Mobile Marketing lessons from SXSW 2015.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual mix of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences, which takes place in March in Austin, Texas, United States.

SXSW 2015 has just come to an end and one of the pleasant trends in this year’s interactive extravaganza for marketers was the huge interest in mobile. Not a surprise, as it seems like this year’s focus on mobile is bigger than ever before.

Within the mobile arena, mobile marketing and advertising took the main stage. That’s why I decided to pick some key mobile marketing outcomes, here they are:

1. Mobile as a gate to customers.

Our mobile devices are no longer just places where we are able to consume media or do shopping: they have become our primary interface with everything around us.

From booking a hotel to operating our smart homes, from paying electricity bills to monitoring our health activity. A number of companies at SXSW have shown that our phone is our personal hub. And probably, we may soon live in a world of personal device ecosystems such as fitbits or virtual reality headsets.

2. Prosumerism. 

Well, it’s not a new terminology as this term was coined by futurologist Alvin Toffler in 1980. However, what we see nowadays, is the extremely bright time for professional consumers! New technology just invaded our daily lives, just to mention a few such as 3D printing or blogging where consumers can apply all their knowledge in order to build and promote their own brands.

Some new mobile apps are coming to light where users will have new opportunity to put into practice knowledge and talents they have:

  • Fradio –  user-powered radio app from Australian music streaming service Guvera. It allows users to broadcast their own radio show to friends and the community, including support for live voice-overs, so broadcasters can, in effect, become a radio DJ. Users can take calls from listeners while their station is live, while listeners can browse stations currently broadcasting near them. While the base app is free, users can purchase a premium subscription to have more control over the songs their station plays, searching and selecting the exact tracks they wish to broadcast.
  • Djed (Coming soon to iOS, Android) – is a brand new product designed for families, with a mobile and desktop application used for cataloging and sharing all of a family’s vital information, from health and financial information to school projects, sporting events, holiday trips and many more. It will support multiple features, including a calendar, contact list, documents, notes, lists, photos, assets and more. The app is built around the idea of a “Tribe,” or a private network of family and close friends, who can share this information in their own private network. The platform announced its preview launch as a web app during SXSW, and will come to iOS first, before launching on Android later this year.

3. Reaching customers is not a big deal anymore, but influence them is a real challenge.

Nowadays, mobile enables marketers to reach customers as easy as never before. Smart strategy in media buying will get you right to your target audience and what of it? It’s crystal clear that we have reached that time when we need to shift focus and start looking at users as at human beings, not just as bits of data. Mobile marketing should be considered as the crucial tool to form long-term relationships with users by getting a solid grasp of what they need in a real world.

One great example was a hotel chain that wanted to offer customers a better experience by using mobile technology. They conducted a short survey among guests, and figured out that customers were annoyed by the long check-in and checkout process. For solving this problem the hotel allowed customers to complete this process by using a mobile device and even turned their wearables into room keys. By providing a smart innovative solution to a real problem, and adding a piece of magic with wearable technologies, the hotel managed to establish a strong influence and users’ loyalty. With Apple Pay, wearables and beacons taking over the industry, mobile is the biggest playground for marketers to start working on their very own mobile success story.


Author: Elena Tsarkova

MSc Digital Marketing at The University of Southampton. Fascinated by influence of digital media on human beings.

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