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Zip Code Phonebook
THE NEW NEIGHBORHOOD PHONEBOOK
Yellow Pages, a California-based research company has been extensively
doing studies on U.S. ZIP (Zone Improvement Program) Codes. They can now
predict, with certain percentage of accuracy, what you ate for breakfast
based on your zip code.
ZIP Codes are the smallest, most organized accumulation of information by
which we can evaluate the demographic flavor of a given area.
From a marketing standpoint, most retail businesses use ZIP codes along with
the Perretto Principle that 80% of your customers reside within the ZIP
codes that connect to your collection. In theory, they live no more than
7 miles from where you are.
A CHANGING MARKETPLACE
The phonebook we have grown accustomed to was developed over 30 years ago.
The only way it has grown in in terms of thickness, weight, and aesthetic
From a marketing perspective, except for its dominance and near monopoly,
it has been rendered useless by a more mobile and more efficient market.
When the Yellow Pages were first introduced, the world of "malls",
"strip malls", "executive centers", and "postal & mail box centers" were
unknown to American consumers. Today, it is easier for us to dial directory
assistance than to use the phonebook.
USE OLD PATTERNS
To make it easy for advertisers and consumers to swallow something new, make
it look like it's old. So, use simple patterns and designs borrowed from
old phonebooks, including rates charged for your territory. Establish your
advertising rates based on the number of homes and businesses your ZIP Code
phonebook is going to.
You can have as many ZIP Codes covered, just make sure you do not pile up a
marketplace too large you are practically competing with the phone company.
The best rule of thumb is to break the phone companies general distribution
area into 7 phonebooks.
GTE used to have what they called "The Neighborhood Phonebook". I think the
reason it died is that it broke down its neighborhood either very
conceptually or too similarly to the way all other phonebooks do.
Advertisers want solid numbers. ZIP Codes are solid. Just ask the postal