Day 3 of my SXSW experience is over, which means that the MediaVillage SXSW Gen Z takeover has officially wrapped! My final day on the ground in Austin was spent primarily in sessions regarding content advertising allowing me to ask certain brand marketers, advertisers and agencies a few direct questions regarding consumer behavior trends and cross-platform content. See more in the video above.
The first session was "Can Brand Advertising Survive the Era of 1:1?" and included Margaret Coles of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Noël Paasch of Google, Amy Sheaof Ameritest and Kate Sirkin of Publicis Spine. The key focus of this panel was how advertising agency leaders can balance the needs of traditional brand advertising with the new data-driven models surrounding localized, targeted audiences. When I asked Coles about how companies are targeting younger audiences to influence their buying decisions, she said, "If you're not thinking about your influencer strategy, you're not actually reaching Gen Z." Rightfully so, the session was completely packed with hundreds of people.
The next session I attended highlighted the Google Cloud for Startups program, featuring Google representatives Heidi Restivo and Ryan Richard, along with Brian Wilson of Zenoss and Lyal Avery of PullRequest. The panelists emphasized the premier capabilities of GoogleCloud comparatively speaking to web platform services provided by Microsoft or Amazon's AWS. Although Restivo acknowledged that while it's trailing in third place, she stressed that Google is beginning to invest a large amount of money into its Google Cloud Platform, in hopes of building ecosystems of startup communities in cities nationwide packed with founders, investors and advisors. Additionally, they tailor many of their new services to students, aiming to gain the brand loyalty of Gen Z for Google Cloud being the rightful platform for collegiate founders to build their companies through.
Finally, I attended "Can Content Media Catch-Up with Digital?" featuring Gabe Bevilacqua of Viacom, Britta Cleveland of Meredith and Scott McDonaldof the Advertising Research Foundation. In this panel, the advertising leaders discussed how they are able to monetize their content, even though platform demands are constantly changing. One key takeaway was that brands should create goals and success metrics only after they have a sound understanding of their desired audiences. Additionally, when I asked how they are aiming to meet the demands of the growing Gen Z consumers, Bevilacqua said, "Experiment, learn from it and change. Sure, you might have a legacy business, but it's a legacy that might not be alive 10 years from now." Although major players in the industry might not want to completely pivot from what they already know, the key to the future of content media is to test new content strategies and experiment with new approaches.
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