Top content from SXSW 2011

Flicking through the uploads on Slideshare, it’s clear the assembled throng in Texas are getting through a lot over the last few days.

For those who might not be familiar, South by SouthWest is a creative showcase that until recently was better known the arts – film and music. More recently the technology and digital marketing crowd have come together and formed an interesting stream at the event. From pop up iPad stores to interviews with heavyweight marketing and business alumni, SXSW is now an important stop on the technology marketing circuit.

Sadly not for me, with advance tickets costing anything between $450-$750 for the five day Interactive stream alone. But here are my top three picks from the unofficial SXSW presentation channel (email subscribers and RSS readers will need to visit the blog page for this one).

First up, Christopher Carfi’s overview, in itself a great example of how you can easily add an audio track to a presentation and create a piece of branded content around something as simple as a trade show (b2b marketers take note, you don’t need a video camera and 12 hours of editing). This is a useful 9 minute introduction giving a flavour of what SXSW is all about.


A little lighter, and with useful advice for when we attend any large scale trade show, is Abby Covert’s short animated deck offering tips to noobs (for Brits read newbies) attending SXSW for the first time.


Finally, a deck from Lynne Johnson giving a useful look ahead at the latest developments in Augmented Reality (AR). It’s not just QR codes, web cams and card! But you knew that already didn’t you?


I’d love to hear from any UK marketers that made it out to SXSW and whether they thought the event was worthwhile?

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Interactive video – trend or gimmick? (TFMA 2011)

The first session I attended at this year’s TFMA was given by Steffan Aquarone from Venio and focused on the latest developments in interactive video and how it allows content owners to make objects in their videos clickable thus enabling objects as links for viewers to ‘find out more’, ‘buy now’ or even drive the story that unfolds.

There is no hiding the significance of video in both consumer and business marketing. Video search takes up 50% of online search, YouTube is classed as a search engine and a growing proportion of video is now watched within Facebook.

Interactive video gives over control to the viewer and works best when it contains a genuine first or a gimmick in order to generate interest and drive traffic.

Getting video to go viral means interactive video can be used to meet a number of objectives.

– Increased sales conversion

– Engagement

– Improve delivery of information

– Provide entertainment

– Drive website traffic

Clickable video, like the Tippex example below are not new but are now becoming more accessible through suppliers like Buto. (Note this is NSFW, use headphones on the first bit – the second bit is inspired, I tried ‘sings’, ‘eats’ and ‘hugs’ – you’ll see what I mean!)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ba1BqJ4S2M&w=450&h=283]

Considering the objectives above, clickable video works best in the following scenarios

– Increased sales conversion (use a ‘click to buy’ device in the video)

– Engagement (like Tippex, offer multiple story flows)

– Improve delivery of information (offer a ‘find out more’ mechanic)

– Provide entertainment (utilise games and incentives)

– Drive website traffic (have a high gimmick factor which generates leads)

In summary, and in thinking about how to put interactive video to good use, think first about your target audience, then about strategy, and only then about the tools. And if you fancy doing it through YouTube it is reasonable easy using the annotation link here is a video from ChadMattRob but if you want to skip the hi-jink to 3:30 you’ll get the tutorial.

Overview of TFMA 2011

Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFMA) is one of my favourite shows of the year. It provides lots of opportunities to catch up on the latest thinking in the digital space, to see the latest technology up close, to talk to leading suppliers and attend lots of free keynote presentations and seminars from leading brands.

Though there is an extensive exhibition, the real draw is the growing seminar programme. It was clear this year was the most popular yet, as organisers opened up a number of new sections on the exhibition floor covering email, mobile, analytics, social media, affiliate marketing and online advertising in addition to all the usual attractions.

Traditionally a free show, a Priority Pass was introduced this year, which guaranteed entry to all the keynote presentations, for £99. An interesting proposition given there were 2,000-3,000 attending, yet the keynote theatre probably only catered for 400-500. This left hundreds of visitors, myself included, unhappy at not accessing the first keynote from Facebook at the start of the day.

Less of a money spinner but more visitor friendly would have been to double the size of the keynote theatre or perhaps use unutilised space at the back of the hall to run video relay on large screens, perhaps seeking to make additional revenue by locating an additional (and over priced) coffee zone. This and the total mismanagement of queuing for all sessions need review for 2012.

That aside, most of the sessions were superb and offered lots of food for thought for the marketers and business owners attending. Though there was a natural bias on speaker’s parts to cite big brand FMCG consumer marketing case studies. I always think this is nice, but mis aligned with the b2b responsibilities of most attendees, but there was lots to learn.

Head over to The BDB Blog where you can get my take on the following sessions:

I also tweeted extensively yesterday on the Twitter hashtag #TFMA. Feel free to check back on what everyone was saying.