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As digital marketers, we are always on the lookout for the next best thing to help our clients grow their business. Unfortunately, sometimes our clients are as well. You can lose sight on what is working for your company when you are enamored by that shiny new toy. It is also frustrating when you have to spend a good portion of your regularly scheduled meeting to discuss 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 number of marketing channels, paid search, SEO, direct mail, 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 budget in 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) this remains true. The car didn’t replace the train, TV didn’t replace radio, and the computer didn’t replace TV. The internet didn’t even replace yellow pages. The effectiveness over time of these channels 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 with clients a full exit from the channel. 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, reallocate elsewhere. Not one replaced completely. As always, especially in marketing, Nothing Replaces Anything.