The 3 Marketing Trends That Swept SXSW

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Besides electric scooters, what’s taking over Austin this week? These 3 marketing trends…

Marketers may still be doubting the impact of SXSW activations, with many starting to scale back their spend on the event last year per Adweek, but what happens there is often emblematic of what’s happening in the ad world as a whole. So, even as the event caters more to industry insiders, keeping an eye on what’s up-and-coming, and what’s breaking through, remains important year after year. Plus, the entire event is a proving ground for experience-based marketing activations that could spin off into other cities, and reel in outside-of-the-industry young consumers. Consider this: brand-sponsored entertainment and branded events are the top ranking types of marketing 13-36-year-olds say they love/like, according to YPulse’s recent ad/marketing effectiveness survey.

So, what made headlines this year? Besides abandoned scooters from trendy startups littering the streets, per the Verge, there were skating rinks, smart tampon vending machines, clever social media stunts, and plenty of science-backed beauty exhibits—like L’Oreal’s “Know Your Skin” biotech kits and Lush’s augmented reality-fueled bath bomb shopping, reports Digiday. But the real winner of headlines continued on a trend we saw rising at last year’s SXSW: purpose-driven marketing. Game of Thrones asked for blood sacrifices from its gore-loving fans—for a good cause—by teaming up with the American Red Cross for their SXSW installation, where attendees that sign up to donate blood were “recognized and rewarded for their bravery,” Vice reports. The trends that took over SXSW may not all be new, but here are the three that broke through, pervading the event grounds in unexpected ways:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingCannabusiness Grows Up

If attendees are a lot more…


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Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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