I’m preparing to be stalked sternly admonished by the vast army of pushy a few yellow page salespersons.

 But my opinion (born out in actual real-world experience) is that most yellow page advertising is a crock.

At least for funeral service. 

The yellow pages work great if you sell a product that people choose at the last minute.  For customers looking for a dog groomer or a garage door repair company, the yellow pages are great.  They can see the entire marketplace and make a choice at their leisure.  If they can’t afford any of them, they can make do without the product or service.

But people shopping for funerals employ different tactics.  If you’ve read my analysis of the four types of customers, you’ll know these in more depth, but here’s a quick review.

PRICE SHOPPERS care about how much you charge, not what you offer.  Because they’ve already decided that all funeral homes give the same basic service.

CONVENIENCE SHOPPERS care where you’re located and if you can accommodate their request for a stock type of service at the time of their choosing.

EXPERIENCE SHOPPERS want a unique service offered by caring people.  They don’t want simple, don’t care much about how convenient your chapel is (they’ll drive if they have to, as long as they like your facility) and aren’t so concerned with price.

REPUTATION SHOPPERS aspire to use a particular funeral home because of the reputation in the community.  They want the reputation of your firm to “rub off” on them.  These people are offended by “LOW PRICE!” jargon and will not choose a funeral home that’s located in a “bad” part of town.

Now take a look at your current yellow page advertising.  In all likelihood, it probably targets all of them.  It might even look like this:


But does this appeal to a PRICE SHOPPER?

Of course not.  He (most price shoppers are men) won’t even call you.  He sees your claim to have competitive prices.  To a price shopper, competitive only means that you’re not the MOST expensive.  And you can’t possibly have the lowest prices if you pay maintenance on that huge building in Downtown.  And everyone knows that personalized services always cost more.

So scratch the PRICE SHOPPER, because he’s not even going to call you.


It’s not quite as obvious, but no.  It doesn’t appeal

But why?

Because your location isn’t convenient enough.  Who wants to go downtown in this traffic?  You personalize services?  Great, but the convenience shopper doesn’t want to make a bunch of decisions.  He/she wants a simple process.  Pick a package and leave, letting you make the other decisions.  And as for every life being “unique”?  That’s great, but grandma was a simple woman and just wanted a basic funeral.  Don’t make them decide on a bunch of special things.

Ouch.  Maybe EXPERIENCE SHOPPERS will be excited by this ad.

Not likely.  An experience shopper wants to specialize this service and make it unlike any other service that’s ever been done.  They want to release doves and have a multimedia slide show while bikers ride Harleys in the procession.  How can a funeral home that’s been around since 1890 and is on the fourth generation of funeral directors figure out how to make their funeral experience different?  And they were really hoping for a quieter setting for the service, since they don’t want to use a church, and your downtown location just won’t cut it.

Okay, but those REPUTATION SHOPPERS are still a lock, right?

The problem with selling on reputation is that these shoppers will be offended if your funeral home serves the “undesirable” element or is in a bad location.  And while downtown might have been a bustling place in 1890, chances are it’s no longer the center of “high society.”  And “competitive prices”?  That’s just another way of saying you serve people who can’t afford a luxury funeral home.  So what does that say about your reputation and the status you can confer on the clients who use you?

Congratulations!  You’re running an expensive yellow page ad that reaches out to all types of shoppers and attracts few of them

Sounds like a waste of important advertising dollars to me.

Next time, we’ll show you the types of ads that DO appeal to each of these shoppers.