Tag Archives: life events

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.

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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