Marketers to Rediscover Yellow Pages

One of the oldest forms of traditional marketing, the yellow pages, is emerging from a decade-​long slump. For the first time in nearly 10 years, industry operators are expecting a revenue increase.  Leading yellow page giants have been busy transforming themselves into online powerhouses and marketers who want to reach consumers will likely allocate part of their advertising budget to this media format.

A new report from Simba Information describes the recent history of the yellow page industry. Since 2003, revenues have shrunk by nearly 23%. To stem the slide in business, operators turned to online platforms.  The transition to the online format took a while but this channel now accounts for 17.2% of the industry and is growing over 10% annually.

Simba analysts David Goddard calls yellow pages the original search engine. Consumers turn to the printed directories 70% of the time and to online directories for 30% of their searches for business services. These directories have long played a key role for local businesses such as restaurants, physicians and auto repair shops. These 3 business types make up 22.3% of all print usage in the yellow page industry.

The focus on online has allowed industry operators to anticipate a 2.5% increase in 2013 when revenue will reach $12.1 billion. Key companies in this sector include AT&T, DexOne and SuperMedia.  When both print and digital yellow pages are considered, the yellow pages make up 7.6% of the media market, a figure that has not changed since 2000. Marketers should make sure that the new yellow pages are included in their future budget plans.

[Source: Yellow Pages Market Forecast 2011. Simbainformation​.com. 7 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 May 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.