Is Your Business Run by Habits or Conscious Marketing?

This blog topic, conscious marketing, came to me as I was walking my dogs. You see, I am a huge fan of walking, plus I have two, rescued standard poodles, William and Harry, who demand daily walks. Last week, walking through the neighborhood, I noticed bagged, YellowPage phone books in everyone’s driveway. I became a bit overwhelmed as I thought about the amount of paper that was needed to print the book and the plastic bags that were used to protect it. Ugh!

Don’t know about you, but I didn’t ask for a YellowPage, YP, phone book to be thrown in my driveway? I haven’t used a YP phone book in more than ten years! With Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Realtor.com, Homelight, Avvo, and countless other online sources I don’t need this outdated method to search for local companies.

My wonky brain, always looking at things in unconventional ways, prompted the question; How does printing a local phone directory work in today’s modern world? It might have worked back in the day when the Internet wasn’t around, but today I believe this is an outdated, environmentally unfriendly, and most importantly nonuseful, marketing tactic. Are the folks at YP being conscious marketers?

Google the term conscious and these definitions arise: having knowledge of something; aware, deliberate and intentional. I do believe the marketing team was deliberate and intentional, but I don’t believe they have the detailed knowledge of their customer habits in regards to researching or purchasing services.

  • Did they think through the idea of mass distribution?
  • Do they understand the concept of target marketing or a primary target audience?
  • Did they consider the usefulness of the product to their top-tier users?
  • Did they consider the environmental impact?

I had a hunch that this strategy was probably a company habit. Research confirmed my suspicions. It revealed the printing of phone book directories started in 1886 when Reuben H. Donnelley created the first official Yellow Page directory. Do you think this brand needs a bit of course correction? Would it gain new life if it studied evolving technologies and changing cultures to see where it fits, and how it can change to meet the needs of today’s consumers?

I did review YP’s website, and it appears to be a well-visited site. Although, I would move the Popular Articles section closer to the top and be consistent with postings. I would also, after a bit of research, share relevant content on a daily basis. They could take advantage of the 1,000’s of business owners at their disposal to educate consumers on issues that impact their lives; plumbing, gardening, auto repair, insurance the topics are endless.

It might be time to break the company habit and study the effectiveness and the economics of a printed publication versus improving their Popular Articles section with the goal of becoming a top educational source. Wouldn’t this better assist their advertisers? Wouldn’t this tactic increase website traffic? Why not design a website based on a community of helpfulness and service?

As a daily walker, what I’ve witnessed are YP directories sitting in driveways turning to mush as the rains fall. FYI: Open plastic bags don’t work in windy, raining conditions. My YP directory is resting comfortably in my recycling bin.

Conscious marketing is just part of a branding strategy, but I feel it’s an important part. I also believe this example applies to any business be it travel, lifestyle, B2B; as most businesses develop habits and can’t see the forest thru the trees. Pun intended. Hence the need for conscious marketing.

Hope you learned something, and it’s always my goal to help you see things differently, and maybe change your business for the better!

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P.S. P.S. A real-world example of Conscious Marketing: Anantara and AVANI Hotels & Resorts have announced that they will no longer provide plastic drinking straws. They realize the havoc plastic straws wreck on the environment. Well done, Anantara and Avani Hotels & Resorts!

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