Table of Contents
This report reviews the dynamics of the current directory market, and then suggests several strategies that will assist operators to compete in this dynamic new consumer information market.
From about 2002 to 2012, the analyst press was filled with the predictions of the imminent demise of print directory publishing. As the Internet grew in popularity, and as an increasing portion of directory publishing revenues migrated from print to online, the popular prognosis was that print would soon be dead and would almost certainly be replaced by online searches.
Although Stratecast never subscribed to many of the dire warnings, we nonetheless cautioned that a balanced approach to directory services was required: one that combined print, mobility and Internet publishing. Happily, directory publishing took a path that was similar to the one we suggested, and print directories evolved to service niche markets, while the primary focus of publishers shifted to an Internet-centric approach.
Yet, the inexorable advance of technology may now be ready to put the last nails in the print directory coffin. As mobility delivers increasingly capable local search capabilities, the printed directory will finally go the way of the dinosaur; much to the glee of the environmentally conscious, and the despair of the traditionally oriented.
Local mobile search has the capability of not only supplanting local directories, but also elevating directory publishing to the essential information service for busy consumers. In fact, mobility combined with directories is likely to be one of the more important transformations in commerce, as retailers discover new ways to integrate directory services into conventional post-sale transactions.
Nevertheless, this transformation will not come without a certain amount of pain. Just as publishers have become used to the Internet, they need to become experts at location-sensitive advertising. This mobility-centric strategy will require a whole new marketing approach: one that focuses not only on retailers, but also on consumers. However, once again, publishers are playing catch up: Internet giants like Google are already there and defining the new space.
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