Having helped people buy yellow page advertising from 1981 till 2000, I feel like I have gotten to know the people who spend money on directory advertising very well. Most people who I dealt with in yellow pages hated to deal with the phone company and their representatives. This does not mean everyone I called on did, just most of the people who would see me or take my calls did. They saw the yellow pages as a necessary evil. Many of my current web customers are happy to see Google, Yahoo and MSN taking over the yellow pages dollar. Many of our current customers are or were Southwestern Bell, (AT&T) customers.
The yellow pages helped many businesses grow through the years. The return on investment (ROI) was very low, because the cost was so high. I might add these generalizations are not fair as some businesses had and have a great ROI still to this day. In the yellow pages hey day, 300 million dollars a year was being spent in and around Houston, Texas on yellow pages advertising. I do not know the figures from the last 6 years but would like to if anyone reading knows. I have heard the figure that over a billion dollars is spent in yellow pages advertising in Texas every year. I would love an exact figure on that, too.
I also saw the unfair way in which Southwestern Bell (AT&T) handled their customers. Many people bought yellow pages based on the fact that they charged by the column inch. And sometimes they did, but more often than not competitors on the same page with ads the same sizes would be paying different amounts. In my last presentation manual from yellow pages I kept examples of how they would charge. It would really disappoint the business who was buying the yellow pages when I would show them others who were buying advertising just as large and effective but paying less.
The ultimate card was the supervisor’s override which could discount yellow pages up to 75% off list price. If you could get a supervisor’s override you won big. If you get one this year you win big. If you contact Directory One and get a SEO (search engine optimization) package it would be a big win too.