SXSW round-up

Here are three key insights from the SXSW Interactive festival, during which 25,000 attendees descend on the Austin, TX, and attend workshops, seminars and keynote speeches to find out the latest and greatest developments in Interactive. Members of the Tribal DDB team from New York, Vancouver and Toronto, Canada traveled down to the capitol of Texas to attend.

Mobile is the new black

Mobile devices are ubiquitous and an enabler for consumer engagement in multiple environments. Retail will most likely benefit from this the most, especially as mobile devices will become ‘mobile wallets’ more and more over the next 2 years and be linked to loyalty programs. Location-based services will lead to right message, right person, right place marketing. The space + time (SPIME) of the individual (and eventually) groups of individuals will lead to more relevant messages being delivered. However, privacy concerns will need to be resolved to protect consumers.

Mobile Tagging (QR codes, Microsoft Tag, etc.) will be integrated further into offline and online campaigns to create easy access to content. Tagging will likely become obsolete over the next three to five years, though, as full-image recognition linked to search becomes a key campaign engagement mechanism.

Marketing will really start to take advantage of gamification. Mobile Gaming, for both fun and work, will lead to more valuable connections enabled by the technology and introduce entertainment to the environments that the consumer occupies both online and offline.

Emotional content, not just clever ideas, will drive engagement

Quirky engagement mechanisms do not always work. Those that do work depend largely on great content, but that’s not always enough. We need to start speaking to basic human needs (think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and building content accordingly. Video will quickly become the primary content type online and in both applications and marketing campaigns.

Company-produced content promoting product and brands will give way to open platforms allowing both known and anonymous consumers to create and post content of their own brand properties. Companies need to plan to change their PR, sales and marketing capabilities to accommodate the interaction and conversation that comes with this interactivity.

Agencies need to start learning from software companies

The creative, strategy and planning capabilities of modern marketing agencies often still use the approach of research, concept development and build in short timescales across multiple paid, owned and earned channels. Whilst these often work well, and great work is produced, there is usually a disconnect between the client team and the main client stakeholders. In software development, teams use the Agile method. This method is based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. 

Agile development accelerates the delivery of initial business value, and through continuous planning and feedback, ensures maximized value throughout the course of development. As a result of this iterative planning and feedback loop, teams are able to continuously align the deliverables with desired business needs, easily adapting to changing requirements throughout the process. By measuring and evaluating status based on the undeniable truths of working, testing concepts and creative, more accurate visibility into the actual progress of campaigns is available. Finally, as a result of following the Agile process, a build concludes with a campaign that much better addresses the business and customer needs.

The move towards this approach will give modern agencies the edge needed to compete in the marketplace and also deliver amazing work for clients.

At SXSW, Rob Rasmussen, CCO of Tribal DDB, sat on a panel called ‘Do Ad Agencies Need to Think Like Software Companies?’ with representatives from Google, Barbarian Group and GroupSEO. Fast Company has provided a great article summarizing this.

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