Media has been around since the first sign placed above a Roman shop found in the ruins of Pompeii. Each method of delivering a message has served to inform the public as to a product of service available in the community. But they are individual and unique by nature. Understanding what makes them different is the key to recognizing the power of the Yellow Pages and it’s place among them. I should know. I was a Yellow Page consultant for 25 years and ran an ad agency, so I know all media. Here’s what I learned and can pass on to you.
Most people place the directory along with flyers, newspaper, and magazine advertising. They may even think of it as just another media like television and radio. But nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually closer to a Google search than anything else. But that’s now. Back in my days of selling, before the Internet, it wasn’t like anything else available. Why? Because is was and still is the only place where people go when they have a need. And it’s true today as well.
We’ll pretend your Internet is down or not working. You wake up and you car engine is dead. Where would you go to find a mobile auto repair shop or a towing company? Would you wait for a flyer at your doorstep, watch television hoping to spot a commercial or grab the newspaper? Do any of those other options even make sense?
Of course you are thinking that the Internet would be the fast approach. And that’s true if you do a local search and get more than just a list of towing facilities. But the printed Yellow Page book does much more. It puts the larger ads with information right up front. There you can see a full page of facts and data to help you decide. Many will have basic information regarding credit cards, areas serviced or other useful facts. Often times the Internet only shows a location or phone number. If you are choosing a plumber, there are typically dozens of full-page ads to aid you along with coupons and other information you seek.
And there is one more advantage to the printed book, besides it’s ease of use; the fact you can write directly on the ad, jotting down information. People do it all the time. They call the company for rates and write the info directly on the ad for future reference. How convenient. Try doing that on the Internet. So, where is this leading us? Hopefully, to that moment where you realize the power of the Yellow Page book. That amazing fact that is inescapable. And here it is:
It’s where people go when they want something. It’s the only media that waits silently and patiently to be used. All other media flashes us with ads and specials to invite us to call. But, when the consumer has a need for a product or service, they can always turn to the Yellow Pages. Far after the newspaper or magazine is tossed, the television or radio ad is turned off, and even word-of-mouth is forgotten. When they require a phone number or address, the Yellow pages will never fail to deliver. It works without electricity or special equipment. It can go in the car, briefcase or to work. An ad can be torn out and saved or used for directions. And it makes a wonderful fire when rolled up and thrown into a fireplace in an emergency. Okay, maybe that’s stretching it, but it’s a wonderful tool, nevertheless. And that’s why it’s unique in the advertising world.