I just spent five days at the South by Southwest Interactive festival, a conference that focuses on emerging technologies such as social media, web 2.0, development tools, cutting edge marketing and startups.
It’s a wild and woolly cornucopia of ideas, networking, presentations and parties.
As a marketer I am always on the lookout for new ideas to help companies generate awareness and get customers. SXSW provided plenty of great ideas, too many to list here.
So I narrowed down what I observed and learned into five key lessons marketers can implement in their businesses.
1. Think Like a Startup
SXSW Interactive is THE conference for startups. Many of them launched their products right there at the festival, or participated in the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator, or their founders were panelists in one of the 400 or so presentations.
The one determining characteristic of all startups is their resourcefulness. Most startups these days are not flush with millions in venture funding like their counterparts in the late 90s, so they have gotten really good at doing a lot with a little.
There are so many creative tactics, such as holding social media contests, sponsoring free food for event goers, and of course handing out freebies to everybody.
However, my favorite is creative PR. Startups are great at getting noticed by the press, and have figured out low-cost to no-cost ways to do that. A group of local Austin entrepreneurs, known as the 5 Kilts Guys, paraded around Austin during SXSW wearing kilts to promote local Austin businesses to conference goers.
Crazy? Maybe. Effective: yes. They got national exposure through an article on CNN.com.
Action item: brainstorm creative ways you can generate buzz or press attention. Maybe wearing a kilt is a little too much for you, but the possible ideas are endless and as a marketer you can use this to your benefit.
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