Does anyone still use the paper Yellow Pages?

I have been watching where and how I receive advertisements over the last several months. If you really pay attention, you will see ads everywhere! I mean everywhere! Last week I was in a Starbucks restroom and there was an ad on the toilet and toilet roll dispenser for I had met Ryan "Hup" Hupfer, one of the founders of Indymojo, in December during the Indy Masters of Business Online seminar, and thought he would get a kick to know his marketing material is showing up in the rest room.... Turns out he was in the Starbucks and said he was the one who put the Indymojo stickers in the restroom "Old habits die hard." No place is sacred.

Which leads me to the Yellow Pages. This is an icon of marketing and advertising, starting in 1883. Most people still think of the Yellow Pages as a paper thing. It still is printed and delivered to almost everyone (it seems to come to our house a lot!).

So here I am listening to a Yellow Pages sales rep talk (yes, a real person) to perspective ad buyer about buying space in this thick book. And going through my mind is "does anyone still use the Yellow Pages?". Our phone books at home sit in a drawer that, on occasion, get pulled out to look up the phone number of a mower repair shop. So I have used it. But it is so not the internet; it's paper! Thin cheap paper at that. And to search it requires page flipping. And the ads in the book are low tech in terms of color options that can be printed.

It is true that the data in the print edition is also on the web version. As I listen to the sales pitch, the Yellow Pages will offer, for a price, the ability to get your ad on the web via their site. "On the inetrnet, we will give yo a full page for your ad." shows even their digital sales model is physical based on print paper.

And the delivery model is time bound; Yellow Page books are only printed once a year; miss the window and you have to wait 12 months; I can imagine the sales push those last few months before the to print dead line.

Another interesting aspect of the Yellow Pages is they sell "by the inch". The more physical space you want the more dollars to spend.

What about the tracking and metrics? Do you ever say "I found your number in the Yellow Pages" when you actually do and then call a business? And would the business really track this; no human code (software for people) for "called from Yellow Pages".

So why would a business use the Yellow Pages? What are the aspects of this that make the marketing spend worth it? I have no answer; Post your thoughts!

Side note: it is these types of things that are ripe for a business model disruption. We take for granted the Yellow Pages, it is just "there". It is boring, normal, not exciting, dull. This is where a great design and delivery of something new would catch people's eye!

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MicroTrends and trend spotting

This is one of those books I got via I listened to the whole book and a few items I found interesting. However, it is one of those books that repeats the formula of identifying a target trend and produces a bunch of statistics with stories that sometimes require deeper absorption. The repeating of the formula made some of the sections drone on a bit too much for me. Fortunately I was driving or running and could tune in or out as needed.

This is where the physical book comes in handy (the handy local public library helps ere!). With the book you can quickly scan/re-scan the stats on some area of interest.

This book is quickly becoming dated because many of the trends in the books are moving forward or passing away (there is a whole section on home buying pre-sub prime loan collapse...). However, I think the best value this book shows that one can learn about trends and understand how they can be used to modify their products, life style, or investments.

Update, I forgot to add, look at Springwise's newsletter of global trend spotters. This extends your ability to spot trends by tapping others spotting!

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