Interactive Marketing Insights from SXSW 2012

ReachLocal SXSW 2012

At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, TX, thousands of marketers, developers, and digital strategists met for a marathon of learning sessions, networking opportunities, and glimpses into what brands from large to small are doing in the digital realm.

On Saturday, we were excited to kick off the week with ReachLocal’s own Mike Merrill and Tiffany Monhollon speaking to a standing-room only crowd about local marketing. The session, titled “Your Marketing Sucks: Why You Need to Think Local,” offered 10 practical tips that marketers – from independent local businesses to large, national brands – can use to incorporate local into their online marketing strategy. Here are some of the top tweets and highlights that attendees shared from the session:

  • “So simple – we are all local. We live somewhere, so #market to us there w/ an integrated strategy.” – Amy Daniels, amedaniels
  •  “Search engines are the number 1 source of online information on local businesses for local consumers. Requires strategy.” – Evan Schmidt, @e_sosh
  •  “45% of marketers not geo-modifying their paid search = local fail.” – Steve Agganis, @sagganis
  •  “88% of those who look for local info on a smartphone take action within a day.” – LindsayVaughn, @lindsayvaughn
  •  “More and more search has local intent. Are you thinking about that in your marketing?” – Victoria Harres, @victoriaharres
  •  “67% consumers would not purchase a product/service after reading 1-3 negative reviews” – Elysa Rice, @elysa
  •  “Host events to invite local influencers and get to know them”  – Andrea Dunbeck, @acdunbeck
  •  “Local marketing includes local reputation management/monitoring” – Andrea Dunbeck, @acdunbeck
  •  “100% of all people live somewhere! Quote from #sxlocalchat . Obvious but shows the importance of local brand identity!” – Wayne Edmiston, @wayneedmiston 

You can download the session handout from SlideShare to learn more.

SXSW Soundbytes

With hundreds of sessions packed into the five days of the Interactive portion of SXSW, there was a little something for everyone – and a diverse array of topics and speakers from across the globe. Some of our favorite topics focused on social media insights, mobile marketing and innovations, and how the future of technology may impact user experience, customer expectations, and marketing. So, here are few of our favorite soundbytes from the week.

Social Media Insights
Many sessions offered insights into social media tools, direct from company experts, as well as practical applications from industry thought leaders. Here are some social media insights that attendees shared on Twitter:

  •  “Over 50% of Google+ conversations are private #sxgoogle+” –Mariam Shahab, @mshahab
  • “Google views search as the moment of commercial intent.” That’s my ah-ha moment.  #Sxgoogle+” – @marlajono
  • “Google has no intent to inject ads into Google+ photo albums like Facebook does. This isn’t a time for commercial intent #sxgoogle+” – Mariam Shahab, @mshahab
  • “The art of social marketing is the art of making your customer do the marketing for you! #sxecommerce” – Erik Eskedal, @eskedal 
  • “Tweets are not copyrightable, and that’s because of length – 140 characters isn’t enough to fully express an idea. #SXipsm”  –  Catherine K. Nodurft, @catherinekaram

Social Media & Customer Service
In one panel focused on social media and customer service, experts shared insights and advice on using the social media tools to connect with your audience beyond just broadcasting messages on another digital channel.

  •  “In 2011, 79% of consumers sharing poor customer experiences online were ignored:” – Bryan Person, @bryanperson 
  • “Fundamental social question: Do you just want to sell stuff or do you want to own the culture & conversation of your category? #sxcustserv” – John Harris, @netharris
  •  “Try not to delete content from users, unless it is incredibly offensive or illegal. Otherwise it adds fuel to the fire #SXCustServ” – Luis Benitez, @lbenitez
  •  “Tremendous power in posting answer on page. The rest of community sees transparency and into brand culture” #sxcustserv” – Alina Cowden, @alicowden

Mobile Marketing
The future of mobile was a huge topic that many different sessions touched on, from how new technological advances will help innovation in the space to the different implications these changes will have in users’ lives. Here are a few quotes from one popular session on mobile:

  • “Instead of me telling Foursquare what I’m doing, Foursquare is now telling me what I SHOULD be doing” #SXsmartpush” – BonnieSashin, @bsashin 
  • “Users make systems what they are. Create apps to inspire & then let them drive it. Solve real problems #sxsmartpush” – @hy_connect 
  •  “Defining battle in the next few years on where data lives, what you can do w it, how can it be accessed #SXsmartpush” – Dan Nieves, @dannieves

Future Technology & Innovation
Many thinkers and thought leaders shared their ideas on the future of technology, offering a glimpse into interesting applications for the future.

  •  “What’s next? Interfaces disappear & your actions are reduced. Technology runs in the background letting you get back to life. #SXAmberCase” – @firehouseagency
  •  “Your  phone will become a remote control for reality #SXAmberCase” – Niketa Patel, @niketa
  • “The companies that are not willing to let people fail are not going to innovate #sxunc”  – Elysa Rice, @elysa

These tweets are just a small portion of the SXSW Interactive experience this year. To learn more about all the sessions, check out the online schedule.

Did you have the chance to make it to Austin for Interactive this year or follow along with what attendees were sharing online? If so, tell us about your experience in a comment!


The ReachLocal online marketing blog shares practical tips and advice for those who want to reach local customers online. Learn about online marketing from our in-house experts and thought leaders.

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