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What the Demise of the Printed Phonebook Means to Your Business

Many technical innovations come out of San Francisco, but today may mark a different type of technological milestone. San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee, today signed a law banning the unsolicited distribution of Yellow Pages in the city of San Francisco. While this seems to be the first actual law in the U.S. regarding unwanted phonebook distribution, there have been many grassroots movements in communities around the country requesting that local governments limit the number of phone books that are produced and distributed, including one in nearby Brookline, MA.

In short, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the printed phone book. At the very least phone books are moving from the realm of the simply unnecessary to being perceived as actually wasteful and damaging. The demise of phone books may not be big news to anyone, but it’s an interesting time to think about your business and how well you have been adapting to the times:

  • Does your website do a good job reflecting and enhancing your offline brand?
  • Is your site search engine optimized so that people can find you online?
  • Are you networking in online groups and forums relevant to your industry?
  • Are you embracing new technologies and channels such as social media?

The demise of the phone book has taken approximately 15 years. What will be the next big shift? It’s hard to say for sure. However, a recent ComScore study indicates that email use has been declining in every age category under 55, with an incredible 59% decrease in email usage among teens. Not surprisingly, texting and social media messaging have increased over the same period. How would such a shift affect your marketing? Remember, today’s seemingly fickle college student could be running a company or division in a few short years. Will your marketing be ready?