The first talk today at DMS’08 was The Future of Yellow Pages and Charles Laughlin shared his thoughts on the subject. He started off providing some ideas on perceptions vs realities in the Yellow Pages (see them here) field then moved into the following:

A. Where are we (Yellow Pages Industry) today?
-print revenue declining
-belief in product eroding in many areas, among small business, industry (the economy is a factor)
-many publishers going to multi-product transition (on cusp of a fundamental change to directory business model)

B. Future:
-Ad supported DA, Print YP, SEM, Mobile Search, and IYP all point to “bundled leads”
-Global directional media are going to grow

C. Winners will:
-measure everything and embrace transparency (be accountable)
-invest in sales transformation
-leverage technology to enable transition
-recognize and protect core assets and shed the rest
-continue to invest and believe in print

D. Predictions:
-US print titles will decline by 30% by 2013
-printed residential white pages will be minimal on request print run
-at least one global publisher divests it print YP business
-professional services will have largely shifted print to online
-print revenue in home services will remain stable
-self-provisioning will account for 25% of directional media sales

Take away for small businesses (IMHO) – Yellow Pages are still viable, will continue to be effective for many types of business. You the small business owner needs to take a varied approach to your marketing campaigns both on-line and offline.