Great presentation by Charles Laughlin today at the Kelsey Group conference. He presented the various perception issues that are currently plaguing the directory publishing industry and exposed the reality based on various data points.
Perception 1: the Yellow Pages medium is already dead, the corpse just does not know it yet. Reality: as Yellow Pages transitions from single to multi-product, some will survive, some will not.
Perception 2: today, only luddites use the printed Yellow Pages. Reality: they do but other uses it too, but not as frequently as they once did.
Perception 3: Yellow Pages is way too expensive. Reality: the ROI on Yellow Pages remains very high vs. other media.
Perception 4: advertisers are better off dropping all print Yellow Pages in favor of more online ads, SEM, SEO. Reality: depending on heading, it would be difficult to replace print Yellow Pages leads with any one source.
Perception 5: Yellow Pages is the media equivalent of a smoke-belching coal fired power plant. Reality: title inflation has fueled this perception but Yellow Pages’ landfill contribution is still smaller than newspapers, diapers and magazines.
Update: Perry Evans (CEO of [praized subtype=”small” pid=”2b09598567e5ee9f95e9135ca5e4459d2f” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”]) has a survey on his blog related to this topic.