Monday, June 26, 2006

Smooth Operator

Today I received my annual call from our friendly telephone book ad salesperson. This time of year always puts me in a dilemma. Is telephone book advertising really worth the investment? The rates are high and the exposure is questionable, and yet there's always the fear of being under-represented in a mass listing of churches. We want to stand out. We want our listing to scream, "Come, visit us!" However, I'm not convinced that there are many people listening via this medium.

The disadvantage, of course, is that the pricing structure of phone book advertising is such that once you lock in a contracted plan, reducing your ads in subsequent years drives the price up. It's nearly impossible to reduce the total cost of your contract without losing your discounts and value deals. Instead, reducing your ads typically drives your contract beyond what you were paying before.


I think that the internet has completely transformed how people hear about us. Twenty years ago, the phone book was a great resource. Today, however, I would bet that the majority of people - particularly those of the younger generation whom we are trying to attract - will Google keywords to find us. I think a better investment of my time (and budget) is to focus on enhancing the likelihood that when certain keywords are Googled our listing is right there at the top.

Goodbye phone book, hello virutal reality.


Blogger Cory Miller said...

I feel your pain. I'm going through this again. I call it 'blackmail.' They know how to do it ... another technique that has been used is: "I just want to come and learn more about your organization."

This is called reciprocal persuasion or something like that. You tell them ALL about your organization, they start asking what the best kept secret is, then at the end they say: "Here's how our phone book can tell 1 million people about this!"

I cringe when they start calling. And they do it so far in advance ... I would need to seek anger management if I went on. :-)

9:52 AM  

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