LSA 2013: Dinan, Norton See More Inclusive Association

This morning at the Local Search Association conference in Las Vegas, incoming chair Bill Dinan and association president Neg Norton outlined how a changing marketplace in Yellow Pages and local search are driving the need for changes in the association.

The LSA, formerly the Yellow Pages Association, represents directory companies that are in midst of radical business change.

Dinan’s key message was that the association needs to focus more on bringing businesses associated with the new local search system into the organization. These include companies offering data, technology, platform solutions, digital agencies and others.

The LSA currently has 319 members, 120 of which are publishers, 72 of which are associate members, which are essentially partners and suppliers.

Dinan is president and CEO of Telmetrics, which provides call measurement solutions to directory publishers, as well as online and mobile companies.

“This is the first time a non-publisher or CMR has been made chair,” Dinan said. “This sends a strong message in terms of where the board thinks the association can go. Our membership base needs to be more diverse. Agencies and technology providers need same benefits as publishers and CMRs.”

This is critical not just for driving the association’s membership growth, but also integral to propel industry forward by improving interaction with companies bringing new ideas, solutions and technology to the industry.

“No one company can do it all,” Dinan said. “Partnerships are key.”

Norton followed Dinan and shared some ways the association plans to increase its value to members. These include a new digital dashboard that allows members to interact directly with industry usage data from Burke Research. The association is also focusing on using data to build insights for members. Over the past year or so, the association has consolidated three offices into one, restructured and reduced staff, including outsourcing accounting to the association management firm Smith Bucklin.

“More change is necessary,” Norton said, noting the association is examining bylaws, pricing and other issues to try to adapt the association to the new realities of the business.

Norton also shared data from new research from comscore and Burke Research. Some highlights include:

* PC based search flat-lining (comscore)
* 37% of smartphone users own other connected devices (comscore)
* 48% access local information from smartphone (comscore)
* 60% of U.S. consumers use print annually (Burke)
* There were 5 billion IYP searches last year on mobile devices (Burke)
* PYP/IYP combined are close second for total reach behind search (Burke)
* Eight of ten of contacts with a business following a Yellow Pages search are search made in same day (Burke).

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