Why go to the “Search Starts Here” conference?

A couple of weeks ago we provided some information on the upcoming 2012 Local Search Association Conference in this article.  The event will take place in Boca Raton, Florida on April 21 to 24thWe recently caught up with Association President Neg Norton to find out how the Search Starts Here themed conference is shaping up.  Since we are less than two months from the event, Neg provided some additional insights to why people should plan to attend this event.

First off, they have lined up a wide range of speakers from across the local search and directory publishing industry.  Neg notes that “it’s a strong agenda and we’re doing a few things differently this year.  We have lots of different topics and more presentation formats than in prior years.”  For example, some recent additions to the speaker lineup include Peter McDonald, CEO, SuperMedia (and Chairman of the Local Search Association);  Alfred Mockett, CEO, Dex One; Ursula Worth, head of directories and web hosting partnerships, Google; Trevor Nadeau, managing director, Yellow Medya (Turkey); Chris Silver Smith, President, Argent Media; Peter Buxton, Buxton Independent Consulting (Germany) and Krishna Pillai, COO and Founder Convergent Media.

At a time when travel budgets are tight, why attend this conference?  Neg summed it up in a concise but valuable comment – “you’ll walk away with actionable insights you can put in play the first day you are back on the job.  There will be insights from several pieces of research –– forward-looking analysis of relevant market data from both LSA and BIA/Kelsey, vSplash analysis of 500,000 websites from around the world (invitation only session), insights from local media sales reps, and more.”  Clearly, the ROI for coming to the conference is real.

If you go a little deeper in the agenda, you will find keynote speeches, panels, and fireside chats.  Some highlights:

  • Neg and Peter McDonald will provide a state of the association and industry overview,
  • Google will be talking about what they see on social, local and mobile products.
  • SMG Directory Marketing will have one of their clients focus on how a sophisticated national advertiser builds their local media plan.
  • Axiom Sales Force Development will host a session focused on tools and techniques for effective sales coaching.
  • A “lightening round” from new supplier members with new technologies and applications who will have just a short 4 minutes to talk about the newest stuff they are working on and rolling out.

The LSA conference will also continue the format they have used successfully for two prior conferences – Strategic Exchange Sessions where suppliers can get private meetings with key prospects. Neg indicated we can expect to see some new companies in the Strategic Exchange Sessions this year—companies like Adflexer, Willow Tree Apps, Axiom Sales Force Development as well as some faces from last year such as Yellow Magic, PlaceLinks, The Andersen Group, Amdocs, Acxiom—-to name just a few.

If you are looking to meet and talk with new companies, potential new partners, the conference has a number of social networking opportunities.  Last year the conference attracted around 400 attendees.  This year’s event is on track to reach the same levels.  Given the expansion of the association beyond the traditional directory space, expect a noticeable increase in “non-traditional” companies.  Many will be companies the industry is already doing business with; and others are looking to enter the space with their new products and services.  Here are some of the formal networking events scheduled:

  • There is the annual golf tournament on Sunday morning, a more casual environment for making and building great connections.
  • The Industry Excellence Awards will be held Sunday evening, with a reception that follows allows for mixing and mingling over drinks and light refreshments.
  • The President’s New Member and Associate Member Reception (invitation only) offers a chance to meet the newest      members of the association, as well as those who support the local search industry.
  • The Poolside Party Monday night offers a lively environment for conversation over dinner and cocktails.

And with all that, it is Florida, so attendees can maybe get a chance to enjoy the sunshine and great weather they have this time of year.  This truly is no long just a yellow pages conference; it really is a true local search happening….

Go register now at: http://bit.ly/wdQ4Ux. Tell them YP Talk sent you…

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