Death of the Phone Book

Going the way of the old rotary phone, the phone book is dying a very expensive death, at least for those advertisers still buying ads in the Yellow Pages. Market research shows a massive reduction in the use of phone books (other than leveling a wobbly table). How big of a reduction? Over 50% of adult consumers don’t use a phone book (most children under the age of 18 have NEVER used one). Entrepreneur magazine is quoted as saying “A big, fat Yellow Pages landed in my driveway the other day with an audible whomp. I promptly picked it up and deposited it into the recycling bin with a second whomp. Harsh, right? But when I’m searching for something local–be it a snow shovel or a cinnamon roll–the last thing I’d do is flip through the phone book”.

And what’s worse is listing in the online Yellow Pages is very little help as customers no longer want to see static ads, they want something interactive. The customers have a voice, and they want to voice their opinion and rate your company! They want an easy way to share their experience with friends and family (good or bad).

Forbes magazine is quoted as saying “In fact, so many people have seen the uselessness of print phone books that has started a campaign called “Ban the Phonebook”, promoting the idea of an “opt-in” phone book delivery program which would allow consumers to receive white pages only if they so desire. The site claims that 5 million trees are cut down each year to make phone books and that only 22 percent of those phone books are properly recycled.

Here’s the other issue with the phonebook. I look up your ad, and it doesn’t tell me anything other than how to contact you and what organizations you belong to. It doesn’t give me customer reviews or a way to interact with you or your company.

But here’s your biggest hurdle. When I open the phonebook, I’m forced to trust everyone equally. Just because you have a nice full page color ad doesn’t mean you’re right for the job. Be sure to check out our article on social media marketing.