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Blog  -  Branding Tips and Ideas

Why does the phonebook have so many businesses starting with the letter A

labeled for reuse by Flickr - downloaded on Feb 15, 2017Have you ever looked in the Riverside, CA. area phonebook for a plumber and noted that there were so many businesses that started with the letter “A”? A & A plumbing, A1 Plumbing, AA Plumbing , A AAA Plumbing,  A Better Plumber, ACME Plumbing…

The answer is a direct reflection of how businesses have had to react to popular methods of marketing that were available at that time. In this article were going to look at how these types of marketing trends have affected business owners in the Riverside, CA. area and how even now marketing trends are changing that can significantly affect the future of marketing.

The Phonebook Revolution

Since 1886 the phonebook (yellow book) has been a primary source of letting the community know how to contact businesses in Riverside, CA. and throughout America. As the phonebook grew in popularity so did its size. In 2006 the Cincinnati, OH. Yellow Pages phonebook weighed in at a whopping 3.5 pounds. As more and more advertisers found that the phonebook was a primary source of advertising, so began the challenge of how to be found amongst so many others doing the same type of business. In a direct reaction to the alphabetical order of the phonebook, businesses began to change their name to start with the letter “A”. This wasn’t done by preference, it was done by necessity seeing that the phonebook marketing data identified that over 80% of phone calls were made to businesses in the “A’s”! If your business was “Wyatt Roofing” chances were the phone book was not going to be a good way for you to get phone calls.

The Lesson of the Phonebook

The lesson of the phonebook is that businesses in Riverside, CA. always need to be creative when it comes to being found by their potential customers. Newspapers, flyers, TV and radio advertising all have recommended things to do to be heard or seen above your competition. However, the greatest lesson learned is that saturated mediums of advertising can make themselves obsolete; because, when customers do not see a return on investment they will simply stop using them as a resource. Businesses will continually seek ways to get their message out at the most cost-effective point with the greatest return on investment.

The New Digital Phonebook

The Internet is quickly becoming the new digital phonebook of Riverside, CA. with as many different search engines as there are different phonebooks. In the phonebook days; The Yellow Pages Yellow Book began to buyout and take control of the phonebook market leaving Verizon, Windstream and Bell all picking up the pieces; Google is doing the same as the digital phonebook of today.

With Google being used as a primary vendor on smart devices, laptops and computers it boasts over 80% control of the Internet search market. The trouble that this brings however, is that the same trouble that came about with the saturated medium of the phonebook in the Riverside, CA. and across America, is quickly becoming the path of the Internet. Google’s massive reorganization of the Internet search platform: 2010-2014; has made competition on the Internet more fierce than ever before. Even through today’s article date in 2017, adjustments by Google are still being made that continue to make it difficult for businesses to be found online affordably. No longer is a local business competing with other local businesses, but keywords that are similar to other ranking sites across the country. An example might be:

Dry Cleaner Riverside CA. = 282,000 results.

We all know there’s not 282,000 dry cleaners in Riverside, CA. but with Google’s new approach to searches, you are competing with 282,000 references; meaning you have to do more and spend more to rise above the competition.


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Picture of a person typing at a keyboard - advertising materials in Fontana, Rancho, Jurupa, Riverside and EastvaleWill the Internet go the way of the phonebook?

Small business consultant, Rick Brewer, states that this is certainly a possibility:

“Business owners are always on the lookout for the most cost-effective way to get their message out. If the Internet becomes so saturated that it is no longer cost-effective they will, by necessity, seek out other means of advertising. This will leave the Internet to be no more effective than a local newspaper or the phonebook.”

Google continues to make changes in the attempt to handle the extreme volume of billions of websites generating trillions of webpages. Recent trends however, have identified that Google is pushing advertising to a single source supplier…  Themselves. It is Google’s hope that through manipulating circumstances they can make it to where a website can only be found online if they are paying Google directly to be found. (Adwords or PPC) This puts us right back to where the phonebook started where companies in the Riverside, CA. area and abroad will need to reorganize their name, structure, domain address and website to directly cater to Google’s needs so that they might be found.

The conclusion of the matter

Any good business consultant will tell you that putting all of your advertising dollars into a single source is bad business. By spreading around your advertising budget to different mediums in the Riverside, CA.  area you stand a better chance of getting a greater return on investment over a longer period of time. Allow history to be a guide when it comes to making long-term plans with your advertising dollars. Be cautious of saturated advertising mediums that have you spending more time “competing with the Jones’s” than actually getting out your message.

A timeless way to get your message out

Precision Sign and Graphics serving the Riverside, CA. area represents an area of marketing that has seemed to never go out of style. There has always be a demand for quality graphics and signs that help set you apart from your competitors. With many different ways to get your message out through signs, banners and vehicle wraps of all shapes and sizes; we can help you accent your advertising with attention grabbing graphics made on to high quality materials.

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