After 50 years, as of January 2019, the Yellow Pages is no longer being printed.
Not that we didn’t all see it coming in this digital age, but it does seem really significant. If you draw no other lesson from it, it’s that you need to move with the times. After all, dinosaurs do become extinct for a reason!
I often joke that when I started in business back in 1988, all you needed in your marketing toolkit was …
- A business card
- A brochure (but only if you were posh)
- Membership to the Chamber (there was no other networking)
- A sales letter
- An ad in the local rag
- And an Ad in the Yellow Pages
Truly, life was a LOT simpler then!
Which is both good and bad. I remember being SO fed up and unhappy after the first few months working on my own as it was SO hard to connect with anyone. The phone just didn’t ring. No mobiles. No email. No social media. It was a very isolating experience. Incredibly tough to find new customers. And it was a recession.
I really earned my ‘small business’ stripes back then and it really made me properly focus on my market, my message and the media available to me. It became the reason I specialised in regular newsletters as it brought me the Holy Grail of valuable regular repeat business.
The Yellow Pages was HUGE in those days. And I mean HUGE! Several volumes in fact. Not being in the YP could spell disaster and people had highly complex ad strategies using featured ads, images, ‘white ads’ – anything to stand out in a sea of ‘one liner’ directory entries.
And in that respect, the principles of marketing haven’t changed. Standing out. Being noticed. Making it easier for potential customers to find you.
Yes, it’s much harder to be isolated now – but MASSIVELY easier to be overwhelmed with marketing options. The array of opportunities to share your story is VAST which can lead to a ‘scattergun’ approach. Trying a little bit of everything – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Networking, SEO, exhibitions, email, PR, direct mail – yet mastering none.
In my experience, most businesses need to focus on 3 or 4 key routes to market. The Yellow Pages may not be on your media list any more but your job is to define your TOP marketing channels – get those properly nailed and only then explore others.
Remember, it’s all about focus, focus, FOCUS.
And if you are one of those people who a) recognises that ‘scattergun’ approach or b) knows they ain’t gonna get focussed without some help, you really DO need to book in for one of my ButtKicker Marketing Focus Calls. It does what it says on the can! Click the link here>>