April 11, 2012

I’ve always questioned the value of making a major investment in Yellow Pages advertising for many small businesses. Yellow Pages ads don’t “create need,” they only “fulfill need,” and now they don’t even do a good job of that. Not according to Yellow Pages owner AT&T who recently sold the majority stake in its Yellow Pages business to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital for $950 million. Revenue from the Yellow Pages unit had declined 30% in two years. The use of smartphones had grown during the same period to 35% of the cell phone market. Statistics can lie, but not in this case.

The company that introduced the iPhone, sells millions of android phones, and this month introduced the best new Windows-based  phone, clearly sees their future. Smartphones are expected to grow to 80% of the cell phone market within the next 24 months. Yellow Pages, at best, is becoming a niche product aimed at the few consumers that still find comfort in letting their “fingers do the walking.” Hats off to AT&T for embracing one of the core philosophies in my marketing book: Don’t let your customers reach the future before you do.

This week make it a priority to review your investment in Yellow Pages advertising, as well as your website’s smartphone accessibility. Have you got a mobile enhanced site?

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