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A recent Kelsey Group Web poll of certified marketing representatives, the sales professionals responsible for national Yellow Pages advertising in the United States, indicates greater support for syndicated usage research among those working for larger agencies.

Of the 24 CMRs representatives that responded (from 150 invited to participate), 12 said they currently subscribe to the Yellow Pages Market Reporter, the syndicated audience measurement product developed by Knowledge Networks/SRI. Of the 12 that subscribe, nine described themselves as from a large CMR organization (with more than US$100 million in annual billings), two said they were from midsize CMRs (with billings of US$50 million to US$100 million), and just one was from a smaller agency (less than US$50 million).

Of the 12 respondents who said they did not subscribe to the Yellow Pages Market Reporter, none indicated being a large CMR, one said it was midsize, and 11 said they were from smaller organizations.

The overwhelming reason CMRs cited for not participating in the research project was "cost," with more than 45 percent choosing that response. Others indicated concerns about the methodology and the use of different data sources.

One clear issue is that many smaller CMRs are not used to spending serious money on research, and perhaps some are not able to afford it.

Another issue for the Yellow Pages industry is whether the lack of participation from smaller CMRs really matters, since the companies that represent the overwhelming majority of national revenues are participating. The answer to this question is probably "no," but it is a mild source of embarrassment to the CMR community that a product it has long championed does not enjoy universal support within its own ranks.

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