The Yellow Pages is currently on the verge of joining a small, but ever growing club, among the likes of Blockbuster and Polaroid; brands which once had it all, but ultimately got left behind by advancing technology and changing consumer habits. The once mighty marketing juggernaut has now fallen upon tough times, with Google eating up their market share. Where once people would flip open their Yellow Pages if they wanted a plumber or a locksmith, now one only has to tap a few keys and they get a fast, personalised result. Consequently, the Yellow Pages has been left to gather dust in many households.
While businesses used to invest their marketing budgets in print adverts, Search Engine Optimisation has proved itself to be an effective method of generating business in an age where 92% of adults use search engines on a daily basis. Whereas a recent survey found that a mere 7% of adults use the Yellow Pages on a regular basis. The resulting fall in revenue from advertising partners has hit the company hard, along with their publisher ‘Hibu’ facing bankruptcy, Yellow Pages has accumulated £2.2bn worth of debt- one hundred times the company’s value.
Although things are looking bleak for the organisation, Yellow Pages can take some respite in the fact that their online portal, Yell.com, is ranked 117th in UK web traffic, yet this is a mere fraction of the likes of Google. Furthermore, surveys have found that the majority of people that use Yellow Pages are over the age of 55, which means that their ‘users’ are quite literally, dying out. Suffice to say, it seems that Yellow Pages has been left behind the times.
With a combination of crippling debt, an outdated medium and ageing users, it seems that the future prospects of organisation look bleak. This just goes to show that in order to survive, you have to adapt or die.