BIG RED DOG – Marketing attends SXSW: a festival of new ideas with a $325 million economic impact

March 22, 2017 by Amy Hageman

South By Southwest (SXSW) is a big deal. It’s a 10-day interactive/film/music/everything festival that brings people from all over the world to Austin to swap ideas and see new talent. According to a study from SXSW, the 2016 festival resulted in a $325 million economic impact on Austin. Thanks to some luck this past summer, I won a free badge to attend the Interactive portion. I didn’t know what to expect, other than that I’d attend as many “Brand & Marketing” sessions as possible and take what I learned back to BIG RED DOG in my role as a Marketing Coordinator. My mind was blown. Every day there were at least 50 interesting panels; it was hard to choose, but I picked 16 to attend and learned something different in each one.

These are a few of the marketing takeaways I learned at SXSW 2017:

Panel Title: Best Behavior – Prompting Preferred Patterns

  • Takeaway: This panel was about “nudge theory,” which is about hacking human nature using subtle, context-driven interventions. Nudge theory says that marketers can digitally nudge by making the unrelatable, relatable and by making the distant, immediate. At BIG RED DOG, an example of applying the nudge theory is by providing project details to help non-engineers relate to our projects. Here are some examples of nudge theory in use:

Panel Title: Enhancing Social Media Posts with New Tech

  • Takeaway: There were three speakers at this panel, all of whom have created online video/media accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. One of the speakers said that the majority of 9-5 workers don’t listen to videos, so make sure to add text/captions to videos. Another speaker mentioned the importance of creating videos in a vertical format versus horizontally. He said this was important for two reasons – you’ll lose viewers if they have to rotate their phone to watch and vertical videos take up more screen real estate. BIG RED DOG has plans to create more videos. As we do this, we’ll keep these tips in mind.

Panel Title: Video 10x: Creating Scalable Content

Takeaway: This panel of video production professionals was aimed at helping brands get their videos around the world, i.e., scale your video by 10x. I learned that 75% of the content on the internet is video (!), which shows there’s a huge demand and people are consuming it like never before. I also was reminded that videos should first and foremost tell a story, not push a brand. And, finally, a video producer said she lives by the phrase, “publish or perish,” and nailed home the point of just getting videos out there…being consistent!

Panel Title: Who has the Guts to Invest in Content?

Takeaway: With four panelists ranging from the Creative Director of Buzzfeed to the former CMO of Converse, this panel was packed with helpful insight on creating meaningful marketing content. One panelist said that the best marketing/content risks are ones that they have a chance of creating a connection with your followers/customers. Another panelist said that brand loyalty is developed when you reach out to your customer between their purchases and when you say thank you and listen, versus trying to sell something else. And, finally, another panelist said to test content copy with A/B testing because you may be saying the same thing with two different social media posts, but one may have more relatable wording. At BIG RED DOG, we’re always trying to be creative with our content, but A/B testing would guide our posts.

Overall, SXSW was an educational experience and one of my favorite parts was being around folks from other industries. Tech, retail, publishing, film, etc. professionals are all trying to connect with their target audience, which is what we’re trying to do at BIG RED DOG. By getting ideas from non-A/E/C people, BIG RED DOG will continue to lead the way as a risk-taking, think-outside-the-box, engineering firm. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Blog to see what new marketing content we’re producing.

Written by Amy Hageman

Amy Hageman

Amy Hageman directs all marketing and media related functions for BIG RED DOG. She also maintains and develops client relationships to ensure the people we do business with are satisfied with our services. Amy holds a B.A. in Business Administration from St. Edwards University, and she is active in the Urban Land Institute, Real Estate Council of Austin, Coastal Conservation Association, and the Society for Marketing Professional Services. She enjoys spending her time training for destination endurance races, hunting, fishing and being with her family, friends and two dogs.