By Published On: March 29, 2016

It turns out there are other big events happening in March besides college basketball. One considers itself to be on the cutting edge of emerging technology—something marketers should always be thinking about.

The South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conference (more affectionately known as SXSW, or simply “South By”) just wrapped up its 30th year.

We are especially intrigued by the interactive portion of the conference and the trends that have caught the attention of the all-knowing SXSW digital geeks.

According to the techies that follow SXSW, there are five trends marketers should be watching.

  1. Virtual Reality
  2. Social Messaging
  3. Artificial Intelligence and Emotive Robotics
  4. Dark Social
  5. Connected Everything

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At first glance, much of this looks like futuristic fanfare. But upon a closer look, you can see how some of these things are already creeping into in our everyday lives.

Not long after it was developed, our favorite office nerd brought a “Google Cardboard” into the office. It looks like the old View Master, but it’s made of—you guessed it—cardboard. With Cardboard, a smartphone, and YouTube you can watch 360 degree videos for an immersive experience.

Marketers looking for new ways to showcase their products or services will likely be utilizing this affordable new technology soon. In fact, d.trio sponsored the first-ever 3D filming at the annual MIMA Summit last fall. Those who couldn’t make the conference were able to experience all three of the keynote speakers as if they were there—courtesy of the virtual reality experience.

Here’s a great article about a nonprofit that’s using virtual reality to connect with their donors.

I heard a radio commercial this morning from a local auto dealership that is touting one brand’s automatic brakes. It’s not quite a self-driving car, but it’s one step closer to bringing artificial intelligence into the mainstream.

Of all these trends, Social Messaging seems the most intriguing (and immediately relevant). As marketers, we love the idea of adding value to a conversation. But as a consumer, try to imagine how it would feel if an advertiser somehow found their way into a conversation you’re having on WhatsApp. We may soon find out.

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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