The Struggle is Real: SxSW2015 Day 3 in 5 Must-Attend Sessions


Aishwarya Krishnamurthy

March 15, 2015 5 min read

Updated on April 28, 2021


It’s already Day 3 at SxSW Interactive! For those of you who partied a little too hard last night – we applaud you, drink plenty of water so that the pounding in your head calms down. If you are reading this while already on a 5 mile jog that you’ve managed to squeeze in before breakfast – you are a champion and my role model. If you’ve been following my guides for Day 1 and Day 2 – I hope you’ve had a great South by experience so far! Today’s schedule was a bit of a struggle because as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get it down to only 5 events (I know, I had one job, right?)

So go ahead, grab a cup of coffee, parse through the agenda and get ready for another exciting day! You should also check out the live stream on Ad Age of brands and agencies tweeting #SxSW, powered by Unmetric. Need a little Uptown Funk dance party to get your day started? We got you –

Or you could just turn the radio on – it only plays about 7 times an hour.

9:30 AM Advocates vs Agitators: the Social Influence Link

“Ignore Yelp at Your Own Risk” warned Forbes when the online review site joined Bing and Apple Maps in 2012. Fast forward to 2015 where a restaurant owner was applauded for refusing to be cowed down by a couple of Yelpers, and the question becomes – when do brands decide to stand up to the trolls and not allow themselves to be bullied?

Social Media has undoubtedly become one of the most popular, and personal forms of customer relationship management (CRM), and should be monitored and benchmarked on a regular basis. Apart from being cognizant of the Average Reply Time, which is a quantitative measurement, brands should also be aware of the qualitative value of these interactions – not just for the customer, but for the brand itself. Whether the review is good or bad, brands need to understand the impact of these influencers and how to deal with the real time feedback. #influencer

9:30 AM Captivology: The Science of Capturing Attention Link

Another session taking place at the same time deals not just with marketing, or brands but with human nature itself. At the heart of marketing is the need to grab your audience’s attention and to retain it through your entire message. However this is only getting harder as Content Strategy has been replaced by ‘Microcontent Strategy,’ and this has pervaded all kinds of media (ironically, except for Medium).

This pre-roll ad from GEICO is just one way that brands are already adapting to this shorter attention span, and is a perfect example of how you can learn incredible lessons by monitoring brands that are outside your industry! According to host Ben Parr, this session “will examine the psychological phenomena that trigger shockingly predictable responses in the mind—and show how to leverage them to retain attention for your ideas, products, companies, and more.” Sounds good to me. #captive

11:00 AM – Market to Win: Success the Era of Engagement Link

In his article on Medium, our Head of Global Marketing Rick Liebling refers to a significant shift in what brands value when it comes to social media benchmarking – it’s no longer about raw numbers – followers, retweets or subscribers. It’s about engagement, and what that engagement means in terms of meeting business objectives. The way companies interact with customers has changed forever, with customers now in the driver’s seat of this relationship. Marketers today must take on the role of the navigator – creating continuous and personalized relationships in order to guide the conversation back to their brand, to avoid being booted out of the car entirely. #eraengage

11:00 AM – Why Editorial Calendars Make Your Content Suck Link

The headline of the second session had us on the back foot – editorial calendars are something that we encourage digital marketers to be aware of because they provide a neat schedule for consistent content production. But when we looked at the session description, we found something that had us hooked – innovating the editorial calendar to three new models: consumer-driven, data-driven and conversation-led models of content creation.

While not completely doing away with the security of an editorial calendar, the three models proposed does capture the need to adapt content for multiple purposes – with emphasis on developing content that better align with audience’s interests. #ContentWS

[P.S: I feel like I would be failing you if I didn’t mention that some of the cast and crew of Community are also hosting a session at the same time! #sixseasonsandamovie]

12:30 PM – Love Letters: Building Brand and Community – Link

Who better to learn about Pinterest from, than Pinterest itself! According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Pinterest is one of the most beloved tech brands with a highly engaged user base – a user base that you should already be capitalizing on! This virtual pin board has managed to maintain a loyal fan base while also learning to adapt itself to reach a wider audience. If you’re unsure about Pinterest, here are a couple of best practices that will help you get started. Whether you’d like to learn more about Pinterest or about maintaining a fan base as loyal and involved as Pinners, this is the session you should be at. #luvletter

3:30 PM – Lost in Translation: Slang, Search and Social – Link

The Bee Gees said it best, or maybe you’re young enough to only remember Ronan Keating’s version of it – “It’s only words, but words are all I have… to take your heart away.”

Content strategy is all about words, customer feedback is all about words. And even though posts with images do better on social media – at the heart of all communication – is words. So what happens when everyone isn’t speaking the same language, even when everyone is speaking English? Data can tell you that two customers have reviewed your company as wicked – it can’t tell you that one of them means ‘wonderful’, ‘great’, ‘cool’, ‘splendid’ and one means pure evil. The truth is that machines and algorithms aren’t able to pick up on language subtleties. This is why one of our new product updates is customizable sentiment, where you get to decide the sentiment post by post.

Find out how Natural Language Processing (NLP) is tackling context in search and social media in this session (or just reach out to us if you’d like to see our customizable sentiment in action.) #SXSWSlang

Honorary Mention – sessions that nearly made the cut.

12:45 PM – Disloyalty Marketing: Art of the One Night Stand Link: The concept of ‘brand tourists’, or fans that are not entirely faithful to your brand, is something we’ve previously discussed. This 15-minute session promises to highlight “how embracing an open relationship and engaging in one-night stands with consumers can actually create a more authentic and enduring loyalty.”

5:00 PM – Emerging Digital Trends 2015 Link: In the session’s own words – If an experiential science fair got together with your favorite year-ahead predictions magazine feature, this would be their strangely endearing love child.

If you’d like my recommendations for the rest of the event – just subscribe to the blog and get these curated schedules delivered straight to your inbox!

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