10 Ways for B2B Marketers to Optimize Your SXSW Trip to Austin

Written by: Lusi Muradyan on 2/29/16 11:20 AM


This month tens of thousands of people will descend on Austin, TX for one of the biggest conferences in the country. SXSW Interactive is fun, memorable, packed with useful sessions and, frankly, completely overwhelming.With so many SXSW sessions and events to choose from – not to mention everything else in Austin worth checking out – figuring out your schedule can be tedious. Maybe we can save you some of the trouble. For the B2B marketer heading to SXSW this year, here are some tips and events you should definitely consider. 

  1. Plan breaks and know where to take them.
 If you’ve attended SXSW before, then you know how important this one is. There will be so much you want to do that considering time for breaks and rest will feel wasteful – it will mean you’re missing something! But trust me, do it. The flip side of how fun and packed full of value SXSW Interactive is, is that it’s downright exhausting.   Luckily, a couple of marketing’s biggest players are setting up lounges to help attendees take some time to recharge in between events. Marketo’s Hydration Station will be on the 6th floor of Hilton Austin Downtown on 4th street, and Bazaarvoice’s Chill Lounge will be at JW Marriot on 2nd street. 
  1. Friday Session Highlight: Innovative Brands Using Data-Driven Marketing
 At Hive9, we’re pretty big fans of data-driven marketing. Access to better data and more sophisticated tools to help marketers make good use of it is completely reshaping how marketing looks – for the better. This session will examine a few specific examples of how data-driven marketing is working now for companies actively putting it to use. For any B2B marketer ready to make better use of data, this is one not to miss! 
  1. Saturday Session Highlight: Search Camp: Converting SEO to ROI
 Does your marketing organization care about SEO? Silly question, of course you do. You pretty much can’t be a marketer in 2016 without being concerned about SEO. Yet for how often marketers talk about it and how much of the budget gets invested in it, lots of businesses still struggle to get a real ROI out of their SEO efforts. This session will help provide tips on how to bridge the gap between all those SEO efforts and the revenue you want search to bring in. 
  1. Saturday Session Highlight: Programmatic Advertising in the Age of CX
 Now that marketers have access to the data that makes it possible, consumers have increasingly come to expect personalized marketing experiences. While we’ve been working for a while to make that level of customization possible, most marketing orgs are far from pulling off the level of success they’d like. This session examines how the data and technology we have access to as marketers can help us shape better marketing experiences for consumers. 
  1. Saturday Session Highlight: Humans, Not Machines: Content is About Connecting
 Technology absolutely has its place in today’s marketing landscape (and we’re big believers in how much it can help businesses to improve results), but it will never take the place of people. This session looks at how important it is to make sure that you have smart, insightful people driving your marketing campaigns. No matter how complicated or cool the marketing tech you invest in is, it will only be as useful to you as the people using it. 
  1. Sunday Session Highlight: Analytics for Social Marketing
 Social media is a necessary tool in every marketing organization’s toolkit, but like everything else you do, you need to be able to measure and analyze what’s working. Social media analytics can help you understand your customers better and stay on top of marketing trends, but only if you can manage to track and analyze your analytics effectively. This session will discuss how to do just that. 
  1. Monday Session Highlight: Dashboards Are Easy: Visualization is Hard
 Everyone’s talking about data. If you didn’t already know it was a subject on marketers’ minds, a quick look through the SXSW calendar would have made it apparent. But too much data can make it nearly impossible to pull out the information you need most – that is, unless you have the means to visualize it in an organized and easy-to-understand way. This session examines the increasingly important field of data visualization that helps businesses do that. 
  1. Attend the parties and network!
 The sessions may be the big draw of SXSW Interactive, but because of how well they do their job, you’ll find yourself within a small geographic radius of thousands of other brilliant professionals. Take advantage of the opportunity! Head to the evening parties and start conversations with new people. You never know who you’ll meet. 
  1. Take a break from downtown and see more of Austin.
 We already mentioned how overwhelming SXSW can get. Consider scheduling a chunk of time to get out of the thick of it and see some of the rest of the city. Just a little north of downtown, you’ll find a number of museums within walking distance of each other along MLK, including the Blanton Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. A little south of downtown, you’ll find a distinct side of Austin with great spots for hanging out like Radio Coffee and Beer and the Moontower Saloon

That’s still just a tiny list of the activities and cool spots Austin has to offer outside of downtown. It’s a big city with a lot going on. If you need a break from the crowds, don’t be afraid to venture out of the city hub and into the rest of the city.
  1. Sleep.
In theory, we shouldn’t have to tell you this one. Everyone knows humans have to sleep, right? It can be easy to get caught up in everything going on though. If you spend too long at those evening parties and take advantage of a few too many of those free drinks vendors are handing out, you won’t get as much out of the next day’s sessions. Give your body time to recover so you’ll be fresh and attentive and ready to take on each new day.

SXSW is like nothing else on earth. It’s a huge celebration of innovative ideas, creativity, and entertainment. You’ll be making memories on this trip, so make sure you do your best to enjoy every minute of it.

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Topics: Hive9