If youre reading this youre one of thousands of marketers that will descend upon Austin for the annual SXSW Interactive Conference. The event has historically been a hotbed for emerging technologies and digital counter-culture, though over the past few years it has captured increasing attention from brands vying to connect with a new generation of consumers. The goal of this guide is to help you navigate the chaos that lies ahead and get the most out of your SXSW experience. For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow @360i during the week, and visit blog.360i.com for regular updates.
SX S W CHE AT SHEE T360iS CUR ATED GUIDE TO THE BEST OF SXSW INTER ACTIVE 2013
HELLO THEREIf youre reading this youre one of thousands of marketers that will descend upon Austin for the annual SXSW Interactive Conference. The event has historically been a hotbed for emerging technologies and digital counter-culture, though over the past few years it has captured increasing attention from brands vying to connect with a new generation of consumers. Over five days, youll have your pick of 800+ educational sessionsnot to mention dozens of parties where you can rub elbows with tech A-Listers (and perhaps even a few celebrities). It will be an exhausting jaunt, but no doubt will leave you feeling inspired and full of new ideas. The goal of this guide is to help you navigate the chaos that lies ahead and get the most out of your SXSW experience. For more tips and tricks from our team of savvy SXSW experts, be sure to follow @360i during the week, and visit blog.360i.com for regular updates.
START HERE 10 SESSIONS FOR MARKETERS TO CONSIDEROur team pored through the SXSW PanelPicker to bring you this list of cant-miss sessions. 1. PRESENT SHOCK: WHEN EVERYTHING HAPPENS NOWThis talk is about the new now, how to develop for it, create content for it, do business in it and, most of all, live in it. March 9, 5-6p @ Austin Convention Center Ballroom D
7. HOW TO THINK AND ACT LIKE A NEWSROOMDavid Berkowitz, VP of Emerging Media at 360i, joins this exclusive event with panelists from Mondelz International, Oreo and Expion to explore when & how to think like a newsroom, and what technologies and processes can help tap into the real-time zeitgeist to not only affect public opinion, but also affect a brands bottom line. March 10, 3:304:30p @ Piano Bar (421 E 6th St)
4. BACKYARD TO BRAND: MAKER CULTURE FOR BUSINESSThis talk explores how to bring the spirit of the backyard inventor into your business, and what role brands should play in the DIY revolution. March 10, 1:15-1:30p @ Hilton Austin Downtown Room 616AB
8. THE FUTURE OF LOCATION: FROM SOCIAL TO UTILITYFoursquare CEO & Founder Dennis Crowley talks about the new era of location-based services March 11, 12:30-1:30p @ Austin Convention Center Exhibit Hall 5
2. SPREADABLE MEDIA: VALUE, MEANING & NETWORK CULTUREThis session will explore how to better understand the way content circulates within contemporary networked culture. March 8, 5-6p @ Austin Convention Center Ballroom EF
5. HOW CAN BRANDS WE LOVE, TELL STORIES WE SHARE?Google presents experiments in ads, apps, social & mobile that are reimagining advertisings future. March 10, 3:30-4:30p @ Austin Convention Center Ballroom G
9. THE ECONOMY OF THE GIFThis talk will explore the history of the GIF and why the photo-video hybrid format experiencing a renaissance. March 8, 3:30-4:30p @ Omni Downtown Longhorn
3. CONTAGIOUS: WHY THINGS CATCH ONAuthor Jonah Berger explains the six elements at the core of word of mouth sensations. March 10, 12-12:20p @ Austin Convention Center Ballroom G
6. THE BIG POWER SHIFT IN MEDIABuzzFeed CEO & Founder Jonah Peretti shares advice on how your business can adapt to a world where social is the biggest growth engine. March 12, 12:30-1:30p @ Austin Convention Center Exhibit Hall 5
10. DIGITAL DRAMA: GROWING UP IN THE AGE OF FACEBOOKThis panel will explore how the Facebook generation (Millennials) differs from the ones that come before it. March 11, 12:30-1:30p @ Sheraton Austin Capitol EFGH
PANEL-PICKING LIKE A PROSXSW takes its programming seriously. Very seriously. The elusive SXSW PanelPicker process is one of the most involved and competitive of any major digital conference. Of the tens of thousands of submissions received each year, only a tiny percentage get to grace the stage(s) in Austin. That said, managing your daily schedule can become an arduous task, as attendees have hundreds of session options to choose from every single day. Here are our tips for planning your SXSW schedule.NAVIGATING THE PANELPICKER BEHEMOTHThe SXSW website lists every session for the entire conference, along with a description of the topics covered and a list of speakers or panelists. Searching through here can be overwhelming, so make the most of the search functionality to find sessions based on topic keyword (i.e. content marketing), speaker or brand/ company name. lot of trouble later on. Plan on hitting most things on your wish list, but leave room for the unexpected. There will undoubtedly be new sessions that catch your eye or new opportunities that arise. Be open to the unanticipatedthis is when much of the SXSW magic can happen.
IF YOURE APP-INCLINED, GRAB 'SXSW GO'The official conference app, SXSW GO, is free and available for both iPhone and Android. Use this service to view and build your schedule in real-time and connect with other attendees. Download at http://sxsw.com/sxswgo.
COORDINATE WITH YOUR GROUPIn advance of SXSW, connect with your colleagues to cover off on those key sessions that are most relevant to your brand. In some instances, a divide-andconquer approach can help you gain the most knowledge from the week. When in Austin, using Foursquare and group texting apps like GroupMe can be a great way to help you communicate your plans with friends or colleagues.
CHECK OUT THE SCHED GUIDEMobile event management startup Sched puts out a comprehensive unofficial guide to SXSW each year that collects virtually every session, party or event within a single easy-to-process schedule. You can peruse the 2013 edition at http:// austin2013.sched.org/.
HAVE A PLAN, BUT BE FLEXIBLEIdentifying a handful of sessions before you touch down in Austin will save you a
TACO TIME NETWORKING JUST GOT TASTYIts no coincidence that an app called Foodspotting first debuted at SXSW. Austins food scene is not to be taken lightly, with the bars, cafes and food trucks that line the streets serving as perfect opportunities to network with other marketers, hang out with tech innovators and exchange ideas with people who you might not have otherwise met. Here is a sampling of what Austin has to offer during SXSW.
TACO SHACK 402 BRAZOS ST (AT E 4TH)What to order: Grab some breakfast tacos & the El Nino for a spicy kick-start to your day. Who to meet: Perfect for the on-the-go breakfast meeting as you head towards the Convention Center. Want a sit down? Youll need to get there early & be prepared to wait. With only four tables on the sidewalk, most people take their food to go.
TAKOBA 1411 E 7TH ST (AT ONION ST)What to order: Mango-Habenero Margarita. A spicy yet sweet experienceif you dare! Who to meet: Anyone from colder parts of the world. Takoba not only offers delicious Tex Mex, but they also have plenty of outdoor seating available for soaking up the sun. Grab a margarita and toast the Austin experience.
MAGNOLIA CAF SOUTH 1920 S CONGRESS AVE (AT E MARY ST)What to order: Mag Mud, Chips & Hot Sauce (Black beans, queso, avocado & pico de gallo.) Your mouth will thank you. Who to meet: Someone you want to impress. This is the place locals go even when the SXSW crowd isnt in town.
TRENDSPOTTING THEMES TO EXPECTWhile each year there are unexpected SXSW break-out stars, the broader trends that emerge are what really set the pace for the year ahead. Here are some themes to have on the radar as you head to Austin. REAL-TIME MARKETING & AGILE BRANDSEver since Oreos much-discussed Dunk in the Dark tweetwhich garnered tens of thousands of social shares within an hourmarketers have been upping their real-time marketing efforts. Look for this conversation to evolve during SXSW, with panelists exploring the new era of social content creation and what this means for the ways in which brandagency teams are structured.
SOUTH BY SURVIVAL KITIn addition to what youd normally pack for five days away from home, don't forget these SXSW essentials.
MEME CULTURE & THE SCIENCE OF SPREADABILITYIs virality an art or a science? Memes arent magic. Web content can take off for any combination of reasons: quality of content, distribution channel, cultural relevance and others. During this age of social commentary, we expect SXSW to shed light on why #bindersfullofwomen blew up, why BuzzFeed is such a power-house and how brands can use a smart paid and earned strategy to create viral moments of their own.
WIRELESS CHARGERABCAlways Be Charging. Youll be out and about all day and outlets are a rarity, so be ready with a portable phone charger.
UMBRELLA / PONCHOThe weather in Austin can change on a dime. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
HOW TO USE BIG DATAAn industry buzzword for years, marketers are increasingly asking how Big Data can and should be leveraged to inform marketing strategy. Given the plethora of real-time data at our fingertips, the effective management of information is becoming a necessary practice for marketers. We expect that data will be a key theme in Austin, with marketers seeking insight into how to make meaning of the numbers to drive real results for their brands.
LOCATION GROWS UP (FROM CHECK-INS TO UTILITY)As smartphones become more sophisticated, location-based platforms will become more central to the ways in which people explore their world. Using mobile GPS to locate a distinct location is just the tip of the iceberg, with platforms like Foursquare and Yelp evolving into full-on mobile recommendation engines that fuel discovery.
COMFORTABLE SHOESYoull be doing a ton of walking, so wear shoes you will be comfortable in all day long.
NOTEBOOKDont let a dead battery or tech fail limit your ability to record notes. Bring a pen and paper in the event you need to go analog.
BRAND STORYTELLING IN THE DIGITAL AGEDecades ago, a brands story could only be told through a few succinct lines of copy in a print ad or within the confines of a :30 spot. Today, the opportunities for richer brand storytelling across digital platforms are many and they are powerful: from GIFs to influencer partnerships to events that bridge the gap between online and off.
THE BRAND-STARTUP DYNAMICHow can startups improve their odds of securing brand partnerships? How can brands vet opportunities from the thousands of startups that are vying for their attention? Madison Avenue and the Valley will intersect in Austin as stakeholders from both parties engage in open conversations about how to create stronger partnerships.
EYE MASK & EAR PLUGSAir travel essentials that no SXSW-er should go without.
EMERGEN-CYoull shake a lot of hands in Austin and likely carry on with little sleep. Avoid illness by giving your immune system a much needed boost, drinking water and getting as much rest as possible.
MARKETING TO MILLENNIALSGen Y isnt the prime target for all brands, but their famed digital habits sure make them coveted among many marketersespecially when it comes to social media. The irony is that Millennials are often the most vocal consumers when it comes to bad advertising, so winning them over requires a different approach. At SXSW, bank on hearing about how brands can better engage this audience by creating authentic experiences that present a true value exchange.
CONTENT STRATEGYAccording to an Econsultancy study, 90 percent of marketers agree that content marketing is increasing in importance, yet less than 40 percent of them said they have a content strategy in place. SXSW go-ers this year will be looking to break through the content marketing hype and distill actionable ways to make their brands content more strategic and thereby, more effective.
ENERGY BARS / SNACKSWhile theres no shortage of great food in Austin, there will be times when a crazy schedule can infringe on your ability to grab a hearty meal. Pack snacks to get you through the end of the dayand to the Stubbs BBQ at the end of the tunnel.