Lessons from SXSW: less buzz, more eye contact and two important trends for marketers

The SXSWI conference has grown steadily for 20 years due in large part to its buzz factor. This year’s SXSWi was different—the buzz factor was missing. In fact, the recurring theme of hallway conversations this year was precisely the lack of buzz—no dominant brand, launch, technology or story this year. No sign of the highly sharable “it” apps and mobile technology chatter of the past. This guest post comes from Metia’s Deborah Hanamura who gave us her take on what she got out of SXSW last month….

“The biggest marketing splashes at SXSW came from well-established brands that are digitally savvy, but not necessarily digitally centered, such as Oreo, American Airlines, Pepsi and Doritos. Chevy received a lot of attention with their “Catch a Chevy” promotion, but much of the interest could be attributed to the lack of shuttles and the general desperation for transportation. It’s also notable that BlackBerry invited a fresh look at their phones by sending skulking vans around the outskirts of the festival, while Doritos proudly dominated every snack stand and party.

Still, there wasn’t another darling to celebrate this year.

A few stats from the first two days of #SXSW

Over 27,000 technologists, marketers, vendors, speakers, PR girls and start-up founders have hit Austin en masse to learn about the next big thing – or mostly network at the spate of parties and three hour “happy hours” on offer. We’ve been touring the streets of Austin with our big red bus and Brandwatch and EngageSciences have been keeping a realtime board about SXSW for us at Econsultancy.

For another take on the stats surrounding SXSW, we reached out to the folks at Sysomos to get a few daily snapshots on who is talking where and what they’re talking about. As we like numbers, we thought we’d share them with you too!

Our session picks for #SXSW 2013

This year at SXSW, there seems to be a great focus on the startup, entrepreneurialship and business. Also more and more of the sessions in the various streams seem to be crossing over each other. Interactive isn’t the only place to hear about moves into the digital space and integration across channels so those here for Film and Music are getting a great deal of interactive learnings.

The Econsultancy US team are going strong in Austin covering sessions and conducting interviews of some of of the great speakers converging on Texas. You can follow along on our interactive board “SXSW Live” as we pull in the best Tweets, pictures and articles as the conference goes. 

We also pulled together a list of the few things that are going to be great to see (or at least we hope so). If you are down here at SXSW, make sure to look out for our #SXSWRedBus (we even have a real-time map to track it’s progress) and follow SXSWRedBus on Twitter.