Is the value in SXSW the conversations that happen everywhere or listening to the likes of Jared Cohen or Chelsea Clinton? Hopefully it’s both. With the big sessions now underway, here’s a slice of the hallway talk in Austin (based on various conversations I've had) that’s worth chewing on.
  • The moment people enable GPS on their phones, they stop assuming privacy – but they still expect protection. They expect data collected on them to be anonymized. This puts brands into a relatively new (arguably, uncomfortable) position of being defenders of their customers’ identities.
  • The session “Marketing, you’re drunk go home” nabs the best-in-name award (kudos to Brain Traffic) and is, undoubtedly, one of many conversations in Austin and beyond about brands sprinting towards, well, everything in the name of [insert buzzword here].
  • Nest applied industrial design principles to make thermostats and smoke detectors sexy. Marketers should think about this the next time they fall into the “but we’re just making a boring a product people don’t really care about” trap.
  • When it comes to marketing automation, there’s an assumption that if you automate enough of the repetitive tasks, the rest of marketing will evolve. Has this panned out?
  • Geo-data is giving way to sophisticated population analytics with seemingly unending applications. As one example, population analytics can tell you even more precisely where to build that restaurant or place that billboard.
  • Last year was all about wearables, 2014 is about the human data center. It’s bigger than the band you have around your wrist -- or your head.
Photo by Merrick Ales