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The Drum - What the hell are ad people supposed to do at SXSW?

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    The Drum - What the hell are ad people supposed to do at SXSW? The Drum - What the hell are ad people supposed to do at SXS

    The spirit of SXSW is serendipity – catching the unexpected, the nascent thread, the spark.

    By Laura Chavoen | March 14, 2017

    There are reasons that literally THOUSANDS of marketers – and I – head to Austin every year for SXSW, even though we know the parties and panels will be crowded, internet connectivity sporadic, and rain inevitable: The festival is the annual pilgrimage of inspiration, the ultimate networking opportunity, and sets the foundation for the rest of the year’s marketing planning.

    SXSW is called a festival for a reason; it’s a curated collection of ideas, some of which will cause a splash, many which will flash and fade, others which will never come to fruition. The panels run the gamut from introductory to hands-on and almost every topic, but the real energy, lessons and opportunities come from the pulse of the festival – the conversations between panels, during parties, and over BBQ and tacos are where ideas are parsed, applied, pressure-tested, rejected and adopted. The richness of the festival is in the discourse with friends, colleagues and perfect strangers, where the experiences and innovations are dissected, and where the theoretical is analyzed through the lens of the real world and through the dual viewpoint of marketer and consumer.

    The spirit of SXSW is serendipity – catching the unexpected, the nascent thread, the spark.

    SXSW remains relevant for marketers and brands, but your approach needs to evolve much like the festival has. No, it isn’t the same as it was in 1994 when the interactive and film tracks were first introduced, or even the same as it was in 2007 when attendance first began to swell, but it remains the premier place to meet, learn and share ideas with people from around the globe. And even with this evolution, some of you think it’s over-rated, but that’s why its crucial to understand the reasons you’re there to get the most out of your time and investment.

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