I made my annual trek to SXSW 2019 and had a great time. I'm glad I went. For attendees, SXSW is a great place to learn and connect.
The investment is about $3,000 - flight $300 - $500 dollars, hotel $1,000 or more and food.
Plus the SXSW badge.
If you just make ONE great connection or learn ONE powerful concept, it can be worth it. Ideally you'll get much more than "one".
There's hundreds (or more) of sessions on so many topics.
SXSW is also a great place to network with people.
Intentional networking where you PLAN things ahead of time or serendipity - just meeting a great connection in the elevator, at a session, in the trade show, or in line! This happened to me MANY times.
Brands and SXSW
For brands, SXSW is also a great opportunity. Here's what I've learned.
SXSW is simply the biggest show for techies, innovation, marketing and branding. There's nothing like it that has so much in one place one marketing manager told me.
It's a place where "everyone" is at. You can meet up with influencers, bloggers, journalists, key customers and more all in one place.
There's a wide range of options.
I stopped by Moo's SXSW presence, which was nestled on the 4th floor of the Hilton Hotel.
Moo had a spread of its material on showcase and encouraged people to write on a card and share it with others.
Here's a short view of their space:
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I also stopped by Dell and Capital One. They had entire buildings outfitted with a stage and areas for networking.
These are bigger activations and a considerable investment.
However, for brands looking for BIG campaigns and have big budgets, it's worth it.
A marketing manager told me that there's just no other place to interact with as money people at one time. SXSW is it.
Here's a few things to consider at SXSW.
- Speak on a panel - no sponsor cost. Just apply to the SXSW Panel picker.
- Just attend. No sponsor cost. Make appointments ahead of time and connect with customers and others who can help your brand (influencers, business development partners, etc).
- Host a dinner or lunch for a small group. No sponsor cost. Plan ahead and get together with some VIP customers who you know are attending SXSW.
- Join in under another brand and have a panel or small presence with another brand.
- Of course SXSW has a range of formal sponsor options, from small (like Moo and many other brands did), to large (like Dell or CapitalOne).
What do you want to get out of SXSW?
- Brand exposure
- Collecting leads
- Getting press coverage
Whatever your goal is, work backgrounds and ensure your investment in time and/or money is worth it!
If you've never attended SXSW I highly encourage you to go and scope it out. An associate of mine from a large sales software company was doing the exact same thing.