Published on March 8, 2014
Surviving SXSW 2014: 14 Tips from Sophisticated Marketers
This year, I will be attending SXSWi on behalf of LinkedIn. So, I thought I would tap my LinkedIn network – from 1st and 2nd degree connections, to LinkedIn Groups and Influencers – to get tips about making the experience successful. Use these 14 tips from marketers and SXSW veterans to maximize your own SXSW experience. Enjoy! Deanna Lazzaroni Sr. Associate Content Marketing Manager LinkedIn @digitaldl @LinkedInMktg
Don’t try to do too much. Pick one or two parties that don’t have a line around the block and focus on networking. And have the LinkedIn app ready to go for new connections on the fly; business cards are so passé. Jason Miller Senior Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn @JasonMillerCA
Go to at least one panel for a subject you know nothing about. SXSW attracts a huge breadth of different digital experts. So if you know nothing about mobile tech, digital currencies, or online dating… you owe it to yourself to expand your horizons at SXSW. Gary Vaynerchuk CEO, VaynerMedia @garyvee
It’s hard to make it to the (open) bar and back at South By without bumping into someone you'd normally kill to score an interview with; have some guts and your iPhone recorder handy, and you'll come home with a month's worth of blog posts. Joe Lazauskas Editor in Chief, Contently @joelazauskas
Don't fall into the trap of trying to do everything and jam packing your schedule with meetings, panels and demos. It's impossible at such a fluid event. Mark your calendar with those key sessions and meetings, then be prepared to go with the flow the rest of the time. Seeing where you end up and who you meet -- that's the beauty of SXSW. Gemma Craven Executive Director, Social Customer Engagement OgilvyOne @gemsie
Leave the suit and blazer at home. Austin is casual and people dress the part. Bring comfortable clothes that you can wear both day and night. Nicole Morin, Marketing Events Manager LIN Digital @AwestiniteLife
The blur and noise of SXSW require mobile devices and apps to plan, navigate and connect. But days are long and power can be scarce, so be sure to bring a mophie battery for your mobile phone and an extra too. In fact, bring some mifi for internet, just in case. Lee Odden CEO, TopRank Online Marketing @LeeOdden
One word: Tacos. Eric Weiner Producer, Integrated Marketing The Coca-Cola Company @weiner_eric
SXSW is an incredibly opportunity-dense networking event. You meet tons of great people, but if you can't remember the context of each encounter it's difficult to translate them into meaningful value... I like to use the speech-to-text feature on my phone to leave myself notes describing each special person I've met, the context of our interaction, and what we shared that was important. This makes it much easier to make sense of it later and nurture the encounters into real connections. Shik Sundar Head of Business Development, Percolate @shiksundar
Get your sleep. You don’t want to catch South By SARS! Pete Cashmore CEO, Mashable @PeteCashmore
Wear comfortable shoes, hydrate and don’t forget to look up from your mobile device –you never know who you might just meet in person. Brooke Hovey Executive Vice President, Digital Innovation Group Cohn & Wolfe @brookehovey
Every so often, just drop everything. Stop racing from one party to the next. Instead, take a deep breath, relax and let the action and the contacts come to you. Ryan Holmes CEO, HootSuite @invoker
The best food in Austin at #SXSW will be on the food trucks. You can follow them on this kickass map: http://bit.ly/austinfoodtrx And remember: What happens at #SXSW stays… on the Internet. #thisisntvegas Dan Chuparkoff Group Manager, Product Marketing Atlassian @chuparkoff
Throw your schedule out the door, and get over your #FOMO. The best moments I've had and most fruitful relationships I've built at SXSW were totally random, serendipitous, and wonderful. If you miss 80% of your schedule, you’re doing it right. Connie Chan Wang Social Strategist, LinkedIn @cheesycons
The best sessions fill up fast. For keynotes, be prepared to wait in line for 30 minutes or more. Have a few backups for all sessions you want to attend. You never know which will fill up or where you will be. Most importantly, drink at least 1.5 glasses of decent wine each day to help you absorb all the interesting things you saw that day. Leslie Turley Strategist, 360i @laturley
Want more Sophisticated Marketing goodness? Download this! See you at #SXSW! Deanna Lazzaroni Sr. Associate Content Marketing Manager LinkedIn @digitaldl @LinkedInMktg
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