There’s a theory that the best programming at SXSW occurs Friday through Sunday, and that the later sessions are an afterthought. If today’s content was any indication, that theory is dead wrong. From how Whole Foods is moving their mobile experience forward to Vox Media and the evolution of their publishing platform…we might be tired, but Tuesday was full of great information.
- The last day of SXSWi usually sees the crowds die down a bit as the transition to music is in full swing but there are still a lot of great sessions to take in before interactive comes to an end. First for me was a marketing speaker discussing content and how to get the right stories in front of the right audience. His talk centered around the idea that hoping to gain traffic or views without purpose or strategy is an empty pursuit that will lead to failure. Identify and recognize your loyal audience and build content that they will consume and share.
- I attended “For Media, It’s Platform or Perish” so I could hear the Chief Product Officer at Vox Media, the company that my website is a part of, speak alongside someone from the editorial side of Al Jazeera+. I really enjoyed hearing how both publishers designed every piece of content they produce for the specific platform it will live on. For example, Al Jazeera creates videos for Facebook with no audio for the first 10 seconds, so that users who see muted autoplay videos in their Newsfeed still get an appropriate experience.
- My last session of SXSW 2015 was lively panel on Twitter and how brands can get the most out of the platform without embarrassing themselves. A valuable tip that came from the group is one that is often ignored by brands large and small: have a plan in place for managing access to your Twitter account and consistently check-in and audit who is able to post as your brand to stop a social media mistake before it happens.
- It was really interesting to hear from the folks responsible for mobile technologies at Tyson Foods and Whole Foods in “Saving Stores: How Mobile and Data Increase Store Visits” – particularly as it relates to enhancing and increasing on-the-ground store visits. As we get smarter with the technology that is available to us, marketers are beginning to note that it takes less and less to help a customer the closer they get to the shelf. Marketers and communicators need to understand that concept so that were not “heavy-handing” customers to a fault when they are getting ready to purchase.
- In that same session, Whole Foods’ Laura Kelso discussed the possibility for apps to provide “food transparency” information in real time – so that we can receive sourcing information about the product we’re considering buying, even without labeling requirements. The information era continues to grow…
- Possibly my favorite presentation of the entire show came from Trend Hunter CEO Jeremy Gutsche. In his “Better and Faster: Predict Opportunity & Win in 2015” he talked about specific triggers to recognize – and then act on – great ideas so that you can keep your business relevant rather than falling by the wayside. Specifically, the reason companies or even industries fail can be boiled down to three mistakes: becoming complacent, becoming repetitive, or becoming too protective. Always look for self-improvement, and always search for new innovation.
- My final session of the conference was titled “The Future is Short-Form: Storytelling for Today,” and when it comes to producing digital content, even in today’s market where there are thousands of platforms, the key is not obtaining the largest audience, but rather speaking to tailored audiences on each platform. Great advice for evolving your content plans in 2015.
~ Jim and Jon