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SXSW 2019 Kick Off

SXSW 2019 kicks off tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited!

For the uninitiated, SXSW is the annual conglomeration of interactive media, film, and music festivals and conferences that take place in Austin, TX. Only growing bigger and better since it’s inception in 1987, SXSW has become one of the best events to attend globally. It really is Christmas in mid-March, for most professionals and artists.

Being in the marketing space, of course, I wanted to share the sessions and experiences that I’m most thrilled about. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect company views.


Kicking off SXSW 2019: Day 1


There’s something for everyone at SXSW.  Literally. You’ll be spoiled for choice. I sure am.

If you’re like me, you’re probably going primarily to learn from industry leaders, grow your network, and have a good time while you’re at it.

But for festival first-timers, SXSW can be pretty overwhelming, and this session on Making the Most of Your First SXSW might be a lifesaver. It promises great tips, insights, and stories. Plus it’s on the first day of the festival, so, make the most of it!

Of course, if you’re up for it, bright and early on Day 1, there’s a session on 7 Non-Obvious Trends Changing the Future in 2019. It’s a session that promises actionable insights that you can put to use in your professional life right away, or even for the rest of your SXSW 2019 experience from SXSW veteran Rohit Bhargava, author of the WSJ bestselling Non Obvious books.

Then there are the booth experiences. There’s Accenture Interactive Experience Cantina and Vox Media’s The Deep End on our list, the latter being a 3-day immersive experience.

I’m going to close out the first day’s “Day” events with this session on How to Build a Standout Brand in a Crowded World. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t?!  


Day 2 at SXSW 2019


Day 2 is jam-packed with some seriously stellar sessions. I mean, the programming is so great that I actually Favorited sessions that overlapped! Thank heavens for encores!

Being in the Digital Advertising space, I can’t resist getting up early to watch the session on Advertising Detox: How to Reduce Cognitive Load.  

Then from there, it gets a bit tricky. As is the case with every SXSW attendee, I can’t make up my mind between Amy Balliett’s The Visual-First Method: Boost Conversions Now and a discussion on The Power of Being Small: Business Messaging Success.

For a small business owner like myself, both sessions offer their unique take-aways and insights. Both of which are equally valuable. I still haven’t made up my mind yet!

Of course, being a tech enthusiast who runs a digital marketing agency, this session on Social Media and AI was a no-brainer.


Day 3, 4, and 5


I figure, by day 3 I’ll want to get most out of the experiences. I won’t be as rigid in planning but go with the flow instead. That’s not to say I haven’t marked out my absolute must-see’s. But as anyone who’s been to SXSW knows, it’s an experience you need to immerse yourself in.

On March 10th in fact, there are sessions on Realigning ROI and Community, Social Media being the new fast food, and Reimagining storytelling tech and experiences. If you’re anything like me, the last topic is something I’ve had marked out since I got my pass!

The following day has got some equally great sessions, but one that’s a clear stand out for me has got to be this session on Optimizing Marketing Workflow with AI and Automation. Can human intelligence and AI can work together to draw a bridge between efficiency and business value? Guess I’ll find out.

On the last day of my SXSW experience, I will, of course, be getting the most I can out of the several experiences. The highlight of the 12th will be sitting in on what is sure to be an invigorating and educational session on Why all brands need a new type of agency to survive in this millennial age.


The Amplify Philly House


I am but one of several hundred Philadelphians who will make their way to Austin this weekend. To promote the City of Brotherly Love’s startups, tech, art, and music communities, the Amplify Philly initiative will be returning for their 4th year to SXSW!

One returning feature from last year that I am absolutely thrilled about is the Amplify Philly House. Local restaurant Pour Choices on 6th Street is going to be transformed into a Little Philly of sorts.

With six official SXSW panels with 24 Philly leaders who made the official SXSW speaker list, even if you aren’t from Philly you should definitely drop by.

And of course, you’ll be swaying to a totally different tune during the evening hours. Showcasing some of Philly’s greatest artistic and creative talents, stay for Live music, DJ sessions, an open bar, and food that screams Philly.


I’ll be posting a daily blog over the events and experiences that I catch at SXSW 2019 over the next 4 days, so stay tuned for more! Also, if you’re going to be at SXSW too, it’d be great to connect. So whether it is to swap notes and ideas or just hang out over breakfast, get in touch!

Twitter: @gmendiratta

Email: gaurav@sociosquares.com

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