SXSW, or South by Southwest, if you didn't know (now you know), is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place during mid-March in Austin, Texas. SXSW 2017 was bigger and better than ever before… and its interactive portion, what people often get most excited about, served as the first half of the event down south this year. It was dedicated to emerging tech and the ever-growing world of digital. We've done a little research about what came of SXSW Interactive, as well as the conference as a whole, and, well, we’ve got a good bit to say.
As aforementioned, SXSW Interactive brings everyone in attendance to the same place during the first week of the conference—which with an event as big as SXSW, is no easy feat. Tens of thousands of people flock to the groovy city of Austin during this multi-week event to see just what the fuss is all about... and we don't think we've ever heard of someone who arrived or left disappointed. From epic VR experiences to AI robots, the conference consistently delivers. The whole point behind this clever, too-cool symposium? To get people talking. To get them snapping and Instagramming and tweeting about their time. And guess what? It works.
Our friends over at AdWeek really took the whole research thing to the next level during SXSW and went down there to experience it all for themselves (lucky!). They rounded up their coolest, most wild findings for your pleasure here. Be sure to take a look.
But what’s most impressive to us about this whole SXSW thing isn’t necessarily that the participating brands successfully pulled off these stunts at one of the biggest and most innovative conferences this country has to offer. Rather, it’s that they had the guts to do it, and put themselves on the big screen for the over 72,000 registrants and artists in attendance… yeah, that number of people checking out your work and telling every person they know about it, and whether or not they like it, is no joke.
SXSW is one of the most effective channels for promoting your business to professionals connected in the interactive, film, and music industries. Which is great! But we’d be lying if we said that even as Inbound marketing professionals, showing your stuff in front of that many knowledgeable and inventive people wouldn’t be pretty terrifying.
The marketing sector of SXSW was also highly talked about after all was said and done, and for us, apart from the interactive portion, that's where the magic happened. Digital transformation was high on the docket, which fits perfectly with what we've been saying for a while now. SXSW presenters spoke about how every brand these days is forced to move faster in order to keep up with the world of marketing and technology at large (remember that blog we wrote on how mobile is changing web design? Well, things just keep truckin’ on, and faster than ever, it seems). This means that planning isn't always in the equation. Well, it isn't always at the forefront of the equation. Sound crazy? That's fair. Especially when you consider how much planning must have gone into the Innovation portion of this conference. But we’re really talking about the day-to-day stuff that marketers like us deal with. Victor Lee, Hasbro's SVP of digital marketing made a comment during SXSW that resonated with us: "If you preplan... you'll never be interesting." Marketers, therefore, he suggests, should always be on the verge of failing; always on the verge of succeeding beyond their wildest dreams. In order to evolve, we cannot be complacent with the status quo. Perhaps that’s what the Innovation portion of SXSW really taught us. More even than the awesome experiential marketing activations ever could, we had to come to this conclusion on our own.
Marketing is all about informing others. On that same note, though, we have to be sure that we don’t let ourselves fall by the wayside—that we don’t forget to inform ourselves, and don’t forget to stay informed. SXSW is an annual reminder of that.
Tell us if you were lucky enough to attend—and if you did, why we should go next year (as if it wasn’t already obvious enough!)