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SXSW® 2022: 3 Hot Takes from a Demand Generation Manager

April 4th, 2022 6 min read

Thousands of people flocked to South by Southwest® (SXSW®) this year after it was cancelled in 2020 and went entirely virtual in 2021. SXSW is an annual event in Austin, Texas, that highlights and fosters thought leadership in tech, film, music, and more. 

As a tech conference attendee, I was there to experience some of the 200+ technology sessions provided. It seemed like we were just as eager to hear about the next wave of changes in marketing technology as the speakers were to inspire the crowd with their findings. 

To no surprise, the tech segment of SXSW® did not fall short of solutions for navigating current marketing challenges. As a demand generation manager, the sessions I attended were much more informative than I expected. I wanted to explore enhanced methods to adapt and better ways to increase relevancy, reach, and revenue as the customer continues to evolve.

I’ve put together three hot takes that were of the most value to me among several topics covered in the tech industry tracks.

Your customers dictate your product’s success—whether you notice it or not

Buyers are looking for transparency and exposure to your product before they buy. They want to know how real humans are using your product and what’s important to them so they can tie it back to specific use cases and business goals. Your current customers are your best asset when it comes to telling your narrative. These are the real influencers—the ones ultimately establishing trust for your brand. 

“Business isn’t won by the best, it’s won by the product that’s perceived to be the best,” said Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media. She followed by saying, “55% of buyers are willing to pay more if they think they will have a better experience.”

Allow your customers to fulfill a business need by sharing your unique narrative. Start collecting your customer reviews and feedback and splash it across your ads, landing pages, website, sales enablement, and all other programs. Their feedback is what makes your brand stand out as being an authentic, trusted source.

Whether you notice it or not, your customers dictate the success of your product. You can make a stronger impact if you get involved.

Buying is not a linear journey 

As marketers, we are taught that buyers follow a straight line from unawareness to purchase, but we all know that’s not the case. Buyer behavior has completely shifted, and we saw it the most during the pandemic. 

Among the many organizational changes we experienced, one key finding was the influx of content consumption and the variety of content that buyers are consuming. Buyers realized they couldn’t connect with peers in-person the way they used to so they started to move to other channels to do their own discovery. They have more conversations through apps like Reddit, Slack, LinkedIn and other instant messengers. Additionally, we see buyers leaning into user-generated content from real people who are buying products. These resources surpassed marketing materials usage and sales rep engagement because buyers want input from a community when making a purchase decision.

At a session called, “Beyond Awareness: Branded Content + Funnel Success,” the speakers in leadership positions at Buzzfeed, MGM, LTK, and Firework all highlighted the importance of building trust through being “human.” That is the most profound way to feel connected to a brand. Trust is not built by the tools you implement or the outreach from your sales and marketing teams. You have to create these relationships authentically.

We must understand the passion points, micro-moments, and infinities of our customers. These insights will shape why people are talking about your brand and why they’re not. If you’re not a trusted resource when buyers are ready to purchase, you’re not going to win the game.

Content is king queen

Andrew Wallenstein, Chief Media Analyst at VIP+, reported ad spend has grown over 30% with Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google dominating the majority of advertising dollars. Tying back to the human element as discussed above, native ads and branded content perform best when the messaging is conversational. The energy behind your messaging through different narratives changes the content to be more engaging and reaches a larger audience. 

Use your authentic arsenal of content to resonate with your audience, help you stand out, and gain more market share, and use your customer’s voice in your content as much as possible. They tell your story best and validate your product claims and value. It requires commitment, but the advice given was to start small, learn, adapt, and take accountability. 

As much as we were held back as the world shut down during the pandemic, the future of technology and how to use it to connect with customers remains boundless. Good marketing is a radical act that takes courage.

Want to learn how scaling and leveraging customer reviews can help fuel demand and capture buyers? Get in touch with the TrustRadius team. 

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