Tag Archives: CRM Associates

Why print Yellow Pages STILL work…

A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday night, the USA Network had the network TV premier of “Skyfall”, the newest of the 23 James Bond movies.

skyfall

I am a BIG Bond film fan having been raised on films that took me to places I had never been, and featured a really dapper guy who was always in control, no matter what the danger was. As a teenager, I marveled at how he always seemed to know what to say, especially around the girls.

I can tell you this TV movie was a big event in our household that evening.

So why should my fascination with James Bond be important to you? Only because we watched that entire movie on network TV and never had to sit through a single commercial. Why — because we recorded it, and then zipped thru the commercials.

But I’m not unique. Research indicates that over 50% of television viewers always skip through the advertising using some type of DVR set-top box that permits time-shifting an event.

So was all that advertising around that movie wasted?? At least half of it was. Question is: do the advertisers who paid big money to be shown during that movie know which half?

I am often asked the same question about our print, online, and mobile Yellow Pages. The answer may surprise you.

I’ll give you a hint – it’s about something called “life-events” which create major shopping episodes involving things we usually have little experience with, but more often involving BIG $’s.

And no one fast forwards through these ads….

covers combo

Well, here’s the truth: Unlike the TV, the Internet, or even mobile devices, Yellow Pages are not necessarily used every day; it is not even used routinely. According to CRM Associates, about 90% of its usage is “episodic”, driven by those pesky life events and “out-of-the-ordinary” events in people’s lives.

These events create major shopping activity; involving things we consumers have little experience with (replacing a roof, finding an assisted living residence for an aging parent, replacing a water heater, finding dental specialist). These events tend to involve big $ expenses. CRM Associates says the typical average amount people spend when they use our print, online, or mobile Yellow Pages is about $730.

Most of the types of purchases that fit these activities are service-related. So it should be no surprise that 80% of Yellow Pages’ top headings are service related. The strength of Internet and mobile maybe on the retail side; but the strength of Yellow Pages is, and always has been, on the LOCAL service side.

For major service jobs, such as air conditioning, plumbing, roofing, health care, and even financial planning support, the ideal customer for these businesses is typically someone at least in their 40’s, most likely in their 50s, 60s, or even their 70s.

This demographic is critical to the success of most local service businesses – and will continue to be so for the next several decades. How do we know this? Consider:

  • Over 80% of the nation’s financial assets are held by households 50 and over.
  • 61% of the national’s discretionary income is made by those over 44, and this group accounts for almost two thirds of spending in Yellow Pages top heading categories.
  • The number of people in this age group will increase 40% over the next 10-15 years.
  • And, this group is set to inherit over $11 trillion from their parent’s generation

And surprise – these people are the heaviest users of print, online, and mobile Yellow Pages…..

People want and trust local service providers. And even with all of the technology available these days, consumers still see Yellow Pages as the most credible source for information about local service providers. These Yellow Page products:

  • Have never been hacked,
  • No one’s identity has ever been stolen,
  • They don’t fill your mail box with junk mail or direct mail flyers for things you don’t need at that time
  • No special Internet connection, power source, or technology is needed – just your fingers

Yellow Pages in print, online, and mobile formats are the ultimate local shopping resource.

Advertisements

ADP Launches “Power of Yellow” Campaign to Fight A “Virus of Misperception”

In a packed meeting room on Friday in Chicago, the Association of Publishers rolled out a new multi-phase effort entitled the Power of Yellow™ , to increase the factual understanding of advertisers, consumers, and the press about the continuing value of print Yellow Pages, and to immunize the industry against the “virus of misperception” that it believes it threatening the industry today.

The genesis of the campaign comes from a desire on the part by independent publishers to initiate a “Got Milk”-grass roots style of campaign for the Yellow Pages industry.  Larry Angove, President of ADP, indicated that earlier efforts to work with the former Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA) on a campaign were rebuffed.

This is the first coordinated industry marketing effort since the mid-90’s when the then named Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA), tried a light bulb and the tagline in the “Get an idea”

Unable to achieve any significant traction with the new branding (traction that could be verified through higher sales) the “Get an Idea” campaign was abandoned two years later.

This new, multi-faceted program general first-phase components are being provided to all ADP members at no cost, and include templated adds that can used in a range of media

  • Phased Media Releases
  • Television Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Print Media Ads
  • Newspaper Op-Ed Articles
  • Magazine Feature Articles
  • Directory Filler Ads
  • Sales Presentation Video
  • Coordinated Sales Collateral

Support for the effort also includes:

  • Placement Guidelines and Schedules
  • Offensive Talking Points
  • Defensive talking Points
  • Advertiser Testimonials
  • Data Source Documentation

A unique feature of this new program is the inclusion of four of the industry’s leading research experts to “star” in a series of 30-second television and 30-second radio spots proclaiming the Power of Yellow™ which publishers can then add their own product information to for local release.  Featured in the spots are:

  1. Dr. Dennis Fromholzer, President, CRM Associates
  2. David Goddard, EVP, IMS Local Search Authority
  3. Paul Gordon, Vice President & General Manager, Catalyst Paper USA
  4. Steve Sitton, President & CEO, Market Authority, Inc.

In presentations at the kickoff event, each of these industry experts noted key aspects of the factual arguments this effort will present:

Dr. Dennis Fromholzer:  “….the value of a lead from print yellow pages is 25X more valuable than a click to an online ad”

David Goddard:  “….people where saying print was dead 10 years ago.  We project the print/digital revenue mix will not reach 50/50 until 2018 at the earliest…”

Paul Gordon:  “…the reality is the industry isn’t knocking down trees solely to make paper for its products”

Steve Sitton:  “…print is not dying on schedule as many said it would.  Our research has found that the migration to digital is slowing.  That’s a very inconvenient truth”

At YP Talk, we have long advocated that the industry needs to begin to confront its many critics about print.  As far back as 2005, we made several calls to action (here, and here are just two examples).  As Goddard noted at the kickoff, if the Seattle and San Francisco opt-out ordinances had held up, they could have resulted in a $500+ million hit to the industry.   In June, we advocated that the industry reconsider the use of the iconic walking fingers in its local marketing efforts (June article here).  As a result, we are ecstatic to see this new initiative from ADP and will be supporting it fully as it rolls out.

As Sitton noted at the kickoff, it’s time to stop this “virus of misinformation”.  Amen.  But the industry needs your support.  Do we have it??

Why Marketers Shouldn’t Ignore Baby Boomers

Finally, someone else is saying what the Yellow Page has known for years — baby boomers are where marketers should be focusing their advertising dollars, and that then means Yellow Pages are the medium marketers should be using if they want to capture those boomer buyers as they are making a buying decision.

At the recent Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference, the well-known media and consumer research company said three key consumer groups are rapidly changing for marketers:

  • baby boomers,
  • moms,
  • lower income consumers.

But it is the baby boomers that really have the biggest prize — disposable income (aka money to spend). Beth Brady, Nielsen’s leader for marketing effectiveness, warned that if advertising dollars are funneled elsewhere: “….It’s a missed opportunity.”

Here are some of the numbers behind these comments:  Nielsen indicated that there are 100 million baby boomers — a number which will climb by a third in 2030. Most are growing out of the key 18-49 demographic into the 50+ number.  More importantly, they control $230 billion in sales or about half of the total for the entire U.S.  And they are not done yet — in five years, they will control 70% of disposable income.  Yet by and large, this key core demographic is ignored by marketers who seemed smitten want to reach 18 – 25-year-olds with far less disposable income and needs (as in they don’t have much money to spend).

So why should marketers then consider Yellow Pages to reach this core demographic group?  How about this list of key characteristics of heavy Yellow Page users from Dr. Dennis Fromholtzer of CRM Associates:

  •  Informed & smart shoppers
  •  Information gatherers
  •  Adventurous / enjoy taking risks / pursuing challenge, change, novelty
  •  Culturally sophisticated
  •  Fashion/style conscious
  •  Keep up with changes
  •  Like to stand out in a crowd
  •  Change brands for variety & novelty
  •  Outspoken
  •  Leaders
  •  Influencers – others come to them for advice

Shouldn’t this be the part of the market that businesses are clamoring for?  Then Yellow Pages is the most efficient way to reach it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…

 

 

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….

 

Seems Print Yellow Pages Aren’t Dead Yet

Sorry Bill Gates.  But, based on some recently released new research from AT&T about the usage of print directories, the print Yellow Pages are far from dead.

M/A/R/C Research interviewed more than 50,000 consumers across the country in 2010 and found:

  • 69% say they have used the AT&T Real Yellow Pages within the last year.
  • Use of AT&T’s premier online local search directory–YP.com—continues to grow. The survey results show 29% of adults in
    the survey use YP.com, up 17% from just a year earlier.
  • When combining both print and YP.com, 78% of those surveyed said they used at least one of the products within the past year compared to 77% a year earlier.

M/A/R/C Research has 46 years of marketing research experience so I’m not sure that paper atheists can claim (even if they will try) that the study data was fixed as it was validated by credible, third-party research.  In case some are concerned, the company interviewed more than 50,000 consumers at least 18 years old between January and December 2010 in 125 major markets (obviously within AT&T’s service areas) using statistically valid surveys meeting Advertising Research Foundation guidelines.

But that’s not all, as the AT&T release also refers to a CRM Associates’ just-released 2010 Metered Ad Study of 14,600 advertisers with the same-size ad and heading in 2009 and 2010.  This effort noted that calls increased from 5.7 million calls to 6.3 million – or a 10% increase across the entire set of ads. This increase follows a 3% increase in calls in 2009 compared to 2008. Sixty percent of individual advertisers experienced an increase in calls in 2010.  And no one wants or uses these books anymore??

The conclusion that print Yellow Pages are still a valuable tool for advertisers and consumers is one which will likely startle internet insiders/purists and opt-in proponents.  Even industry analyst Greg Sterling notes on his blog, that the print numbers were much healthier than many believe. 

I’m not so sure the results surprised industry insiders as much.  As Ken Ray, chief marketing officer of AT&T Advertising Solutions commented in the release “these findings confirm the continued relevancy of print directories, and especially AT&T’s directories,”.  He continued, “…we are definitely seeing a transition in local search from print to multimedia sources. But print remains one of the most effective and foundational elements of that multimedia mix.”

A third confirming piece of research was also mentioned by Ray, covering more than 20,000 unique metered phone numbers (where the number only appears in print ads) which generated an average of 18 calls per month to a diverse, wide range of advertisers. Those print Yellow Pages ads with unique URLs which allow tracking are also averaging a half dozen online look ups each month. So clearly, consumers are using print and Internet sources together.

Print Yellow Pages are not dead yet, and will not be for a very long time.  They remain the most effective directional media available in what should be a multimedia advertising mix for small and midsized businesses.