NAVIGATING SXSW 2017: A Guide for Digital and Content Marketers


SXSW Interactive kicks off in just 24 hours, and leaders from the best brands in the business are heading to Austin to participate in various sessions, workshops and activations that will showcase what’s next in the world of digital marketing, content and emerging technologies.

If you are like most attendees, you are using your hours on the plane to navigate the festival schedule – scrolling through endless descriptions and scrambling to submit your RSVPs. To take a bit of work off your plate we’ve highlighted the most valuable sessions for content and digital marketing experts to attend this year. Check them out below!

Toward a More Personalized Web
March 10th from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm at the Hilton Austin
Heather Brunner at WP Engine

It’s about time websites got smart. Today’s web experiences treat customers as if they are all the same. The trouble is – we all want to be treated like the individuals that we are, and we want our time on site to be as efficient as possible. As a loyal customer, we want to be recognized; we want our habits to be anticipated; we want to be delighted, and we want our experiences to improve with every visit. Moreover, the signal to noise ratio with information is oftentimes overwhelming. This all needs to shift – the websites of the future will thrive by making relevant information find the user, as opposed to the user having to find the information relevant to them. In this talk, WP Engine CEO Heather Brunner divulges how marketers and the tech community can help the web tech get personal. More information on this session can be found HERE.

How AI/Machine Learning Will Change the Way We Eat
March 12th from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm at The Driskill Ballroom
Bernard Lahousse at Foodpairing; Gregory Druck at Yummly; Ankit Brahmbhat at Innit; and Brita Rosenheim at Rosenheim Advisors

Leading tech companies think machine learning is the best thing since sliced bread, and they are using it to tackle their toughest problems. Food tech companies are no exception. Advances in deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing are being used to structure food data, surface relevant food related content, simplify cooking, develop new foods and recipes, reduce food waste, and farm more efficiently. Panelists from leading food tech startups working on identifying novel flavor combinations, developing intelligent cooking appliances, and building personalized food discovery experiences will discuss the state-of-the-art in food-related AI — the problems being solved, the methodologies and algorithms being used, opportunities, and examples of successes and failures — and contemplate the future of food. More information on this session can be found HERE.

Artificial Intelligence & Bots: Strategy & Execution
March 13th from 9:30 am – 12:30 am at the Westin Austin Downtown
Mariya Yao at Xanadu Mobile and Adelyn Zhou at Topbots

Exponential technologies like automation, artificial intelligence, and bots disrupt and revolutionize the way we work and consume. Will these emerging technologies help or hurt your brand? Depends on the strength of your A.I. strategy. This interactive, three-hour workshop is targeted towards brand executives and marketers who want to 1) understand the latest breakthroughs in AI & automation, 2) adapt technical research to business applications, and 3) successfully design and deploy emerging technologies like AI, chatbots, and more both internally to your workforce and externally to your consumers. More information on this session can be found HERE. 

Is Anyone Paying Attention to Your Content?
March 13th from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm at the Hyatt Regency Austin
Seraj Bharwani at Visible Measures; Shruti Tiwari at Sapient Nitro; Efrain Ayalya at RB; and Adam Naide at Cox Communications  

Digital advertising is becoming confusing. We produce and promote more content than ever, but are unsure of our ability to grab audience attention. Advertisers produce a variety of content, distribute it everywhere and use programmatic technology to target/re-target content. This presentation will discuss ATTENTION as a new metric for content advertising and show how SHARE OF ATTENTION, measured across digital/social channels, is a better predictor of profitable behaviors. More information on this session can be found HERE.

How Brands Do Well By Doing Good
March 15th from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm at the JW Marriott
Kim Rubey at AirBnB

Cynics believe a marketer’s biggest goal is to get a consumer to click on an ad and purchase a product. This is especially true when it comes to digital advertising, which is immediately measurable, both in its success and failure. The best brands think about themselves—and their stories—in the long term. They consider how to connect with consumers in a way that feels authentic, and that communicates something about what the brand stands for, something that goes far beyond whichever product they’re currently peddling. These are the brands that do well by doing good. More information on this session can be found HERE.

Didn’t purchase a badge? Don’t worry! There are plenty of “unofficial” events being hosted around the city where you can rub elbows with other marketers and brand leaders. Here are a few of our favorites:

The 2017 Cojones Awards
March 11th from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm at The W Hotel

The Cojones Awards recognize marketers who have disrupted the status quo and who embrace the role for the modern marketer. Nominations from our advisory panel showcase marketing change agents who have shown courage, ingenuity and spirit in delivering remarkable results for their organizations. Request your invitation HERE. 

The CMO Clubhouse @ SXSW
March 11th at The W Austin

The CMO Club at SXSW is all about leaving a legacy and mutual mentoring between CMOs and the next generation of CMOs. This CMO Clubhouse is your personal oasis for improving your SXSW experience, building real relationships with peers and gaining insights. Request your pass HERE.

Brand Innovators Austin: What’s Next on The Digital Horizon
March 10th – 14th at Lambert’s Restaurant

Brand Innovators has partnered with Mondelēz International and to present “How to Be a Change Agent,” a primer on how Fortune 500 and other large companies are innovating and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship within their organizations. In particular, we will look at what brands can learn from start-ups, in terms of product development cycles, distribution models, and consumer engagement. Check out the full schedule and register HERE.

If you are attending SXSW 2017, and you are interested in meeting, hit us up on Twitter @onespot or email

**Session descriptions were pulled from and edited.**


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