Yellow Pages has long been recognized by advertisers and even competitors as an important directional influence on consumers. According to Statistical Research Institute, Yellow Pages is used monthly by 76% of U.S. adults who are actively seeking information and are ready to buy. And, 87% of those references result either in a purchase or an intent to purchase. (Source: Statistical Research, Inc. 2001)

And while 41% of users are predisposed to a specific firm when they turn to the Yellow Pages looking for a phone number or address, the truth is most buyers are still shopping when they open a directory. According to National Yellow Pages Monitor 2001 data, 59% of consumers haven’t made up their minds, providing advertisers with a wonderful opportunity to present a final sales message precisely at the point of decision. For many product/service categories, the shopping rate rises into the 70’s and 80’s.

The following chart illustrates the role of Yellow Pages in consumer purchases.

After a consumer decides he needs or wants a product or service, he becomes aware of choices, sometimes through mass media or other advertising. This is shown on the first arrow.

As the consumer enters the next phase, evaluation of choices, the process becomes more intense. This is illustrated by the second arrow. The consumer seeks information, evaluates alternatives and makes a selection or takes action. This is where the shopping function of Yellow Pages is most prominent.

After the product or service selection, the consumer selects a buying location and proceeds with the actual buying process. These steps are shown in the third and fourth arrows and is where the directional role of Yellow Pages comes into play.

Indeed, Yellow Pages plays an important function in connecting buyers and pre-selected sellers in the directional phase of the buying process. However, since 59% are still shopping when they turn to the Yellow Pages, Yellow Pages actually works at all four phases of the process. Not only does Yellow Pages influence over half of consumers with information on choices, it often makes consumers aware of alternate suppliers. A strong presence in the Yellow Pages delivers key messages to customers at a critical stage in the purchase process -- when they are actively seeking information and are ready to buy.

Further, Yellow Pages is a very testable medium. Through unique telephone numbers and special technology to count phone calls, it’s possible to isolate the advertising response and estimate return on investment (ROI) in the form of sales revenue or profit from a Yellow Pages ad. Yellow Pages Directories are a unique information resource that provide a measurable return on an advertiser’s marketing communications investment.

Source: Association of Directory Marketing (ADM)