SXSW has emerged in recent years as one convention that is an absolute must to attend for anyone plugged into tech, entertainment, healthcare, social media, music, music, film, television, and, yes, marketing.
Today more than ever, SXSW is hallowed ground for modern marketers, where the innovations touted in digital marketing are every bit as captivating and awe-inspiring as the hardware and software launched on the convention floor.
“I spoke with a senior marketing executive from a financial services company,” says David Berkowitz of AdAge, “and he told me he’d rather spend half a million dollars to send 100 people from his company to Austin than create some branded experience there.”
According to Berkowitz, brand marketers are more motivated than ever to leverage SXSW to learn and forge connections.
“That’s why SXSW hasn’t become some logo-fueled episode of Invasion of the Startup Buzz Snatchers,” he adds. “Startups still have the upper hand here. They’re the main attraction. Marketers are lining up to meet the best of them, whether the startups are doing something totally new or they have spent the past few years proving their models. These marketers don’t even care who counts as a startup. What marketers appreciate is that SXSW attracts a self-selecting mass of creative, interesting, innovative and curious technologists. Marketers want to learn from almost any of them, partner with the most relevant ones, and perhaps invest in, acquire, or try to compete with those they think are most impactful to their business.”
After only one week in SXSW, even the greenest of marketing rookies tend to depart from Austin with enough marketing experience to warrant a college degree, and not just in the cutting-edge ways of interacting and reacting in the digital age.
“Remember how the business card was dead?” asks Linda Lacina of Entrepreneur. “That mobile had taken over and that tiny squares of cardstock were obsolete? That is a lie, or at least an exaggeration; I’ve never passed out so many business cards as I have at SXSW and I’ve restocked several times.”
So, we’ve gotta ask. What’s been your greatest marketing experience or lesson at this year’s SXSW convention?