SXSW: Day Three

Day three of SXSW brought us the SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries, a brilliant talk from Refinery29 and much more.

SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries

On day three we spent an hour exploring the SXSW Trade Show... and barely scratched the surface! This place is huge and exhibitors here are showing off everything from 3 metre high interactive robots, to custom socks, to 3D food printers (yep, we think it's gross too).

Here's what we did stop and check out in depth:

  • HP's Aurasma Studio: As a response to augmented reality starts to become a consideration for more and more companies, HP has created a powerful cloud-based studio which helps brands turn anything into a trigger, displaying graphics, animation, video, audio and 3D content. We can't wait to try this in Central Station! With commuters sitting in the station for an average of 8 minutes each, it's the perfect environment to drive engagement through Augmented Reality.
  • 360Heros: We definitely nerded out over this one! 360Heros use 3D printers to create hardware that enables anyone to produce beautiful 3D videos like this, using only GoPros. Their holders can take between 6 and 14 cameras, with the largest model even shooting 3D footage. We want one!
  • TailoredMail: Not quite as exciting for the general public, but very exciting for our marketing department, the last thing we checked out was a system that enables videos to be embedded in email marketing. They claim that it only takes 5 minutes to set up and integrates seamlessly with other email content. Look out - this could make the goa Newsletter a lot more interesting!

Attention, Perception and Memory

Speaker: Katherine Moore - Assistant Professor, Arcadia University

Next, we went to a session by Katherine Moore and had our minds blown but exactly how weird said minds are.

Katherine Moore is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arcadia College. As head of the Attention, Memory, and Cognition laboratory, her research projects explore the limits of attention (and whether we can overcome them), the relationship among attention, perception and memory.

She started off with an example which we highly reccomend you check out:

Freaky right? It's due to selective attention (she also said it was partly due to inattentional blindness and change blindness) and that we suffer from a similar effect whenever we try to multitask. She called it the "multitasking distraction cost".

So checking your phone whilst driving? Nope. Watching TV whilst doing work? Probably not effective. Even if you do this often, Dr Moore reserach proves that practice only improves the results when the stimulus is exactly the same.

Dr Moore explained that the way we were dealing with this today was through tech - smartphones that remind you about an appointment, driver montioring which will wake you if you're tired, GPS systems for driving. But she also said that while helpful in reducing the multitasking distraction cost, they were having other effects like GPS systems damanging our spacial navigation skills.

Ultimately, Moore said tech would give us the answer but that it would have to become smarter to do so. Like smartphones learning what you're doing, so it doesn't give you notifications at the wrong time (adding to your distraction).

Let’s Drop the Term Millennials

Speaker: Philippe von Borries - CEO and Co-Founder, Refinery29

This talk from the founder of the pop-culture website, Refinery29, was the standout of the day for us.

As a brand that talks to millions of 'Millenials' every day, it was really interesting to hear their thoughts on grouping the demographic under that banner. Philippe used a comment recently posted to The Guardian to sum it up:

“You want me to sum up the main issues facing an entire generation in an entire country? That sounds less scientific than a fucking horoscope, you mad bastards.”

So if we as marketers can't use this generalisation to think about audiences 18 - 34, how should we be thinking about them?

Von Borries told us that Millenials are more like cousins than clones - they have a lot in common, but there's also a lot that sets them apart. The one thin they did have in common though, was their collaborative and expressive mindset, enabled by technology.

He urged us to think of everyone from Baddiewinkle to Justin Trudeau as a Millenial - not due to age, but mindset.

Finally, he said that instead of trying target these irrelevant groupings, that smart marketers would target niches, tribes of people with a common passion, and we as marketers have a responsibility to question our instinct to typecast and pidgeonhole the people we are trying to talk to.

Improving Engagement in Today's Mobile/Social World

Speaker: Stacey Garcia - Global Product Marketing Manager

In this 'how-to' session, Stacey Garcia walked us through how any business can use Google's tools to boost engagement, drive traffic and create revenue on mobile devices. She spoke on 4 topics:

Building a Better Mobile Platform for Today's Users

Did you know that 61% of users on a mobile device will leave a website if it doesn't load in 5 seconds or less? Or that 60% of people start their product research on a mobile device? It's for these reasons and many more, that Garcia beleives it's a publisher's right (that's anyone with a website) to make information available on platforms that are fast, easy to use and consistent.

She reccomended using tools such as the AMP Project website and the Mobile Friendly Test to make sure your website is up to scratch.

Creating More Engaging Content

The same as all of the SXSW presenters, Garcia also stressed the importance of great content. She said that Google has found four main categories of effective content existed - emotional, social proof, practical value and stories. She recommended The Marketer's Almanac to help with developing this content.

Social as a Way to Drive Traffic

Garcia also outlined that to make the most of this content now that it has been crafted, was to post on a regular schedule across whatever social platforms are relevant to your audience, in short snippets and have a clear call to action.

A Website as a Revenue Stream

This was an interesting one, and we're not sure we're convinced by what comes next. She outlined the usual avenues to monetise websites, such as Double Click. But in a clear bid to develop their own answer to Ad Blocking software, Garcia also talked about tools that allowed users to view sites ad-free if they answered a quiz, or if they made a micropayement to Google.

Garcia finished by saying that no matter what the solution was, that it could not come at the cost of the users' experience.

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