When was the last time you opened the yellow pages to find out the best place to get your car worked on? Chances are you either asked someone about their experience with an auto mechanic, or you looked on the internet for a mechanic that had good reviews. The majority of people would prefer to get a recommendation that is going to lead to good work on your car and not being over charged for a johnson rod and a new distributor cap. It's much easier to talk with someone who has experience with what you're looking for. They should be able to find the best solution quickly and effectively.
If you have ever asked someone for their opinion on where to go, who to use, what to buy, how their experience was, would they go back, etc; you have networked. Everyone networks every day, they may not know it but they do, either on a personal or a professional level. The sooner you realize you are surrounded by a massive network, the sooner you realize the yellow pages are dead.
From a business stand point, doesn't it make sense to have the best lawyer, CPA, life/health/p&c insurance rep, IT guru , SEO pro, etc available for your needs as opposed to looking someone up? From a residential standpoint, it makes sense to talk with your friends or neighbors to find out about a good contractor, plumber, electrical, HVAC, etc. On a personal level, have you ever talked with your friends or family about the best options for vacations, places to eat, bike trails to ride, music venues, tv's to buy, runs to ski, etc? Having a big network is a good thing, but a strong network is even better. So, where are you going to look the next you need your car worked on? A friend? Or a book that is printed twice a year that could result in getting over charged for bumper fluid?
Where are you finding your advertising dollars to be most productive?