Yesterday I threw a few stats at you regarding small business and search. I am in Internet marketing so I obviously have a bias toward anything that is using the Internet to promote a business. In the past I have railed against the Yellow Pages and its continued slide into insignificance. I was surprised by some of the numbers of I saw yesterday that show that a pretty good chunk of people still turn to the Yellow Pages. I guess I am just not one of them.
Today I get an e-mail notice from my Locals Only sub over at Search Engine Land. The post is about hyperlocal search and is centered on a Forrester Group report that states the following:
The report discovered that 74 percent of offline consumers and 66 percent of online consumers still turn to the Yellow Pages directory for local business listings. Meanwhile, the report found Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) results were almost identical to Internet search engines with 31 percent of online consumers using IYP to find listings for local businesses versus 34 percent using search engines.
Huh? The Center for Media Research showed 57% use traditional Yellow Page directories while 47% use Internet Yellow Pages. The real difference is that they claim 82% use search engines. I realize that statistics are what they are but this disparity is pretty severe. I would like to know who paid Forrester for this ‘research’. I may have gotten my answer as to why the SEL report was what is was when I looked at the author of the post. Here’s his bio:
Larry Small brings nearly three decades of Yellow Pages and local search experience, Larry Small, Director of Research for the Yellow Pages Association spearheads and advises on all association-driven research activities for the industry.
Well, now I get it. The SEL ‘article’ is written by a shill for the Yellow Pages industry. No bias there. SMB’s beware when you see the latest and greatest statistics. They are only as valid as their source. You need to use your street smarts to discern whether you are being sold information or Kool Aid.
FT Takeaway: SMB’s look to statistics to make quick decisions in their fast paced world. If you do not exercise EXTREME caution by considering the source of the data you may just fall into the marketing net of someone who has their best interest at heart, not yours.