Are the Yellow Pages Killing the Yellow Pages?

YellowPagesAre the Yellow Pages Headed For A Slow Death?

A friend of mine who works for an air conditioning and heating sales and repair business stopped by the other day.  The subject some how turned to how much money the firm she works for spends on Google advertising. In addition to online advertising, her firm still advertises in the traditional Yellow Pages , although not as heavily as they once did.

My teenage son inquired, “What are yellow pages?”

That was really no surprise, since he and his brother grew up with a smart phone, computer or tablet within easy reach. I’m sure my youngest son had never opened a Yellow Pages book in his life.

I have to admit, I haven’t referred to a printed Yellow Pages book in at least 8 years.  And I’m over 60.

I had just received my copy of the Yellow Pages a week before, so I pulled it out of the recycle bin to show it to my son. “This is what we used before the Internet,” I said.

That led the conversation to just exactly who is using the printed Yellow Pages.  My friend suggested that most of their Yellow Page leads come from senior adults.   Most of the data I have seen recently seems to confirm that.

But as I looked over the Yellow Pages book, something struck me as strange.

All the type for the listings is in very fine print — something like 6 point  type.  If the Yellow Pages base audience is indeed people over 50,  printing the book in small type is a major marketing blunder .

Anyone who has sat in a Marketing 101 Class knows that you use at least 12 point type (preferably 14 point)  when communicating with senior adults. As people age, their eyesight is not as great as when they were 18.

Advertising Rule #1  should be:  Never make it difficult for your potential customers to do business with you.

I suspect (although I can’t be for sure) that Yellow Page publishers are printing their books in smaller type to save money.  Smaller type = less paper and that = savings on printing.

Some “bean counter” who has nothing to do with marketing probably made that decision.

If Yellow Page publishers want to “save” their product, they should be doing everything possible to make it easy to use — not making it more difficult.

Printing the Yellow Pages in a type that is difficult for their major audience to use is just an early death sentence for a marketing piece that may have already lived too long.