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Final Thoughts on NLC Conference

I’m catching up after a very busy and successful trip to the National League of Cities’ Congress of Cities and Exposition last week in Boston.

On the final day of the event, Neg Norton and I attended several sessions on sustainability. Many of these city leaders were in the early stages of building sustainability plans for their communities. They were looking for a place to start, the process for implementing a plan, and more insight into what a plan should look like. Some appeared frustrated regarding how to measure the benefits of such plans. It was a clear indication to both Neg and me that we have a great opportunity to continue to engage local communities about our industry’s efforts and encourage them to work with us as they develop their approaches to sustainability.

One of the speakers, Peter Brandom, sustainability manager for Hillsboro, Oregon, later stopped by our booth and we were able to discuss  the benefits of www.YellowPagesOutOut.com. We were able to share with Peter that our industry-run website is available at no cost to governments or consumers. Peter said that Hillsboro had been paying for a similar opt-out service. I think examples like these demonstrate why it’s so important that we continue to build visibility for www.YellowPagesOutOpt.com among audiences such as those at the NLC conference.

Our industry’s exhibit booth – well-staffed by Yellowbook’s Matt Krug, YP’s Jim Troup and Dex One’s Tim Foster – continued to garner interest for www.YellowPagesOptOut.com and its benefits as a straightforward, easy-to-use and free way to address the issue of unwanted directory delivery. We also spoke with many city leaders who had positive things to say about the local benefits of Yellow Pages. Many city officials we met were also small business owners and appreciated the return on investment that Yellow Pages provided their businesses. I also once again ran into Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean of Joplin, Missouri, and she told me that her tweet about www.YellowPagesOptOut.com sparked response from constituents who thought it was a great idea, as well as some who believed that receiving the print Yellow Pages were still important in helping them find local businesses. All in all, the exhibit booth was a great way to raise awareness of our members’ products as well as our consumer choice website.

With many state receptions at the end of the conference, Neg and I chose to attend those for states that were most active on issues pertaining to our industry. We attended the Oregon/Washington reception and the Joint Constituency Group reception for several minority groups.  We met city officials from the Washington cities of Everett, Auburn, Redmond, Medina, Snohomish, SeaTac, and others.  I also continued to develop relationships with members of the Asian municipal officers constituency group, and went to dinner with a few of them after the event.

(L-R) Doris McConnell, Councilmember – Shoreline, WA, Suzanne Lee Chan, Councilmember – Fremont, CA, Gilbert Wong, Councilmember – Cupertino, CA, Wesley Young, Local Search Association

Overall, the NLC conference was a great opportunity to meet local officials on an informal basis, to network with them, and to let them know that we are available to work with them to address issues regarding our industry’s products in their communities. There were so many attendees, that it was impossible to meet with them all, yet in a surprisingly short time, we were able to develop some really solid relationships and build significant goodwill.  The National League of Cities is a group we will continue to invest in moving forward.

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