Monday, January 24, 2005

Yellow Pages can put finger on new trends

Here is a very good article in The Denver Post regarding how the Yellow Pages is an indicator of new business trends.

Here's how an advertiser can benefit.

Ask your Yellow Pages representative to include a new heading for a service that your company now provides. It may even be a service that you've provided for several years that simply is commonly called something different that the current classification.

For example: There currently isn't a category called "Garage Floor Coatings". If you can get the rep to open a new classification, and place a small ad, you'll likely be the only advertiser during the first few years.

The Denver Post

Yellow Pages can put finger on new trends
By Tom McGhee and Will Shanley
Denver Post Staff Writers

Sunday, January 23, 2005 -

Tia Wolkov knows about competition, and Dex knows about Wolkov.

When she bought Pilates Downtown in Denver, Wolkov listed her new company's phone number in Dex Media's Yellow Pages directory. It's her main resource for reaching new customers.

"Right now, the phone book and Dex online are the only way for people to find us," Wolkov said.

As the new directories arrive at metro Denver homes, they carry within their 1,000-plus pages 14 new business categories and hundreds of new businesses.

Dex doesn't claim to have the acuity of Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan in predicting economic trends, but it can offer a snapshot. Dex spokesman Jerry Brown points to growth in categories such as yoga instruction and new categories such as identity theft protection as signs of the times.

"If we get a request for a new category, our people look at it, and if it makes sense to add it, we do," Brown said. "You can't just randomly call in and say, 'I want to be listed as a Purple People Eater."'

Besides Pilates, new categories this year include some that are as obvious as a gold tooth - teeth-whitening services - and as head-scratchingly ambiguous as "medi-spas." Think wrinkle reduction and chemical peels, with a doctor on staff.

Brown warns that just because more bicycle dealers are listed this year than last, for example, it doesn't mean the bike market is taking off. Businesses come and go, as do their Yellow Pages listings. And some list themselves under one heading one year and another the next, he said.

"I wouldn't want to use it to map specific growth, but you do get a picture," he said. "If you look at phone directories historically, you get a good snapshot of what businesses are doing.


New headings offered for the first time in the 2005 Dex Denver metro directory include:

# Animal Control (six listings - wildlife and pest removal)

# Arts & Crafts (four listings - showrooms and supplies)

# Basement Remodeling (36 listings - construction companies and basement specialists)

# Duct Cleaning (seven listings, home and office air system cleaners)

# Electronics (one listing - radio-amp tube sales and service)

# Foot Surgery (eight listings - individuals and clinics)

# Hair Styling (seven listings - salons and Afro hair braiding)

# Identity Theft Protection (one listing - data destruction firm)

# Medi-Spas (five listings - physician-directed skin care and aesthetic treatments)

# Music Stores (three listings - instruments and recording studio)

# Remodeling Services (15 listings - plumbers, roofers, electricians, handymen)

# Teeth Whitening Products & Services (nine listings - clinics and individuals)

# Transportation (seven listings - taxis and limousine services)

# Urgent Care Centers (three listings - walk-in clinics)

Source: Dex Media
"You see that new listings are a reflection of things that are going on in our society. New listings show what five years ago people didn't really think about but are now more mainstream."

Cherry Creek dentist Roger Nishimura is one of nine listed in the new "Teeth Whitening Products & Services" category, but it's a repeat appearance. He also pays $2,000 a month to advertise his business, Aspen Dental, under the "Dentists" category. Why not take a gamble on attracting new business?

Demand is high for the procedure that can boost smile wattage, Nishimura said. "Everybody knows about it," thanks to the "Extreme Makeover"-type reality shows that flooded the airwaves last season.

Though he's sure last year's $1,000-per-month Yellow Pages listing paid for itself, he said he doesn't know how much business he gained from it. This year's larger ad - plus the second listing under Teeth Whitening - is "just another means of letting people know who I am and where I am."

Roughly 4 million businesses spend $14 billion each year to advertise in U.S. yellow pages directories, according to Christopher Bacey, spokesman for the New Jersey-based Yellow Pages Association trade group. The association estimates that companies earn $25 in revenue for each $1 they spend.

Dex publishes 259 White Pages and Yellow Pages directories in 14 states and offers more than 5,000 headings to its business clients. Categories that appear in one city may not show up in another, Brown said.

Anyone willing to browse metro Denver's books will find the following changes over last year's, he said:

Businesses that contribute to health and fitness appear to be growing, including bicycle dealers, martial arts instructors, Pilates studios, sporting- goods stores and yoga instructors.

Professionals who help residents maintain and improve their homes are increasing, including bathroom and kitchen remodelers, interior decorators, lawn and groundskeepers, and painting contractors.

Businesses in the health care field are burgeoning, including alcoholism treatment services, medical clinics, dentists, optometrists and osteopathic surgeons.

Staff writer Tom McGhee can be reached at 303-820-1671 or .

Staff writer Will Shanley can be reached at 303-820-1473 or .


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