SXSW Interactive and the Austin AMA

South by Southwest InteractiveOnce again, Austin is experiencing one of the biggest peacetime invasions of the year. People from all over the world are descending on our fair city for South by Southwest, and to bathe in Austin’s glow (even if it is for a week).

South by Southwest Interactive is going to be bigger than ever this year, with geeks, creatives, entrepreneurs, freelancers, writers, journalists and venture capitalists hoping to catch the next big thing.

But what does this have to do with the Austin AMA? Why should we care? Does it help our members? Or is it just a big party for the grunge crowd to mutually admire each other?

There are several AMA members, past and present, who are presenting at SXSW Interactive

Thomas Myer, past Austin AMA president, will present on how freelancers can stop trading their time for money and start having some time AND money, at: Freelancers: You’re Five Products Away from Freedom.

Simon Salt, past director of technology and vice president of events, will read from his book Social Location Marketing, and make a book-signing appearance at the SX bookstore.

AMA vice president of collegiate relations Amanda McGuckin Hager will be leading a panel on a very important topic, Creating an Effective Marketing Intern Program.

And as part of SXSW Interactive’s new Tech Summit, I will be moderating a panel on technology in Mexico.

But is there anything there for marketers?

Lots. From a quick survey we launched yesterday, several AMA members said they were attending SXSW Interactive.

A few respondees told us they’re looking for information on “social selling and marketing techniques and technology”, or “cutting edge marketing strategies.” Others are looking for information about “women in technology and entrepreneurship,” and one responded: “Not sure what sessions yet, but I’d like to learn what the next big thing is.”

But would the average AMA member find useful content at SXSW? A resounding yes.

Take a look at all of the sessions with the keyword “marketing“. Nearly 50!

David Meerman Scott and Hubspot’s Brian Halligan, two inbound marketing “gurus”, will be signing their new book and presenting on Marketing Lessons of the Grateful Dead.

If you want to learn what NOT to do with your interactive marketing, you can attend Interactive Marketing Horror Stories.

And if you’ re still trying to figure out how to market to the “hip-yet-not-so-hip” geeks, you can attend the session on Speaking to Geeks.

There are a lot of social media marketing presentations.

A whole lot.

But you have many choices. You can attend presentations by so-called social media experts, as well as people down in the trenches driving quantifiable results for their firms.

Marketers can leave SXSW Interactive armed with enough strategies, tactics and new concepts to keep them busy until next year.

What about next year?

South by Southwest Interactive is a really interesting conference, but it would be more interesting with your input. You should consider presenting at next year’s event.

I recommend you start thinking about a unique, relevant, narrowly focused topic that would appeal to the SXSW audience, and by summer you can submit a proposal for SXSW Interactive 2012.

The great thing is, your marketing skills and creative ideas will get you in. You just need a compelling title and a clear description of a specific topic. As a marketer you’re good at that.

The rest is up to the voting public, a board of advisors, and SXSW staff.

And for those going this year, I’ll see you there!

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