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SXSW Interactive 2014: Five Takeaways for Marketers

by Kerry O'Shea Gorgone  |  
March 18, 2014
  |  3,098 views

This year's South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) Festival saw more than 30,000 attendees converging on Austin, Texas. Each left with a different take on the experience, as you'd expect from attendees at an event with more than 1,000 sessions.

Presentations included keynotes, book readings, mentor sessions, and more, but some of the best moments for marketers this year weren't in the sessions at all.

Here are the takeaways for marketers, each with lessons for growing your business.

1. Content shock is a thing

Author and marketing expert Mark Schaefer's session was a late addition to the roster, but that did not hinder attendance. Some 500 people packed Schaefer's 9:30 AM session on "content shock," the phrase he uses to describe what will happen when the unstoppable force of content marketing meets the immovable object of limited consumer attention.


To keep and grow your audience as the noise rises, remember to get your content RITE (revelant, interesting, timely, entertaining), Schaefer said.

Schaefer's recommendation for marketers hoping to make an impact with their content is to: "be first, and be outstanding."


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Kerry O'Shea Gorgone is a lawyer, podcaster, speaker, and writer. As Director of Product Strategy, Training, she oversees sale and distribution of MarketingProfs' premium training products. Kerry also hosts the weekly interview show, Marketing Smarts.

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  • by Christopher Johnston Tue Mar 18, 2014 via web

    1,2,3 are going to be diffucult for many because they require two things in abundance: TIME and MONEY. Great content has always been difficult but as people like Red Bull push the envelope on that it gets harder and harder to produce something really remarkable. It's also hard when you overload employees with with too many jobs. For instance one employee responsible for social media, corporate communications, email marketing, PR, video production, graphic desig, SEO, PCC campaigns, and photography. When you have that many jobs there isn't time to be creative and come up with good ideas, you just come up with what you can so you can move on to your ever growing to-do list.

  • by Kerry O'Shea Gorgone Tue Mar 18, 2014 via web

    Thanks for your comment, Christopher! I actually believe that smaller businesses, in some ways, can do better with this than big companies. For one, smaller companies often target a niche, which makes it easer to make a splash (smaller pond), they tend to forge a closer relationship with their customers and clients, and they can move more quickly to take advantage of opportunities that arise, like real-time marketing / newsjacking. What Mark Schaefer was saying is that brands need to create relevant, entertaining, timely and interesting content, be first, and really make their contribution outstanding. Small businesses can do that.

    I agree that one person can't do everything, so I'd argue for making the business case for a few channels to keep things manageable. The key is to make an impact: sometimes, you can have a greater impact on your audience when you dive deep with one channel than when you scratch the surface of many.

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