According to a study by Knowledge Networks on behalf of the Association of Directory Publishers, a significant majority (85%) of the US population has used the printed Yellow Pages in the last year with awareness remaining strong, as 78% of consumers stated they contacted an average of two businesses after looking up a listing in a print directory. More than 90 percent of those questioned said they contacted a business using the telephone with 31 percent saying they made contact by going to the business in person.
I found this part of the research the most interesting: the findings revealed independent publishers (those not affiliated with local telephone companies) enjoyed a healthy share of this consumer usage, with 40% of overall Yellow Pages look-ups made in independent directories, Many independent publishers have reacted well to the segmenting of America by offering phone books (aka directories) tailored with listings and advertising aimed at specific ethnic groups or small communities or neighborhoods.
In this era of green marketing, it struck me that such Yellow Pages usage was counter to the trend of publishers turning online to conserve resources such as trees and fossil fuels (used for ink). Apparently, like many, I have bought into a myth about the YP business that is no longer true. A search on Yellow Pages and green marketing yielded a June 2008 interview in DM News with Neg Norton, president of the Yellow Pages Association that sets the record straight:
“Many consumers believe that because it is made of paper, it must mean forests are being ravaged. In fact, directory publishers use paper made of 40% recycled content along with fiber primarily derived from residual chips from sawmills. Any trees used were previously cut down by lumber producers and rejected.”
The Yellow Pages publishers, paper suppliers and printers started working together more than a decade ago to get more efficient and environmentally friendly. Directory components today include soy-based, rather than petroleum-based, inks and non¬toxic dyes. And, when it comes to municipal waste, the Environmental Protection Agency (2005 Facts and Figures) states that directories make up only 0.3% of the solid waste stream — compared to 4.9% for newspapers and 2.4% for standard mail.”
As the late Yankees announcer Mel Allen would day, “How about that?”
By the way, I have no idea where our phone books are. My hunch is the new driver in our house is using them to see over the steering wheel.