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Who Remembers the Unlisted Number?

It's a different world now! And it affects marketing too.

Who remembers the unlisted number?  For those of you that are too young to know what that means, an unlisted number was an option (that you had to pay the phone company extra to have) which was offered when you set up your telephone service (now referred to as a land line).  This unlisted service meant that your information (name, address, phone) wouldn’t be printed in the phone book, which at the time was the only way to look up a phone number. 


Why would one opt to pay extra to be unlisted? Mainly people wanted to be unlisted to avoid solicitors, especially the ones that called at dinner, but there was also an air of social status to having an unlisted number.  You couldn’t exactly find Madonna’s number in the white pages, so it was often looked at as being somewhat exclusive! It wasn’t uncommon to hear statements like, “How did he get my number?  I am UNLISTED!”


Flash forward what seems like a hundred years.  Everyone we know has a smartphone and I am no longer waiting by the phone for people to call me. Yes, there was a time that people actually had to wait by a phone if we were expecting a phone call.  Today, the paradigm has switched, and now all cell phone numbers are unlisted.  There isn’t even a cell phone directory of any sort, even though some of the carriers considered it back in 2008. 


So why does this matter? Because we have totally flipped the script. Celebrities are responding to their fans on Twitter and Facebook. Reviews for businesses are there for all the world to see, good and bad.  Today, being unlisted is anathema.  You want to be listed and you want to be at the top of the list! 


Unlike the 80’s however, there isn’t just a phonebook in which you can list or hide your number.  There are a many ‘phonebooks’!  How do you position yourself for maximum exposure?  There are many layers to this and figuring these all out isn’t easy, especially when you have your own business to run.  From Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to sites like Pinterest and Etsy, it is easy to get lost in a sea of social media.  Not to mention, we now have text message marketing, which is game changing for restaurants and retail shops.  Marketers can now even follow you around the web with ad retargeting. 


While gaining access to these platforms is somewhat simple, providing quality content consistently and determining the right targeting and the right platforms can be extremely time consuming and if not done right, a waste of time and money.  Not to mention, all the trial and error from figuring things out.  It’s time to get LISTED in the marketing world so more people can find you and your company!

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