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Predictions for the Comeback of Print in 2011

Author and e-media proponent, Joe Pulizzi, surprised readers of Folio magazine with his September 2010 column, “Seven Reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011.” In summary, Joe gave the following rational for his conclusion:

1) Getting Attention: with fewer magazines, “more attention is paid to each piece.”

2) The Focus on Customer Retention: magazines are great at accomplishing this primary goal of marketers. This is especially true of custom publications and newsletters.

3) No Audience Development Costs: magazines spend the money and time do this, so marketers don’t need to.

4) What’s Old is New Again: Joe has heard “many marketers talk about leveraging print as something new in their marketing mix.”

5) Customers Still Need to Ask Questions: The Internet is great at answering questions; magazines are excellent at asking the questions. Print drives people online to advertisers’ Websites.

6) Print Still Excites People: The printed word is still perceived as more credible than anything online. This is evidenced by the fact that it’s harder and harder to convince people to be interviewed for an online article, but they get excited when the article will appear in print.

7) Unplug: As more people opt to unplug, disconnecting themselves from digital media, they will engage more with print media.

Joe concludes by saying, “Don’t forget that print can still play an important role in your overall marketing mix.”

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How The Yellow Pages Are Changing

It’s that time of year when the new phone books come out in our area; I have three observations:

First, for one of the books, this year’s installment contains no residential section, just a business listing section and the yellow pages. On the cover, there’s an unobtrusive instruction to go to their Web site for residential listings.

That seems strange. They need people to use their book to give value to the advertisements that appear in it, yet they give people one more reason to not use it. True, the residential white pages generate very little revenue and are an added expense, so for the short-term, it seems like a no-brainer to eliminate them. But for the long term, they are doing themselves harm.

The second thing is that the two major books used to both be issued in August. A few years ago, one of them moved up their distribution to July. This serves to distinguish them from their main competition, but I’m not sure if it’s better to first the first book out or the last. One thought is the first book out will be used, while the second book is discarded as unneeded. The alternate school of thought is that when each new book comes out, the existing one — regardless of the provider — is tossed in favor of the new one. With this perspective, the first book would be used for one month and then replaced with the second book, which would be used for eleven months.

The third item is that there is a third book in our market, provided by the local phone company. It is small and inconsequential; it is generally disregarded. With the Yellow Pages not being as useful or as often used as in the past, there is no point in even considering a market’s number three book; even the second book (with no residential listings) has decreasing value.