If fewer fingers do the walking, owners must get them clicking

The phone book, once the go-to advertising vehicle, is joining other obsolete items such as 8-tracks and daisy-wheel printers.

A press release (shown below) from Ron Sachs Communications/Mason-Dixon explains the details, but what it doesn’t say how vitally important it is for small business owners to have alternatives to the phone book in place. The lack of interest in phone books cannot be deemed general lack of interest by the public. But rather, business owners need to have stronger presences in other media, especially those online. A well-developed, keyword-rich website and social media exposure are critical.

As a small business marketing consultant, I have spoken to small business owners who consider the apparent death of one medium reason to stop advertising and marketing completely. Nothing could be worse. Choosing new media platforms on which to share a company’s message is necessary to keep market share.

Bigger Pie Strategies can help.

Here is the press release from Ron Sachs Communications/Mason-Dixon:

In a stunning new Ron Sachs Communications/Mason-Dixon national poll, more than 60 percent of Americans identify the phone book as an increasingly irrelevant source for finding local telephone numbers.  Although the poll found seniors among the most likely to use the phone book, its future looks bleak as its obsolescence increases among younger Americans.

“The phone book is on life support and local businesses should expect its death to officially occur some time in the next few years,” said Ron Sachs, President of Ron Sachs Communications. “Americans are finding the Internet and their cell phones as a more convenient and reliable source for phone numbers over the phone book at a staggering rate, and as a result, phone book advertising is nearly akin to advertising over the telegraph.”

According to estimates, American businesses spent $13 billion on phone book advertising in 2009 – more than all of the combined ad sales in the magazine industry.  The poll found more than 51 percent of respondents report the phone book has no influence on their purchasing decisions.

From December 8 through December 14, 1,100 adults were surveyed as part of the Ron Sachs Communications/Mason Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. poll.  The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

Among the polls key findings:

Ø  3 out of every 4 Americans rely on Internet and cell phones for finding telephone numbers over the phone book.

Ø  Only 3 percent of Americans report they have used the phone book in the last week

Ø  Nearly 8 out of 10 people 18-29 years old have no use for the phone book.

Ø  Nearly one quarter of Americans discard their phone books immediately with one third of Americans under the age of 45 reporting they immediately throw away their phone books when delivered to their door.

Ø  Nearly half of all respondents expect to use their phone book either much less or not at all in 5 years.

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