The Agency SXSW Panel Guide

Digiday is at SXSW giving you the latest industry news out of the festival at Austin, Texas. More from the series →

This is the first installation in Digiday’s coverage of the SXSW Interactive Festival. Sponsored by Centro, a provider of media services and software that aims to improve campaign performance and digital media teams’ productivity.

Pretty soon all of you will be heading to Austin for this year’s SXSW Interactive. It is about that time when you are probably starting to feel anxious and overwhelmed thinking about the crowds of people, the lines at food trucks and restrooms, the thousands of panels, parties, BBQs, after parties, after-after parties and so on.

If you are stressing about how to budget your time with all that will be going on at SXSW, take pointers from some seasoned attendees and what’s on their SXSW calendars. We asked three agency execs to each share three events that they will definitely be attending this year and one event that is skippable. Hopefully this helps you narrow down your schedule.

Good luck and godspeed.

Lauren Crampsie, worldwide chief marketing officer, Ogilvy & Mather

Go: OMMA: Marketing Implications of Facebook’s Graph Search
Friday, March 8, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Two words: data and Facebook. I’ll be curious to hear about how Facebook graph can be used to increase ROI and the other implications of the tool.

Go: The $100 billion Mobile Bullet Train Called Africa
Saturday, March 9, 9:30am – 10:30am
While I’m still frustrated overall by the lack of global POVs represented at SXSW, I do think this year is a vast improvement from last. We just made a mobile acquisition last week in South Africa, so this panel is at the top of my list. As the fastest growing mobile market in the world, Africa presents a ton of opportunity for marketers looking to test their mobile strategies.

Go: Data, Storytelling and Breaking through the Noise
Sunday, March 10, 9:30am – 10:30am
Whether you’re a marketer or publisher, if you’re creating content that you want to have an impact, you have to be a good storyteller. With legendary storyteller Coke and new publishing darling BuzzFeed, this is definitely worth getting up early on Sunday.

Skip: Al Gore. In a move that most of us in the marketing community would call “off-brand,” former Vice President Gore recently sold his media company Current TV to oil-money-backed Al Jazeera. The only inconvenient truth here is that even one of our foremost crusaders against global warming has his price. Pass.

Chapin Clark, evp-managing director of copywriting, RG/A

It goes without saying that I’ll be making a special effort to attend my fellow R/GAers’ presentations. If they’re not too early in the morning.

Go: It’s Reddit’s Web. We Just Live in It
Friday, March 8, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
This will be a good one to hit.

Go: Beyond Squishy: The Principles of Adaptive Design
Saturday, March 9, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
While he’s not a professional comedian, Brad Frost is a very funny guy and entertaining on the subject of responsive design, so this panel of his will be a priority for me.

Go: Transitioning Alternative Comedy to TV
Tuesday, March 12, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
This is with Marc Maron and Fred Armisen. I’m not particularly interested in the business of television programming; I just want to hear those guys talk.

Skip: If those talks are on my must-see list, Sunday’s “Conversation With Guy Kawasaki” is tops on my must-avoid list. I don’t have to travel to Austin for conventional wisdom and banality presented as “insights.” I can get that at home.

Kristin Maverick, director of earned media, The Barbarian Group

Go: Flavorpill Spin Classes
Sunday, March 10, 10am – 11am
Flavorpill is bringing fitness down to Austin, which makes me happy because most of the week, you’re eating tacos, BBQ or beer. I’ll be running in the morning around Lady Bird Lake, but I plan on definitely hitting up one of the spin classes.  

Go: Physical Products & the New Distribution Model
Sunday, March 10, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Colin Nagy from The Barbarian Group is moderating this great panel on the new playing field for tangible products in distribution in the digital age. There are really awesome panelists including Abe from Outlier, David Lange from AIAIAI and Erica Cerulo from Of a Kind.

Go: GroupMe Grill
Friday, March 9 – Monday, March 11, 12pm – 5pm
The GroupMe Grill is and has been one of my favorite places to check out. I always use it as a meeting place with friends in between panels. It’s a good place to grab food and a beer and take a break. Great spot for networking too, and a lot of people pass through it.

Skip: In general, I don’t like saying that I am not going to something, because you really just don’t know down there what will happen, and a lot of things are announced upon arrival. My tip is to always have two event backups before going out for the evening. This way you can have a good sense of what else is going on if your first choice doesn’t work out.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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