Its been a crazy few days in Austin, and despite everyone warning me that it would be overwhelming, its still surprising how much goes on at South by Southwest (SXSW). New product launches, bloggers, social media discussions, panels, keynote speakers and tons of swag. It really is an amazing mix of Silicon Valley start ups, thought leadership, communications folks, established online brands, established corporate brands, marketing people, advertising experts, tech geeks (I say that lovingly) and anything and everything social media. As an agency employee who focuses on communications and social media strategy, it’s a pretty amazing place to be. I will be recapping some of the specifics from the show after I’ve had a chance to sort through the ridiculous amount of information and let some of it soak in, but for now, here are a couple of the main items that stand out in my mind so far from SXSW 2011:
- Lots of discussion about measurement and metrics – what are the best ways to show clients that social media is moving the needle? No one really seems to have the silver bullet on this topic, but there are a lot of solid methods for proving social media’s worth.
- Mobile sites vs. Mobile Apps – who is doing what, what is working, is it better to have a mobile site or create an app from scratch? There seem to be a LOT of “app in a box” companies popping up as well, making it much easier for brands to enter that space in the future.
- QR Codes – you can’t swing an iPad without hitting a QR code down here. Scavenger hunts (see below), branding microsites and quite a few free drink offers!
- Video – The advent of Flip cameras and the like have made everyone a producer in today’s world. There is a lot of discussion surrounding video strategy and how to actually make videos that provide value to your customer. It’s one thing to upload a video, it’s another to post a video that will make a difference (see “metrics” above).
- Location-based media – FourSquare and Gowalla have gone all out for South by Southwest. I checked in at a few Pepsi-related locations and earned a “Golden Ticket” badge that got me into a private concert on Monday night. There are a lot of fun things happening in the location-based world despite the fact that no one totally has it figured out from the business side yet.
Below is a video to show you a little more about SXSW 2011 – thanks to Doug and Lauren, our friends and clients from Qdoba Mexican Grill for chipping in.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to www.rightnow.com for “The Game” scavenger hunt. Using QR Codes and Twitter hashtags, I ended up winning Sunday’s grand prize – a new Nikon D7000 with a lens that will make me the envy of my photo-snapping friends. As the lucky winner, it’s easy for me to say, but The Game was a great use of multiple platforms that really fosters the type of engagement we’re all working to achieve through social media.