Truth Gaining Traction

By Larry Angove

Dennis Fromholzer has had it right for a long time.

Now, at long last, his prescient recognition that it is “life events” that drive Yellow Pages usage and, in turn, provide reliable return-on-investment for advertisers is gaining traction among industry insiders and observers.

I have taken several of Dennis’ white papers home for some “light” evening reading over the past few weeks and have come to a conclusion that I believe is worthy of emphatic sharing.

My conclusion is that a discussion of how episodic life events drive Yellow Pages usage and advertiser ROI must be a leading component of every Yellow Pages sales call. Unless and until we help everyone we call upon understand how the Yellow Pages “work”, the virus of misperception that currently plagues our industry will persist.

After your salespeople have successfully conveyed this concept to their clients, I believe it logically leads into a discussion of who uses the Yellow Pages the most – the 50-year old plus crowd that hold three-quarters of America’s wealth and half of the nation’s spendable income.

The general rule for any business is “to follow the money”. It’s the Baby Boomer generation that is experiencing the majority of significant life events. They are the ones who comprise the largest demographic of home ownership. They are the ones who are retiring and relocating. They are the ones buying second homes. They are the ones making major home improvements. They are the ones paying for their children’s’ weddings. They are the ones moving loved ones into care facilities. They are the ones making financial investments. They are the ones regularly buying or leasing cars and trucks. They are the ones with the most furnaces to repair, the most lawns to be landscaped, and the most driveways to be sealed. The list is virtually endless. They are also the ones about to inherit some $11.6 trillion. They are most Yellow Pages advertisers’ “sweet spot”. It’s a picture your salespeople must paint vividly.

Clearly, an understanding of the connection between life events and the 50-plus crowd by advertisers should be a powerful motivator for any business owner. The strongest users of Yellow Pages, who also have the most money to spend, are their low-hanging fruit. Tell them. Help them understand. And remember – they want your guidance and advice. Tell them the truth with conviction!

Once you and the advertiser share this common consumer demographic target, you must then help your client understand that three out of every four adult Americans used the Yellow Pages in 2011. That usage of print Yellow Pages has increased for three consecutive years, including a whopping 18% in 2011. That the average ROI for print display ads last year was 14.2 to 1. That Yellow Pages have an extremely low cost of customer acquisition. That Yellow Pages have a much higher, by double-digit multiples, conversion rate from contact to sale than online advertising. That Yellow Pages’ cost per lead can compete with any media and beat most. And that 9 out of 10 Yellow Pages users end up making a purchase.

Once you and the advertiser are together again in a common understanding of the facts, help them develop compelling ad content that trumpets what the advertiser will do to meet the consumers’ desires and needs.

I hold these truths to be self-evident. Unfortunately, too many have swallowed the Kool-Aid of the bloggers, the self-servers, and, yes, the liars. Let’s keep telling the truth until the needle moves toward veracity and in our favor. Our commitment to the facts must be unrelenting!