What Do You Know about Yellow Journalism?

Jeffrey Hauser

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No, it’s not the historical battle between two New York newspapers in the late 1800’s to see who could dig up the biggest scandal to sell papers. It’s the world of directory publishing you know as the Yellow Pages. Yet ironically, it’s been around as long, if not longer. But it’s gone through many changes in the past century. For instance, it’s in full-color and printed on white paper with yellow ink, to give the appearance of yellow paper. It also has an Internet counterpart for every book printed. It’s also available as a CD or DVD in many areas. No, it’s not your father’s Yellow Pages anymore.

If you are reading this and an advertiser, it would behoove you to learn as much as you can about this media. You are investing your profits into a marketing campaign in an attempt to bring in customers. But what do you know about your ads? Let’s take a test. Can you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  1. Do you know what the average customer is worth, within your industry?
  2. Do you know the percent of profit you should spend on YP advertising?
  3. Do you know what part of your ad is the most effective?
  4. Do you know what part of your ad is least effective?
  5. Have you recently looked at all your competitor’s ads?

If you even said “yes” to any of these, I am proud of you. If not, you’re pretty typical as far as being a not-so-savvy marketeer. But, then again, that’s probably not your expertise. And it shouldn’t be. You have a business to run. How can you keep up with promotional trends and such? But you ought to know how your money is being used and whether it’s working hard for you to bring in potential customers.

So, you have a choice. You can hire a YP consultant or pick the local YP rep’s brain. The first may be costly and the second may not work. That’s because they have little time to spend on just your account and they are paid by the publisher. Therefore, they may not be as unbiased as you might think. So they will recommend (a) what makes them a nice commission, and (b) what the publisher wants to sell you, this time round.

Instead consider something else. Educate yourself by reading about the industry and what it takes to create a successful YP campaign. There are a few good books available, but you might want to start with “Inside the Yellow Pages” for a solid overview of what you’ll need. It’s a small investment in your business future and might save you a lot of time and money.

Jeffrey Hauser’s latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages, ” which can be viewed at http://www.poweradbook.com

He was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. Currently, he is the Marketing Director for thenurseschoice.com, a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.


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