8 SXSW Sessions Every Brand Marketer Should Know

Every year in March, more than 70,000 people head to the breakfast taco and BBQ mecca of the world—Spredfast's hometown of Austin, Texas—for a week of learning from peers and thought leaders from around the world. With 25 different tracks and hundreds of sessions exploring topics in marketing & advertising, social impact, VR/AR, and government, SXSW continues to be on the cutting edge of what’s next.

In an effort to encourage community ownership over the panel conversations, SXSW introduced the PanelPicker, a system where your votes help determine what sessions end up making it to the stage. Voting begins today, August 7th and runs through August 30th.

We need your votes to help bring these eight essential marketing panels to life. Here’s information on how to vote, which panels you can vote for, and proof that clicking “vote up” will be well worth your while come March.

Here's How to Vote:

  • 1) Click here
  • 2) Set up an account
  • 3) Search "Spredfast"
  • 4) Select each panel and click “vote up” in the upper left-hand corner of the session page

1. Fighting for Inclusion & Equality on Social Media

With the advent of social media, technology gave hate a way to spread like never before. In fact, in 2017 there were more tweets involving hate speech than Game of Thrones, Major League Baseball, the Super Bowl or the Grammys. These panelists used the same technology that empowered hate, to stop it. They’ll discuss how they turned hate speech into meaningful connections, and further—meaningful change for our world.

2. Digital & Cannabis: Growing in a Regulated Market

Recent changes in state legislatures across the U.S. have created new and exciting opportunities to market cannabis to a wider audience. However, as innovation in the marijuana industry skyrockets, access to vital tech and advertising platforms are still limited due to federal regulations. Join online legal marijuana community, Weedmaps, and social marketing software Spredfast as they share insights on what you can learn from marketing in a regulated industry.

3.) How Legacy Brands Disrupt Themselves on Social

Out with the old and in with the new is not always an option for legacy brands. Consumers are demanding digital convenience and personalization, and brands must disrupt themselves to build their audience. Join General Motors, Johnson & Johnson and Spredfast to learn how these 100-year-old brands are evolving with their audience and meeting consumer demands using social media.

4.) Return on Inclusion: Generations of Women at Work

Why do modern women choose to pursue or leave their careers, how can we support and elevate more women to strive for leadership roles & C-suite titles, and how can we create a more balanced and diverse future? Join us for a discussion led by Sarah Moore, Vice President of Brand + Revenue Marketing at Spredfast to explore topics around the value of gender diversity, why empowering women matters, and how each generation is uniquely suited to affect change and overcome obstacles in the workplace.

5.) Building Consumer Trust in a Time of Doubt

The past few years have proved to be a crazy time for politics, and consequently, people’s trust in their government has rapidly declined. This crisis of trust stretches beyond government, impacting NGOs, media, and business. Despite the obvious challenges this presents for marketing, there is a silver lining. Hear Jim Rudden, CMO of Spredfast, explain how brands must combat this issue of mistrust by engaging and activating their audiences & tailoring their strategies to prioritize transparency.

6.) The Bias In the Room: Making Tech Truly Diverse

Technology companies are experiencing growing pressure to diversify their workforce which is predominantly male (75%), white (70%), and Asian (20%). Tech giants like HP, Amazon, IBM, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are leading the charge, demonstrating their commitment to diversity and inclusion by improving their recruitment and developing programs and initiatives to drive change. Featured panelists will lead the discussion about diversity in the workplace, exploring ways in which leadership teams and employees alike can identify and address bias and unfair recruitment and workplace practices to create a more inclusive environment.

7.) User Privacy in a Post-Cambridge Analytica World

Cambridge Analytica, GDPR, politics, and changes in algorithms have converged to create a perfect storm for social media in 2018. Users are questioning the extent to which privacy is granted online and how businesses handle their personal data. In response, social networks have renewed their commitments to user and data privacy through both policy and platform change. All this has caused marketers to reassess how and where they spend their money, and what content to produce. As a result, marketers have had to reassess how they spend their money, where they spend it, and the content they produce. Spike Jones, SVP of Spredfast, explains how these shifts are actually a boost for the industry and how marketers, users, and the networks can create a healthier, more useful, ecosystem for all.

8.) How to Lose Friends and Alienate Customers

In today’s saturated marketplace, you can’t simply rely on good products and a few ad dollars to make an impact. Fine-tuning your brand’s emotional intelligence and investing time into building enduring relationships with customers is vital in today’s marketing world. Virginia Miracle, Chief Customer Officer of Spredfast, explains how building brand loyalty with customers comes down to learning how to effectively build relationships with them.

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Alex Murray is Brand Communications Manager at Spredfast, responsible for executive branding and media relations. An Austin native at heart, you can find him obsessing over the latest Nintendo games, binging the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, or tearing it up at a punk show.