SERIAL MARKETER WEEKLY
Issue 42: Life, the Universe, and SXSW
From Serial Marketer: “The Cutting Edge of Marketing”
And now, a South by Southwest slow jam…
It’s near the end of my 11th tour of South by Southwest (SXSW), as I write this after 1am the Wednesday I’m due to depart.
The show this year is thick with memories. It’s so hard to walk down each block and avenue without remembering the previous years hidden in the mist here as the fog descends on Austin.
Each block or so, another memory resurfaces: a party, a meeting, a session, a chance encounter, a reunion, a diversion, a meal. It’s a festival of ghosts.
It’s hardly all ghosts though. There’s more energy blooming again here, people thirsty for knowledge and conversation. This may be the first year of SXSW since Twitter’s launch made it a marketers’ Mecca that people weren’t quite as obsessed with their phones. It was far more common to pause and engage in conversation. Phones rang and vibrated, and whenever possible, people let them be.
If this is possible here, then it is possible anywhere. We can pause and get to know those in front of us. We don’t always have to be on the move to what’s next. For any meeting that was canceled, I wound up relieved to be able to spend time where I was with who was around me.
This was particularly evident at the Serial Marketers meetup Monday morning. Over breakfast tacos and Voodoo doughnuts, about a dozen of us sat in our bank of couches in the Hyatt Regency getting to meet people who were part of our humble Slack community, with most enjoying the chance to see each other’s faces for the first time. Other future members joined as well. Almost all of us wound up late to wherever we planned on going next, if not skipping some plans altogether. The one hour that was allocated stretched to more than four hours of conversation.
While at SXSW, I took a motorized scooter ride for the first time, opting for the Lyft version, as I use that ride-hailing app the most. My balance and coordination are not my strong suits, but I was determined to get the hang of it. I practiced first on a nearly deserted street and soon built up the confidence to ride three miles to the bar east of the interstate where The Drum hosted its programming. I had a few close calls running into pedestrians and shrubbery but survived unscathed.
After the event, I skipped the scooting and walked back downtown (not quite as far though). As I walked, I could appreciate my surroundings more. I could try to discern which shops and restaurants were new since I last passed that way. I could admire the sculptures in front of the public library. I could smell the weeds and weed and homelessness and joggers’ sweat.
There is so much I can’t wait to catch up on when I’m back, and I will be in a hurry to add the new LinkedIn connections and schedule follow-up calls and meetings.
Yet here, this year, I could enjoy the slowest SXSW I’ve had.
It’s remarkable, isn’t it? Perhaps I’m inspired by a talk about linguistics that I heard from Converseon‘s Rob Key, but “slow” would have sounded terrible in the past. Social listening software analyzing such a line would instantly flag it as negative sentiment.
Yet now that is shifting. We celebrate slow jams and slow food, and we can slow down our pace to enjoy where we are and who we are with. By next week, I’m sure I will think of SXSW as a blur, but next year, I will still remember the moments that felt slowest.
That slowness may be what allowed the ghosts to reveal themselves, welcome me back, and celebrate the new ghosts that will join them as my plane takes off for New York.
That’s what I’ve been making of myself as slowly as possible. What have you been making of yourself? Take your time to respond. Go slow.
PS: Did you attend SXSW, or are you following it? What’s something you learned? It could relate to a session or person or app or band or film or Austin. Share your thoughts here, and I’ll publish them next week.
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
INDULGE IN DESSERT, LOSE WEIGHT
This is the perfect research to read after SXSW. Arizona researchers discovered that picking a sinful dessert at the start of the meal leads to healthier choices that more then counter the bad dessert effects. I am going to use this study to justify pretty much all my eating choices going forward, regardless of whether it’s relevant.
HE DIDN’T START THE FIRE
Who burned the aid convoy heading to relieve Venezuela? I heard repeatedly that it was President Maduro’s forces in some act of barbarism against his own people. While Maduro may not be a saint, in this case, it turns out the footage was spliced to show the opposite of what really happened. The video at the start of this article is a chilling case study about the spread of misinformation.
DOWNWARD FACING BOT
Not sure where to begin with Yoga? Try the YogaBot. AI really is everywhere these days. Thanks to Marc Lefton for sharing this one.
A CANONICAL SCHEME FOR BETTER E-COMMERCE SEO
Jason Berkowitz (no relation, at least not any century recently) shared this post in Slack about 6 common SEO mistakes he’s seen from e-commerce sites. It should be a good primer or refresher.
Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.
GRITTYCON HAPPY HOUR
March 19, 7pm
We didn’t pull off Grittycon. But we will pull off drinks. Come meet Don, Caroline, and I to celebrate all things Gritty while the Canadiens play the Flyers. Password: Grittycon2019
CATALYST’S SEO HOT TRENDS HAPPY HOUR
March 28, 6:30pm
Catalyst is heating things up with their SEO Hot Trends Happy Hour on 3/28 in NYC. Join them for a free evening dedicated to exploring the latest trends & changes in SEO.
The Crowdsourcing Week BOLD Awards, showcasing innovative businesses and individuals, will be a rewarding event for amazing projects, individuals and companies. Apply to attend.
ANA MEDIA CONFERENCE
The ANA Media Conference brings together media leaders to galvanize the industry and share actionable insights on the newest ways of connecting with today’s consumers. Attendees will be able to network with more than 600 marketers to gain firsthand knowledge from those facing similar challenges. Speakers will cover the industry’s most critical topics including media agency reviews, e-commerce, voice/audio, GDPR, programmatic, transparency, data, owned media, in-house agencies, digital media, and more. The agenda includes CMOs and Heads of Media from Procter & Gamble, The Hershey Company, JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Wayfair, GlaxoSmithKline, IHOP, Mars, Johnson & Johnson and more! This conference was sold out ast year so register and reserve your seat.