Flying cars and St. Bernards – Impressions from South By Southwest

Photo courtesy of morguefile user AcrylicArtist

Photo courtesy of morguefile user AcrylicArtist

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, TX. SXSW Interactive offered its 30,000+ attendees over 800 sessions highlighting the best and brightest minds in emerging technology and digital marketing.

While SXSW is incredibly inspiring, you do walk away from it wondering how in the world you can apply sessions about flying cars to your own business. Fortunately, sometimes just walking around Austin, observing participants, and seeing some amazingly creative promotions is all you need to catch a spark.

This promotion, the brainchild of phone accessory manufacturer Mophie, is the most SXSW thing ever. It cleverly combines our deeply held desires for cute animals, fully charged phones, and social good.

Mophie’s promotion didn’t work just because cute dogs can sell anything, it worked because they recognized that in today’s world battery power isn’t just a commodity, it’s a precious commodity. If you asked people at SXSW what they needed most at any given moment, I’m confident the top five would look something like this:

  1. Fully charged phone
  2. Comfortable shoes
  3. Wi-Fi
  4. Water
  5. Tacos

Here in Wisconsin, we might swap out brats for tacos, but otherwise the list would look about the same. It’s not exactly earth-shattering news that everyone is constantly on their devices, but SXSW made me think about how businesses can turn our dependencies into their competitive advantages.

Some businesses already do it. For example, I keep coming back to my auto service center not so much for the service, which is perfectly fine, but rather for the fact that their waiting area has desks, plentiful outlets and free wi-fi. It’s the same for clinics, salons, laundromats, banks, law firms and the like. Want an easy way to boost customer satisfaction? Give them high speed internet.

It doesn’t stop there. Imagine you’re able to plug in right at your restaurant table or bar. How many customers will order dessert or have another drink while their phone is still charging? It’s not as sexy as flying cars, but every additional pint and pastry adds up.

At events like SXSW, you get to immerse yourself in tomorrow, but what’s truly exciting is figuring out what that means for today.

About Kris Prusynski

Kris works on the Commercial Marketing team at TDS Telecom and helps TDS achieve their online objectives through digital marketing and website optimization. She has worked in the digital marketing space for over 15 years, in product categories as diverse as shoes, banking, beds and pig farming supplies (really!). Kris has both undergraduate degrees and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and therefore bleeds Badger red. She’s a veteran blogger on topics ranging from digital marketing to Wisconsin fish frys to the sweet necessity of ugly office sweaters. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find her on Twitter or Google+ trying to decipher the mysteries of A Song of Ice and Fire. In her spare time, you can find Kris kayaking, hanging out at the dog park, or thinking about lawn care.

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  1. Tortillas, Mixtapes & the Hall of Faces – Impressions from SXSW | TDS Business - April 4, 2016

    […] month, I attended my second South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, TX. Last year, the adorable dogs of Mophie caught my fancy, but this year, one of my biggest takeaways were tortillas. No, not literally […]

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