‘Is now the definitive moment to invest your entire marketing budget online and away from print?’

Well as a business owner, I am sure you are telling yourself right now as you read this, yes, you are already perhaps a little late.

It is however, as the saying goes, better to be 5 years late in this life than 50 years too early in the next.

Here’s why:

I have witnessed first-hand over the past eight years from deep within the marketing industry, the relentless (and now irreversible) shift in the spend of a business’ precious marketing budget away from the once staple household titles such as the Thomson Local and Yellow Pages phone books. In 2012, the yellow one reported losses to the tune of £1.4billion and overall income was down £1.8billion.


At their peak, these once biblical sized tomes were once so heavy and thick; stuffed to their very seams full of local and regional businesses that they couldn’t even squeeze through your letterbox. You’re front door would need removing from its hinges to allow the behemoth in, much like that DFS sofa come to think of it…


Within directories, competition for the largest advert, the top right hand corner of the page advert and most crucial of all, the first advert, was fierce. Businesses were literally changing their names to ‘AAAAAAAAA John Smith Builders’ or ‘00000000aaaaaa Fred’s Locksmiths’ to get closer to the front of their respective section such was the madness and the sheer reliance on these telephone directories for new and repeat custom.

Yet now, there they now sit, still sheathed in their un-opened cellophane wrappers, limp as a dishrag and no thicker than your average weekly throw-away glossy copy of Grazia, on doorsteps across the nation or, in the bin. And now Landfill.

There is no better example that displays with such brutality this quantum shift in activity away from print marketing towards the internet by the British public. In fact, make that the world’s public. As you may or may not be aware, in 2005/2006 Yell invested heavily in their Spanish and American counterparts to the tune of £4 billion, moments before they too suffered similar fates.

From an alternate perspective, take a glimpse at Yell’s (I mean HIBU’s) current share price – trading at just 0.36p per share as of March 2013. A fall from grace so huge it’s almost impossible to fathom the negative percentage drop from their heights in 2007, when a single share was valued at an almighty 550p. Here, let me work that out drop… crikey…

… they are now worth just 0.065% of what they once were. They have lost 99.935% of their value in just 5 years. The numbers are simply epic. An Epic Fail.


So here we sit in the present day, scrolling through our iPhones and iPads, using Siri & Streetview and thoughts of using those golden hued tomes are but a distant memory, tucked away in a land that time has ruthlessly forgotten and which now is all but erased from our ‘solid state flash hard drive’ memories. The internet has simply crushed these sorry icons into tiny particles that only match in size The Higgs Boson.

And so to conclude the very point of this article – looking for that final piece of reassurance to fully market your business to new and existing custom online?

When was the last time you even saw a Yellow Pages/Thomson Directory? And then when was the last time you even opened one from the wrapper? And when was the last time you held your house phone to your ear whilst flicking through those pages looking for a number to dial?

Yep. A very, very long time ago indeed.

Internet marketing has clearly slayed the knight we knew once upon a time as the phone book.

Game Over. The End.