as follows:

 Thank you for your commentary. It’s comments like this that show exactly why the print yellow pages still work as you clearly had already decided on the answer you wanted to hear before you even did your Google search.

I can only assume you missed the article which showed that 76% of all adults do still use the printed YP each year. Or the one about how 85% of those people who do use a book make a purchase once they pick it up. Or that advertisers are seeing AT LEAST a $10 to $1 return for their advertising investments. Perhaps you also missed the article about how call tracking results for print ads have shown INCREASES in the number of calls over the last two years. But even if you had seen that, I doubt you would believe it.

So maybe the better approach with someone like you who appears to only believe what they see at the end of the arm, how do you think all that mobile stuff got there, especially the parts from local businesses??  Answer: yellow page reps working with those businesses that get them listed where ever their clients might be. Print, online, mobile — that’s the definition of “Yellow Pages” these days…

I had really wanted to be much wittier in my response, but the facts are the facts….

How shallow can I be:

This other one came across my radar screen and it sounds like it was a man on the street type interview from an Aussie city.  They are easy to do – let’s find a cross section of people who don’t fit the demographics of a typical small business in the print or online Yellow Pages, who probably aren’t experiencing the life events that drive usage, and then ask them leading questions:

Do People Use Yellowpages Anymore? – YouTube Do People Still Use The Yellow Pages?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_psVGi-pEQc

Note how many of these people commented that page 1 of a Google results page is the extent they will go when looking for local businesses.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m spending $15,000+ on a new roof, need an experienced dental surgeon, a local limousine service for a special night out, or have to have my air conditioning system repaired, I don’t think I’m going to limit myself to the just the results Google choses to give me on the first page of a search.   That seems a bit shallow to me.  What about you??

Looks like a perfect opportunity for one of or two industry associations to develop a similar video which shows the exact opposite, with real people who spend real money for real products and services – that’s the real power of yellow……

 

 

Natural disasters and Print Yellow Pages

No one ever uses the print yellow pages.  Everything is available online so print is a waste.  I haven’t looked at a print directory in years.

Do these comments sound familiar?  They are the kinds of comments you will see from print naysayers all across the internet.  Those of us who work in the industry and see the incredible results it brings for SMB’s day in, day out, know these comments aren’t true.  So how can we prove the negative Nellie’s wrong?  It only takes one of those life events, better known as a natural disaster.

Below we are posting the entire blog from Amy Rybczynski of the DAC Group.  She goes through several recent natural disasters including the most recent event known to us as Hurricane Sandy, a storm so powerful that many people are still struggling with its aftermath months later.

What did Ann uncover?  Calls to tracked ads jumped dramatically after one of these weather events occur as people scramble to rebuild, replace, and reestablish their lives, businesses, and communities.  As is the case in many storms like Sandy, cell towers were wiped out, power was lost, and the internet is just a memory from the past.  The bold lettering in the article has been added to draw your attention to the power of Yellow Pages in tough times like these.  Good job Amy.

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Superstorm Sandy Drove Yellow Pages Usage
Amy Rybczynski – Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back in August I blogged about how our testing program for a waterproofing client gave us a clear view of the effectiveness of print Yellow Pages after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee hit the East Coast and mid-Atlantic region late in the summer of 2011.

Calls to the advertiser’s tracked lines went through the roof in the months that followed the storms, registering in 220% more calls in September 2011 than in the previous September, despite the fact that we were tracking 25% less lines. Call counts stayed higher than usual for the months that followed, gradually coming back to average levels early in 2012. Undoubtedly there was a lot of residual cleanup to do after the storms passed through, lasting months after the initial impact, and our call data reflects that. And while we don’t have any proof of this, it’s not a stretch to assume that some of the later callers were among those that had suffered losses and recovered, then decided to take preventative action on their newly restored properties.

In late October 2012, many of the same areas were hit with another major storm, this time Superstorm Sandy. I was interested to see how our testing would look this time around, given that the worst damage was once again within our client’s main market area. At first glance, the results weren’t nearly as obvious as they were after Irene, but the damage this time around was concentrated more in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, rather than being widespread across the advertiser’s entire market area.

However, when I dug down into regional data, it was apparent that the storm had an impact on call volumes to the advertiser’s test lines in the most affected areas. The rise began in late October, even before the storm hit, which could indicate that the advance warning of the storm provided by weather experts may have led to preventative maintenance calls. In fact, looking at data across all markets, calls started to rise on October 25th, four days before the storm hit, and remained high through November 8th.

In looking at individual regions, we can see that calls increased dramatically. In Maryland, there were twice as many calls per active test line in October than in September. The rate remained nearly steady for November as well. Calls for each month were just about double normal levels. New Jersey saw a similar jump, with double the calls and over 40% more calls per test line. Interestingly, New York didn’t see a rise until November, at which point they saw a 47% jump in calls and a 77% jump in calls per test line. The delay may be attributable to numerous power outages in the area and that it took a while for a lot of people to return to their homes. Based on what we saw in the aftermath of Irene, we can certainly assume that this jump in activity may continue well into December and beyond, as well.

The phone lines used in these tests were unique to print Yellow Pages directories, so we know that these calls were all the direct result of a print Yellow Pages reference. While we’re all well aware that our society is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, this call data shows that the print Yellow Pages are still very much in use, particularly when life events (or major superstorms) strike.

Amy Rybczynski, Marketing Research Analyst

 

10 Reasons Why The Yellow Pages Still Work (well)

Lest you think I was being supremely creative with this title, I have to give credit for the concept to Steve Averill who writes the OCBizblog blog which he claims is “…an award-winning (?) small business marketing blog boasting more than 5,000 followers most of whom are located in Orange County, California….” Boo-ya for him.  His most recent missive was 10 Reasons Why The Yellow Pages is the Drunk Uncle of Advertising.

Now normally I would chalk commentary like this up to someone who really doesn’t understand how small business advertising works and just move on.  But his comments were far too tempting to ignore.  So let’s have some fun and test his 10 Reasons to see how if maybe, just maybe he has things a little backwards:

1. He just shows up one day on your doorstep unannounced.  Yes, the print Yellow Pages is free, doesn’t require any power, any special connections, any technical expertise to operate, doesn’t attract spam email or viruses, and when the newest version arrives, the old version can be fully recycled.  Should I keep going on this one, as it isn’t even a fair fight?  I guess in Orange County they don’t get email spam or bogus text messages like those that I do now.  Steve:  you’re missing the excitement of all of the neat things inside that book.

2. He talks a big game.  True. By why?  Distributed free to every home and business, vs. at best 80% penetration of broadband in US (note: key word is “adoption”, not exclusive use of Internet and nothing else). For advertisers, Yellow Pages has an ROI for advertisers of at least 10 to 1 (CRM Associates research).  If 70+% of businesses in the print directory are at least renewing each year, but 50+% of online advertisers are churning year to year, which one really works better for SMB’s??  As our esteemed Vice President would say, yes, Yellow Pages is a big ___ deal.  Really big.

3. He’s always asking for money.  I’m a little puzzled with this one.  Is he suggesting that buying Google Adwords is free for advertisers?  How about getting that Internet connection to begin with?   The average household pays about $150 for a first time connection fee for broadband services and then monthly fees ranging from $50 to $130 depending on how much data you need/use.  And all of these hi-tech gizmo’s cost:  ____.  Fill in the blank based depending on which device(s) you get.  All I know is my cell bill, with my new iPhone hasn’t been under $100 a month since I got it..For users, it seems to me that it’s the other way around.

For advertises, they know right up front how much a print Yellow Pages ad is going to cost.  When they start spending money in the online world, they really don’t know how far they will need to go to bring in the level of business leads they need.

4. He’s completely unreliable.  Huumm.  Also not sure what the point is here.  Where does he think most of those listings you find on the Internet come from?  Perhaps if he looked at the Yellow Pages he would know.  And how do those listings get to a printed telephone book?  Each publisher reviews and scrubs them for accuracy.  Most books are then scanned/rekeyed to create those databases you encounter online.  So help me.  Define “unreliable”.

5. He’s old.  So’s my wife, but that doesn’t mean I have ditched her for the flavor dejour.  If he’s complaining that Yellow Pages has a 150 or so year track record working with a very diverse range of small/midsized businesses to help them bring more leads to their doors, well, go ahead and complain.  New is not always better.

6. He thinks it’s 1982 and yellow is a fashionable color.  Ok let’s compare: a Yellow Pages rep walks in the door of a local business and identifies that are from an established provider of local print and online Yellow Pages, a recognized product that businesses have been spending money in year in and year out.  The rep and publisher contribute to local community efforts like the  Little League, his kids probably babysit for some of the business owners kids, and the rep buys products because he lives in that same community as that small business.

The other option is a rep from XYZ Local Search Daily, who’s been in business for maybe 10 minutes, only sells products for which he can’t guarantee anything such as consistent first page Google results, has to explain an alphabet soup of acronyms so the business owner understands what he is buying, and in reality, has the same services that could be bought from the next guy through the door.  Which one do you think has a higher  trust level beginning their conversation??  I think Yellow is a beautiful color, combined with some black it is a powerful combination.

7. He thinks all the information he spews out is meaningful.  I have to agree with Mr. Averill on this one.  I don’t need a fencing company each year.  But I did need one last month.  Where did I look for local company?  In the print Yellow Pages.  I’ve never had a problem with my garage door opener.  Ever.  Until two weeks ago.  Where did I look for local company?  In the print Yellow Pages.   In the past two weeks, I haven’t used the print Yellow Pages.  Not once.  Tomorrow?   Not sure what the next need for a local product or service is going to look like.  And while that phonebook is sitting idely by for two weeks – it hasn’t used any power, attracted no viruses or spam, and is still ready to go a moments notice.

If there are upwards of 4000 potential headings in a print Yellow Pages, I’ll bet most people wouldn’t need more than a handful of them in a normal year.  But do you know when you’ll need the info in the other 3995 headings next??

8. He thinks television is technology.  From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey — 2010 Results:  Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.7 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over.  So if you watch TV is this guy implying I’m stupid?  Or I guess if I don’t have the latest hi-tech device I must be 90 years old.

9. He thinks shouting is advertising.  A print Yellow Pages has no audio button, so…??  However, I have visited a number of websites recently that feel compelled to blast me with a video the second I reach the site, a video I didn’t ask for, that I can’t stop until it runs fully, and with an audio level that seems to be at about 100 decibels.  I think that would classify as worse than shouting.

10. He’s a big fat waste of space.  At the recent Local Search Association conference (the Yellow Pages Association for you old timers like me), research showed that the results on the call tracking lines in the print Yellow Pages were up at least 20% year over year.  Seems like someone is using those books and turning those walking fingers into phone dialing so they can buy local products and services..

 

Sorry Uncle Yellow, but that’s the way it is.  Sorry, Steve Averill, you don’t get it.  There are more information sources these days, no argument there.  Heck, I sit in front of two compueters all day long.  But I’m not using those to shop locally.  Surf for info, a little social networking (but don’t tell my boss please), email (far too much of it), and a whole bunch of other things.  But not buying locally for a product or service I don’t know a lot about.

Steve, my friend,  there is still time for you to retrieve that book from the recycle bin (kudos for at least doing that).  Check it out. You will find some pretty amazing stuff, even things like coupons that can help you save money.  We understand your ignorance, but we won’t hold it against you….