Day 2: On the Ground @ SXSW

Posted by Mitchell Communications Group on March 8, 2014

Mitchell Communications Group has four team members on site at SXSW – the music, film and interactive festival that has taken over Austin, Texas. Here are their ah-ha moments from Saturday, as SXSW unveils the technology of tomorrow today.

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Crowd 01I kicked off the day with Feature Assassins, which featured reps from SkillShare, Disqus, Soundcloud and Stack Overflow. Talking about slimming down web features was a welcome discussion. Here was one great tip from the discussion: Anytime a feature is added on your site, one should be removed. But it is important to remember that for your user base, it is a lot easier to launch a new feature than to remove one.

– Jameson Sheppard, associate creative director

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A few tidbits worth sharing from a session on the Mobile Majority:

  • Within six months, cell phones will outnumber computers.
  • Companies need to think about the life cycle of their mobile apps. Most die out after three months. What’s your long-term strategy?
  • Make the mobile experience ubiquitous. Allow customers to easily jump in and out of your app, go to your website, read your blog, etc. Offer them paths to follow that are engaging and helpful – all on their phones.
  • Mobile is relevant for high-end products and services, as well. Like any marketing strategy, you have to know your audience and how to best serve them. If you are selling diamonds, customers might not purchase your items through mobile, but that’s where they are going to research and get recommendations. Be the best steward of your industry’s information.

– Kate Andersen, vice president of creative and digital services

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Social media now creates an audience voice that is louder (or sometimes quieter) and much wider than the traditional stage, radio and television audiences of the past. The primary difference is that all audience participants have a voice, both good and bad, and can now engage not only with the “performers” (brands, individuals, etc.), but also with the other audience members.

In TV shows of old, there were signs that told the audience when to engage. They might tell them when to laugh or clap or react in other ways. Today, we have Twitter hashtags, which transforms the audience sign into a “talk” sign by encouraging engagement online while the show is being performed. This could be on television, at a concert, in a theater, etc. In some cases, you don’t even have to watch the show or be present to know what is going on.

– Greg Smith, director of marketing

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There is so much to see and do at SXSW, and one highlight today was Brian Wong, CEO of KIIP, who discussed data about happiness. Key takeaway: serendipitous rewards; reward your fans without them expecting it.

My favorite vendor booth was The Strain's "Transformation Station," where you can book a pod to take a 30-minute nap. While in the pod, you can charge your phone or watch a clip of the new show, read some of the comic book or listen to audio of the book. The brand integration was fantastic and made me look forward to the show's debut in July.

– Ann Hecksher, digital and social media account coordinator