Let Your Ears Do the Hearing: Are Yellow Pages Obsolete?


Should you advertise in the newspaper or the yellow pages? On the radio or TV? Or put all your marketing budget into social media and hire somebody to Twitter for your business?

No better person to answer that question than John F. Kelsey III, who has been researching it for three decades. The founder of The Kelsey Group (TKG), will speak on “The Changing Marketing Mix: how can you attract business in the new decade?” for the Princeton Regional Chamber this week, Thursday, March 3, 11:30 a.m. at the Forrestal Marriott. This picture shows him with his wife Pam, in a November 26, 2008 cover story for U.S. 1 Newspaper.

“John Kelsey anticipated the rise of electronic media and its impact on the Yellow Pages and small-business marketing around the world,” according to a company spokesperson. “He worked tirelessly to help incorporate Yellow Pages into the world of contemporary online and mobile marketing. And he created a community that brought traditional media and new media together.”

“The Kelseys built a company that researched and analyzed data on print and electronic Yellow Pages, local search, small-business marketing, and local media,” wrote Scott Morgan in the U.S. 1 article. “They had weathered the days when they made no money, and scored big.”

When they sold the company in 2008, conferences made up 40 percent of its business. TKG focuses on Internet, mobile, and Yellow Pages, and the buyer, Virginia-based BAI, specialized in radio, television, and consulting — a good fit.

In his own blog Kelsey quoted an article in the NY Times (”Mom and Pop Operators Turn to Social Media“) that shows how even the smallest of companies can grow rapidly using Twitter as a promotional vehicle. “No, there’s no advertising money associated here … yet. The old saw “where there’s a will, there’s a way” comes to mind.” Kelsey promised that advertisers will find those using smartphones. “The money is not likely to be new advertiser dollars, but rather expenditures coming from other media that are looking for the most efficient way to drive conversions within geotargeted areas.”

Full disclosure: I’m on the chamber program committee and I’ve been wanting to hear John Kelsey’s wisdom for some 20 years. See you there!

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