Patently Obvious and 20 Years Too Late Award

Here's an email subject line that's just plain asking to be made fun of:

Study reveals generating customers is the biggest marketing challenge for small businesses.

Wow! Imagine my excitement. Who would have guessed? And here we all thought the biggest marketing challenge was tethering the balloons in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

And that email, with that painfully obvious study discovery, came from none other than the Yellow Page Association of America (YPA).

OK, quickly now: when was the last time you looked something up in the Yellow Pages?

For those of you who might not remember the Yellow Pages, it was a big book of very thin pages listing local businesses by type, alphabetically. In other words, a slow, heavy, and hard to use precursor of the quick Google or Yahoo! search that you now do on your phone as well as your laptop and desktop computers.

Gee, do you think maybe the Yellow Pages Association has an ulterior motive? Here's more:

The study also found that an overwhelming majority (62%) of small business owners do not use outside support for their marketing efforts, indicating that many may not be aware of the ample resources available at little or no charge (please see news release …).

In times like these when every dollar spent must be justified, YPA members, who have their fingers on the pulse of issues affecting small businesses, can provide free professional opinions to those looking to make smart marketing decisions.

Maybe I'm being unfair here.  But I don't like unsolicited emails. Don't tell me the Yellow Page Association has fingers on the pulse of anything. What you ought to be telling me is how the people who used to sell Yellow Page ads are now helping people get listed in Yahoo! searches and Google Maps and the other things which have replaced them.

Oh, and yeah, maybe they should change that association name too.


  • Teajai Kimsey says:

    Wow, what a groundbreaking study! Maybe I should stop throwing every phone book I receive (3 per year) in the trash. Wouldn't it be great if we could figure out a way to tell them we don't want their books?

  • Tara Jacobsen says:

    The problem I have with it is EXTREME waste of resources. We (2 people) get at least 4 versions of 3 different yellow page type books. First off, I would not be willing to store the 2 feet of paper in my house. Second off, I am contributing to the landfill without any choice – they drop these books off at my door without asking me if I want them.

  • kenc says:

    used the book just this week to find a local window replacement company. After 15 minutes of clicking around, I found what I needed in the print Yellow Pages and was talking with companies in less than 5 minutes. The Internet is not the solution to all of humanities needs. It's fun to "browse" with, but when I'm "buying" I'm going to the book just as much as any of the online providers.

  • Kendall says:

    This really made me laugh, Tim, thanks for making my day. Perhaps all their marketing for "Yellow Pages Association" should be changed to "" announces that…

    Incidentally, I honestly cannot recall the last time I looked in the book, although my new one has been sitting on the front porch for several weeks now in a little bag…which being covered by snow today here in Bellevue.

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