SXSW Recap

The Buzz From SXSW

While SXSW is over for 2015, the buzz it generates will have marketers, technologists, developers and everyone else thinking about how to implement what they learned. And while those lucky enough to attend were constantly running from panel to party to performance, they likely missed something in the swirl.

If you scanned the headlines from the week you might think the news stopped here: Robots are taking over, Jimmy Kimmel and Matthew McConaughey did ads for a local video store in Austin, Meerkat was the next new thing (until it wasn’t), everyone ran some version of a shark tank contest and wearables are all the rage.

But while many of the headlines were fun, marketers, developers and others will have a lot of takeaways from the discussions.

Using Data for Insights

Innovations in technology and processes that can make brands money right now still command plenty of attention, even if the robots grab more headlines.

This year, Omnicom in conjunction with Annalect, FleishmanHillard and Resolution Media brought StoryConnect to the Marriot in Austin. This real-time newsroom set-up included screens that showed a dashboard of data about what attendees were tweeting, while another monitor had news headlines. Each day, the newsroom produced daily summaries, infographics and comics based on the insights gleaned from social media.

“This is not something we really have an ROI for,” Darrel Jursa, a lead partner with FleishmanHillard, told The Wall Street Journal about the display they helped create. “But we can look at what people are talking about in Austin and turn some of that into content and insights that can be used beyond this week.”

Even though the ROI measurement isn’t here yet, it is something that startups and existing companies are working on creating. We are seeing examples of it already, like Ole Miss and their beacon technology in their campus loyalty program.

Wearable Tech

Beacons weren’t the only hot topic. Wearables and the apps to go with them captured attention throughout the week. For those who are looking for another way to connect to customers, the development should start now.

“We have to think about wearables and the Internet of Things,” app developer Roberto Moctezuma told Adweek after speaking on the topic Contextual Applications: The Next Wave at SXSW. “Because wearables produce a lot of potentially valuable data.”

The wearable electronics market, including jewelry, belts, textiles and footwear will reach more than $70 billion in 2024, up from more than $14 billion this year, according to IDTechEx and as reported by Bloomberg. All of this consumer data will have to be analyzed, meaning marketers, developers and everyone else will be looking for quick ways to find insights and reach their targets.

SXSW Music

Brands aren’t just looking at the technology side. With the music festival wrapping up the event, brands are still at the forefront of the conversation. As more artists partner with companies — think Bob Dylan and Chobani or Florence and the Machine and Apple — brands are an integral part of the experience.

Brands spent $1.34 billion on music sponsorships in 2014, according to research from IEG, LLC. And the amount is only growing.

Attendees were also talking about platforms, but not the ones you would think. SoundCloud was mentioned in 56% of the conversation, more than Spotify and Pandora combined, according to Annalect research. This insight into how people think and talk about music can help brands make smart partnerships as well as market the right product to the intended target.

While there might have been a lot to see, do, hear and drink during the festival, those who attended likely came away understanding that data and how you use it will be critical this year. Those who can quickly and efficiently harness the information flowing through their screens, wearables, apps and social channels will be able to more nimbly act on the insights the information provides.

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