Recently, I’ve had some Yellow Page directories drop onto my driveway in a plastic bag. Years ago, I used to look forward to seeing these and checking out what my competitors were doing. Now, the book goes immediately into the recycle container.
Yellow Pages, which started as literally, the yellow pages in the back of the phone book, used to be a key form of advertising. You had to be there. Now the book amazingly continues to be printed in a variety of small formats.
The display ads are primarily bail bonds companies, plumbers, along with criminal and ambulance chaser attorneys.
I haven’t used a Yellow Page book for years, but their arrival made me think about an old friend who was a top sales rep for the phone book company, the Pacific Bell Yellow Pages in California. It was surprising to me that many years ago he decided to quit this lucrative job to do missions work.
I’ve not seen or connected with him for quite some time, but by random chance we ran into him and his wife in Kona, Hawaii while we were on vacation recently. It seems that after he left his job in California they became involved with YWAM, an organization whose main base is located in Kona. They are now back in the business world in the mid-west but are still connected with YWAM and were in Hawaii for our chance meeting.
He explained that because of the success he had as the #2 Yellow Pages sales rep in all of California, he was able to take the money and go do the missions work they had a heart for. I’m sure that at the time he couldn’t dream that the lucrative job he had selling Yellow Page ads would ultimately change radically.
This made me reflect on the marketing we do in our businesses today. How do you reach new clients in today’s internet, social media driven marketplace? Your input is welcomed.
Some things that worked in the past for my business are still effective today. I’ve always felt that it is best to not just tell someone what you do, but to you show them what you do. In our industry, we have a tremendous opportunity to showcase the power of our marketing medium and can take advantage of cost effective self promos.
We won a PPAI Pyramid Award and the ASI Spirit Award for a creative marketing “package” developed years ago. We have presented our business-building branding message by distributing screwdrivers imprinted with the phrase, "Let Us Fill Your Marketing Toolbox," stress hammers, business building blocks to success and measuring tapes/levels with imprints asking, "Business Measuring Up? Let Us Take You to a New Level!" We also have included t-shirts compressed into hammer shapes. In our full “package” all these branded products were included in a cardboard box printed with toolbox graphics supporting our company's "Marketing Toolbox" branding.
Everyone should have their own marketing “package”. It doesn’t need to be expensive to make a powerful statement and provide a high-impact way for your company to stand out from the crowd. When you meet a prospect, let them know you want to send them a “package” (This is a good connection point). Follow up to make sure they received it (repeated connection). When you provide a quote, send a package along to illustrate why you are a good choice to do business with (yet another connection point). A well done package should impress them. Chances are your competition doesn't do this, giving you a competitive advantage.
Through the years, we have seen the impact our “package” has had earning us the business. We’ve learned that just sending a quote without our innovative presentation takes a key business-building tool out of our hands.
While the Yellow Pages may be obsolete as a marketing tool, there are timeless ways to reach prospects. I’m glad that my friend prospered selling Yellow Page ads, but back then and today; you don’t need to spend a fortune to distinguish your business brand from competitors. In today’s fast paced Internet world, utilizing our own medium, packaged creatively makes sense. Consider what your business brand is and build on it.
© 2013 Jeff Solomon, MAS