Aside from the fact that it is a whirlwind of fun experiences, often enjoyed with old friends and colleagues from all different walks of life and industries, compounded with great food, loud music and lots, and I do mean LOTS of drinks, there are good reasons for almost anyone who works in marketing or events to attend South By.#1 – Inspiration:
As an event marketer, there are often times brand activations make me say “WOW!” (More often than not that is followed by a string of expletives and a “why didn’t I get that business!”) HBO, for example, followed up their unparalleled town take-over West World exhibit from 2018 with a Games of Thrones experience, Bleed for the Throne complete with a live blood drive.
Amazon Prime Video’s Good Omens took over 19,000 square feet as 70 actors dressed as angels and demons roamed Austin convincing festival goers the apocalypse is upon us. AND as if baby goats weren’t analog enough for Viceland, they opened a retro roller rink this year.#2- Discovery:
You’ll experience the latest and greatest of technology and future-forward innovations. In 2018, inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil spoke of the holographic ability to be present for a speech or performance, when his actual being was halfway around the world. This year, I witnessed a holographic DJ spinning tunes at the Booz Allen Hamilton party. You had to get within a couple of feet to see he was not really there. Imagine what this could mean for talent at events.
On the trade show floor, there was a beer vending machine, embedded with the technology to check IDs. Just like Clear, you sign up through an App that authenticates your ID and ties it to your fingerprint. Think of the implications this has for the spirits and beer industry.#3- Production factor:
Whether it’s 50 foot painted wall-scapes that appear overnight, parking lots that are transformed into tented immersions or restaurants that are completely taken over with a brand’s color, the level of production at SXSW is unparalleled. Great examples of “how to” and what is possible.#4- Knowledge:
18, count ‘em, eighteen different tracks, hundreds if not thousands of sessions. The learning potential at SX is unbelievable. In fact, people can even get continuing education credit for certain sessions. There was a strong focus on Government this year with rooms sold out days in advance. Canna-business also had its own micro-track within the Med-tech sector. From food to film, you can really learn at South By, if you apply yourself.#5- Networking:
From who you may sit next to at a sponsored happy hour to the dozens of spontaneous conversations struck up at houses, sessions, and events, it’s one of the best places to meet individuals who are genuinely interested in new connections.
So, get your name on the list now for #theartofexperience House in 2020!