MEC @ SXSW 2017
The annual SXSW Interactive Festival (SXSWi) is an exciting incubator of digital creativity featuring the best and brightest minds, technologies and emerging startups across nearly every industry from healthcare and entertainment to food and politics.
Although SXSW was started 30 years ago as purely a music conference, it has rapidly evolved to a place for diverse professionals, and the companies they work for, to come together to share ideas (technological and other), engage in learning without boundaries, and debate the outlook of our future -- all complemented with plenty of BBQ.
But if you look at SXSW 2017 overall and its three festivals – Interactive, Music, Film – there was noticeably fewer sponsored events from brands and more opportunity for real engagement this year. For example, Samsung and Airbnb did not return and Spotify scaled down its overall presence, much in part to increasing challenges to secure permits, rising costs and, frankly, it becoming harder to break through the clutter.
In fact, this year we saw an emphasis on private, curated events targeted at specific attendees and influencers -- a larger trend we are seeing in marketing overall. Call it a return to SXSWi as a conference, or simply an immersive experience of ideas, but is no doubting that attendees are no longer there for the swag, but for real dialogue and decision-making. MEC captures the key trends and takeaways from our experience for inspiration and maximum business impact.
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