As digital marketers, we always look for the next best thing to help our clients grow their businesses. Unfortunately, sometimes our clients are as well. You can lose sight of what is working for your company when that shiny new toy enamors you. It is also frustrating when you have to spend a good portion of your regularly scheduled meeting discussing new concepts that will not move the needle. The urge is to turn to your client and state, “I didn’t know that you perfected that?” “That” can be filled in with any marketing channels, paid search, SEO, direct mail, or even yellow pages.

When I began my career in marketing, I had the pleasure of working for the world’s first search engine, the yellow pages. This was at the time when yellow page usage began its steep decline. It became increasingly difficult to convince companies to keep the budget in the yellow pages. Our running joke was that the CMO was not holding court at a cocktail party discussing the effectiveness of his YP campaign. What we needed was a hook to explain why the yellow pages still mattered:

Nothing Replaces Anything

And with a few exceptions (8-track tapes, BetaMax, VCRs). The car didn’t replace the train, the TV didn’t replace the radio, and the computer didn’t replace the TV. The internet didn’t even replace the yellow pages. These channels’ effectiveness has changed, although they have not been replaced.

The marketing landscape continues to change almost daily and most definitely will continue to change into perpetuity. This is a good thing and forces us to stay ahead of our competition. It also brings me back to my yellow pages days and discussing a complete exit from the channel with clients. They all agreed that there were still leads being generated, although they were more expensive as the years went along. Every discussion ended the same way….Reduce the YP budget, and reallocate elsewhere. Not one was replaced entirely. As always, especially in marketing, Nothing Replaces Anything.