For as long as I’ve been going to SXSW, the festival has struck a creative balance between music and technology. But this year, that changed. In fact, the music side was so over-the-top sponsored with established artists playing corporate gigs, it no longer felt like it was about art or offering a platform for new artists to be discovered. I also found more creative and meaningful conversations during the Interactive events than on the music side. So next year Interactive, in lieu of music, gets my vote for attendance. However, if it’s not too bold on my part, I’d like to offer a few suggestions about how SXSW might beef up it’s interest to people who work in music and interactive.
At many of this year’s panels I found myself longing to discuss or be exposed to new points of view and topics, but too often the lexicon was full of identical tech acronyms and buzz words that we have heard year after year. Why? Because everyone now fancies themselves a digital marketer and so the conversations remain focused on Digital Marketing 101. However, there is a large SXSW group ready to move to the 202 level courses.
It’s gratifying to see so many people now invested in digital marketing, but a little unsettling that only parts of it are being embraced and recited. Digital marketing is a lot more than just social media. I am not denying social is huge, but likes and followers are the low hanging fruit and cannot be the cornerstone of your digital strategy. Do we all need a one word reminder of why? Oh yeah, MySpace.
Today’s online curriculum should be a mix: of sales, advertising, content, social media, promotion and publicity. All of the parts must work together to be successful coupled with the knowledge that without great music and a respect for the fan, none of it matters.
So here are the five most actionable and important elements to a digital marketing agenda that I believe everyone should be excited about.
1) Understanding and utilizing YouTube to its fullest capacity
2) Embracing the power of digital advertising
3) Becoming versed in the second layer of social data
4) Re-invigorating enthusiasm for geo-targeting tools and messaging
5) Why data collection still reigns supreme
If you’re going to dabble in data and digital marketing, dabble where it counts, not just what is easily accessible. Stay tuned as I discuss the topics outlined above in future columns and explain why you should be excited by them too. Margaritas and brisket are optional.