Is it time to kill the phone book / yellow pages?

If you’re like me, you hate waste. I hate wasting food, time, money and natural resources.

To me, the yellow pages is a huge waste of natural resources, and for those who advertise in it, I believe it’s a waste of marketing dollars.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

phone book on vacant lot

It’s time to kill the phone book.

On Hawaii Island, there are approximately 10,000 households and business addresses. If we count one phone book per home and two per business, we’re looking at least 12,000 phone books distributed, the vast majority of them unused. At 335 pages, we’re looking at over 4,000,000 pages of junk dropped off at our doorsteps, left at the bottom of our driveways and placed in our businesses a year every year.

Here are my main reasons why it’s time to stop unsolicited phone book delivery:

  1. Nobody uses them! A highly informal and unscientific poll of Kona Impact clients and employees shows that exactly 0% of respondents have used the yellow pages in the past year. I think the last time I used one was about five years ago.
  2. Ineffective use of marketing dollars. As a small business owner, I want to get the best return on my marketing dollars. Kona Impact advertised in the yellow pages one year and spent several thousand dollars. I can honestly say that I could attribute zero calls to the ads. If I spent the equivalent on online marketing, I would expect (and most certainly get) at least five hundred inquiries and probably a few hundred new clients over a year. I often talk with clients about marketing options, and without exception, all who have advertised in the phone directories have a similar experience: spending several thousand dollars and getting virtually no tangible results.
  3. Environmental waste. There are three directories for our island, and each directory puts at least one or two books at the bottom of my driveway and gives my business two books. Doing the math, we can estimate that 12,000,000 or so pages of printed material is shipped to our island, with the majority of it ending our limited landfills. I have seen hundreds of phone books dumped by mailboxes at condo complexes and left there for months. I can only believe that these eventually end up in our landfills. Here is a picture of my neighborhood that shows four phone books that sat next to the homeowners’ mailboxes for three days! They didn’t even bother to take them in with the mail!
  4. phonebook-anyoneTechnology will continue to make them less and less relevant. When I need a phone number, I usually just talk into my phone and say, “phone number for Bianelli’s” Google search, by voice or by keyboard, almost never fails when I need to find a business’s phone number quickly. This will only continue. The phone book is a dying industry with no hope for survival.

I started this blog by saying how much I hate to waste anything. This is certainly true. I also work in marketing, so I want to offer the most cost-effective solutions to my clients as possible. Believe me, if phone book advertising worked, I’d recommend it with vigor. Given, however, that it doesn’t work, it’s a waste of environmental resources, and they are unused, it’s time to recognize this anachronistic publication and give it a good burial. Thanks, so long, goodbye!

Kona Impact | 329-6077