It’s that time of year when the new year’s Yellow Pages is released. Pulling my mere ¼ inch thick Sun Prairie/DeForest Guide, two things came quickly to mind. First: gone are the days when you could use the thickly bound book as a booster seat for your youngster. The current version is stapled like a church bulletin and with 4 columns of names and numbers per page, I am certain you will need your readers. I did. Second: how far and fast the digital world came in and swept advertising as we once knew it.
Sure, the advertising tool has a rich history. The name and concept of “yellow pages” dates back to 1883, when a printer in Cheyenne, WY, was working on a telephone directory and ran out of white paper so he used yellow instead. Three years later, Reuben Donnelley came out with the first official Yellow Pages which generated revenue through sales of advertising slots in the book. For a generation before google became part of our vocabulary, the phonebook was a right of passage and a means of surviving the day-to-day. Need a plumber — quick, turn to the phone book!
These days we find numbers more swiftly through “search” and while the original Yellow Pages ended its print version in 2019, the few remaining versions like The Real Yellow Pages that coins itself as “the original search engine” are in the the process of becoming full-service digital marketing agencies, in an effort to remain significant and deliver revenue through digital ad placements.
My point here is: what happened, why isn’t this part of the American lexicon surviving the transition to digital marketing? I contend, as do other analysts and ad execs, that most directories and yellow page companies didn’t fully see digital coming fast enough. Amara’s Law states: We tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short run and underestimate the effect of it in the long run. With our history as a company embedded in airwaves, DMW has always invested in technology and stayed a bit above the trends as it took over the broadcast industry. Have you streamed Discover Wisconsin+ lately on your mobile or connected TV device? Have you subscribed to Boondock Nation’s YouTube channel yet to receive exclusive, timely content? I assure you, do this now and you will see fresh snow in an episode we assembled from a shoot that took place just this week out west. Now that’s fresh!
The strength in being an early adapter to digital alternatives compared to traditional tactics (like phonebooks or broadcast), was not simply the fact that they were digital and therefore different. The power rested in the way that digital transformed the user experience and the way consumers interact with their advertising. The bottom line is YP companies missed the mark in transforming their user experience while digital took the advertising economy by storm. The cost of overhauling an age old business model is also a roadblock for many companies besides directors. Developing proprietary solutions in-house is labor and cost intensive. Many vendor integrations are also complex and expensive, and detract from your core business needs. We at DMW have created digital solutions for our own TV/Streaming brands. We are a technology and people led company which then offers our expertise and experience to your company. We are tried and true, and are here for you to help with your current and future marketing needs. It’s simple. Digital is no longer a choice. It’s a necessity. Let your fingers do the walking…across a screen or keyboard, on a tablet or smartphone.
Rick Rose, Business Development Director
P.S. Going digital also serves your community. According to the Sierra Club, 16 million phone books were available in San Francisco in 2011, the year the city passed legislation to restrict distribution. These yellow pages produced 3,600 tons of waste, $1 million in disposal costs and 6,180 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Our brand Into the Outdoors would love for you to email me at rickr@discovermediaworks to see how you can make a difference in your marketing for 2022. And see, you didn’t even need a directory to find my email.