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The 2010 YPA Annual Conference, ‘Transformers,’ Defined by Optimism and Opportunity

I’m thrilled to report that our 35th annual YPA conference, “Transformers” was a great success. More than 425 Yellow Pages industry professionals from across the country and around the world joined us in sunny Las Vegas for four days of informative and imperative dialogue about the changing nature of our industry.

Like our industry, our conference was transformed this year to include a new format that highlighted Strategic Exchange Sessions (SES) instead of the traditional exhibition hall. The SES program was designed to allow companies to easily make appointments with industry executives during the conference – and the feedback we received so far has been outstanding. We’ve heard that those who participated were able to make more connections and have more quality 1:1 conversations than ever before.

Our general session and breakout sessions were also well received. The level of engagement and enthusiasm about the topics was significant – as the posts (and video) on InsideYP and on Twitter (via our hashtag, #YPA10) clearly illustrate. Some highlights include:

  • YPA Chairman Chris Cummings kicked-off the first morning session with the argument that, despite the fast pace of change in the industry, print and Yellow Pages products are performing well. He called on the industry to continue to work together to promote the facts about offerings and their usage in a transparent way to advertisers.
  • Eastman Kodak Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Hayzlett captivated the audience with a discussion of the transformation Kodak has made as the world moved away from film/print imaging to digital. As one attendee said, “If Kodak can go through that big of change in their business in that short of a time, and actually come out of it stronger, this industry should have no problem.”
  • Although unable to join us in person because of the volcanic ash situation in Europe, Jesper Karrabrink, CEO of Eniro shared a keynote address by video which discussed, among several things, the transformation necessary in our databases to be able to deliver truly relevant searches and to not be constrained by our traditional directory heading structure.
  • Local Matters CEO Mat Strover, who also participated in our “Being Built to Last” panel hosted by BIA/Kelsey, delivered a keynote today in which he explained why the future of the Yellow Pages industry will be all about relationships—and how social media is the most powerful and efficient environment to build those relationships.
  • Picking up on Chris Cummings’ point, our Advertisers Panel discussed the important of data in driving marketing decisions. Sales representatives from SuperMedia and Yellowbook, along with two long-time YP advertisers, expressed optimism that local businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of maintaining—or in some cases, reengaging—their Yellow Pages offerings.

In addition to these activities, our attendees enjoyed networking and reconnecting with one another – most notably during our Monday night Gala dinner (with our special guests!).

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s conference a success.

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