Volume 39, Issue 2, February  2004

Yellow Page Expert to 
Speak at 2004 Glass Expos

by Penny Beverage

Regional glass expo attendees will have the opportunity to hear the nation’s expert on Yellow-Page ads, Barry Maher, share his industry know-how at shows throughout this year, including Glass Expo Niagara™ at Niagara Falls, Ontario, June 3-4, Glass TexPO™ in Galveston, Texas, October 1-2, and Glass Expo Midwest™ in Milwaukee, October 14-15. These regional expos are sponsored by Key Communications Inc. and a number of state glass associations.

When asked how he became the expert on Yellow-Page ads, Maher chuckles, “I was born that way.”
The modest expert has been working in marketing since the late 1970s and in Yellow Pages, specifically, since 1984.

The author of Filling the Glass: The Skeptic’s Guide to Positive Thinking in Business and Getting the Most from Your Yellow Pages Advertising also took a few minutes to sit down with USGlass to provide a glance at what knowledge he will offer at the expos.

Q: What are some horror stories you’ve seen in Yellow-Page ads?

A: People rely on their Yellow-Page reps to design their ads and they don’t even think about them [their ads]. They spend an hour with the rep and the guy spends 50 minutes trying to sell them an ad and 10 minutes designing the ad. Very seldom do the reps have any experience designing ads.

Q: What are some specific problems you’ve seen?

A: What the designers do is put the [company’s] name at the top of the ad and their phone number and address at the bottom, then they say, “Tell me what services you provide.” The ads are pretty good at describing the features of the business, but they’re very poor at selling the business and providing its benefits to the readers.

Q: How did you figure out what makes a good ad?

A: I started off as a small businessperson with my own marketing agency. I quickly started studying how to make ads more effective. What I would do is go in and start asking customers about their businesses and they’d start telling me the things they’d want consumers to know—and I’d use this knowledge in their ads.
I’d ask, “Do you do shower enclosures? Do you do industrial work?” After five or six questions, my customers would realize no other representative had ever asked them these questions.

Q: What’s one good blanket tip for designing a successful ad—or at least starting to think about designing a successful Yellow-Page ad?

A: Yellow page ads have to be done considering what everyone else is doing.

Q: What will people get from attending your seminar?

A: Hopefully they’ll figure out what directories they need to advertise in, how to figure out what headings to advertise under, strategies for getting the best ad sizes for their money and how to design ads that will call them away from other ads saying similar things. 
Info www.glass.com/iwfe.asp. 


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