SxSW Success Begins Now

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I closed more than $500,000 worth of consulting deals from the past four SxSW interactive festivals.

Every year has produced at least one new successful business relationship, making the event a must attend for me. Yet, many of my colleagues complain about their lack of success at Sx (as veterans call it).

Some ask me how I achieve success at SxSW when others seem to struggle. Here are my tips to make the most of this great opportunity:

Get Started Now

SxSW winners are made before the show, not at the event.

It’s hard to rise above the noise. In fact, if you haven’t been to SxSWi before, know that the event is crazy busy. You will likely be blown out by the sheer energy and activities going on.

You need a marketing strategy now, especially if you are a company.

Most winners are crowned before Sx. If they are a company “unveiling” something at Sx, all of the big media outlets and influencers are talking about them beforehand. Or they pre-release their party or custom campaign.

Win big or go home? Then win big before you show up.

Networking Trumps Content

Allhat III

The other classic Sx mistake is to book up on conference sessions in advance.

If you are trying to build relationships and generate business for your organization, don’t waste your time hanging out in sessions. Get in the hall, go to a networking event. Sx is a pure unbridled networking event.

Bring a big fat stack of cards and go to as many networking events and private parties as you can.

As for the content itself? Since most of it was developed nine months prior you can safely assume there will be little on the bleeding edge.

Sloppy Loses

Because the character of the event is inherently social with casual dress, lots of parties, and informal hang-outs, people get lulled into a recreational trip.

HUGE Mistake.

If you hang out with your buddies the whole time, get drunk, try to get laid, overfocus on what’s happening online at SxSW, etc, etc. then you will surely leave Austin with little opportunity for new business. And you risk being made an example of on the Internet.

Yes, play by the event rules and come casual, but don’t ever let up on your A-Game.

I make it a rule to avoid hanging out with friends until late on Sunday, and that assumes I have already achieved my business goals.

Have you begun preparing for SxSW?

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  • http://www.jasonkonopinski.com/ Jason Konopinski

    Stick me in your luggage?

    • geofflivingston

      You got it.

      • http://www.jasonkonopinski.com/ Jason Konopinski

        Game. On.

        • http://www.writerightwords.com/ Erin Feldman

          I have a guest pass with your name written on it, if you want it. It’s only good for the 9th, though.

  • http://www.writerightwords.com/ Erin Feldman

    Does that mean we’re hanging out on Sunday? ;)

    I do want to go to some of the sessions, but I plan to spend as much time as I can networking. Gold pass for the win!

    • geofflivingston

      That means we’ll be hanging out on Sunday!

  • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

    Good words Geoff. I think we’d do good at an event together! Hope you have great results at SXSW this year.

    • geofflivingston

      Thank you! I bet we would be a dangerous duo, indeed.

  • http://susanbeebe.com/ susanbeebe

    Terrific advise from a Pro. I like your laser focus on results and not making a dork of yourself, which is so easy to do at Sx.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      Yes, well, I don’t need Sx to make a dork of myself, LOL! Hope you are doing well, Susan!

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