SXSWi – Embracing Chaos for Marketing Success

TriplePoint joined more than 19,000 people for the largest South by Southwest Interactive yet. With nearly 36% more attendees than last year, and talk of capping registration for 2012 so growth doesn’t become unmanageable, SXSWi produced a fire hose of marketing messages. From big brands like Pepsi and Chevy, to entrepreneurs hitching a ride on the StartupBus, everyone was vying for mindshare within the social media community.

Making sense of the madness? Our take is that SXSWi successes embraced the chaos to drive brand awareness. A few examples:

  • Foursquare’s “Golden Ticket” party – Rather than just letting anyone RSVP for free music and beer at their party, foursquare gave tickets only to those who unlocked the Golden Ticket achievement. The steps: Follow the event performer (Big Boi) on foursquare, check into locations around Austin, unlock the badge and get two tickets. This put their brand at the heart of the event – rather than just printed on a cup.
  • Hashable and death to business cards – This “ultimate networking app” provides a quick, easy way to track relationships with other social media users, so it was perfect for the SXSWi crowd. Their marketing campaign centered on SXSWi, but didn’t start there – they got users on board via a series of events over several months, and SXSWi was the culmination (and ultimate use case) rather than the end-all of their launch.
  • GroupMe – The SXSW Breakout Award winner was also perfectly suited for SXSWi-goers. GroupMe garnered fans and positive social media sentiment (59% positive according to AdAge and People Browsr’s report) by providing a simple, easy and effective tool for navigating the craziness. @GroupMe #love
  • iPad 2 pop-up store – Apple dropped an iPad 2 pop up store in the center of SXSW activity. A constant line outside the shop, plus happy new owners everywhere, kept the device front-and-center.

We’re interested to see if SXSWi buzz leads to mass adoption, and we’ll be booking our trip (early) for next year.

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