The Future Attendees of SXSW: Identifying Teen Influencers

This time of year, there's huge hype surrounding SXSW. Among new technology buzz, music showcases and film screenings, there is so much going on, which, in turn, means there's a lot for marketers and advertisers to do in preparation for the event.

But why should marketers and advertisers stop at targeting this generation of professionals? How can we take the momentum that marketers build around the event for professionals and translate it to teen markets, reaching the future attendees of SXSW?

If you're looking for tomorrow's conference attendees today, here's where you'll find them:

1. High School Activity Clubs. Think student government, sports teams, and general interest clubs. Regardless of the actual group, teens who participate in extracurricular activities could very likely be those that would be interested in attending trendy conferences in the future. Partnering with these clubs -- for example, sponsoring a trip -- would allow you to market your conference or event in a non-intrusive, but direct way.



2. Local Organizations. On a local level, marketers can get involved with different events or performances. A great example of this is the "Kick It 3v3" tournament, where X brand sponsors the tournament, and in return, gets its branding in front of the players. The events are covered with the branding, and the tournament takes place all over the country. Sponsors are guaranteed to reach a large teen audience. The teens that participate in these events are most likely to be active in their respective circles. Also, keep in mind that these types of events typically have "villages" with sponsor booths much like SXSW for teens to kill time between activities.

3. National Organizations. On a high level, relationships with national organizations -- the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, for example -- can be forged. Reach out to adult supervisors to assist with outings, presentations and events. Hold a panel geared toward teens to get them introduced to this format at a younger age, making them more comfortable with such things in the future.

Of course, there are a few important points to note. First, certain regulations -- like the COPA laws -- around marketing and outreach to teens prohibit activities that would similarly be used to market towards professionals. Marketers can't always use the exact same tactics for teen audiences as they would for professional ones. In addition, professionals may attend events and conferences because they feel it's important or helpful for their career. But teens, on the other hand, will respond best to outside-of-the-box thinking and aspects that are worthwhile. They'll care more about which conference or event catches their attention and provides them with something fun and exciting.

Techniques used to target professionals and build momentum toward conferences and events can also be used to target teens. Targeting teens in the mentioned categories will help lead them in the right direction to attend conferences in the future. In 10 years, the teens that are being exposed to marketing and advertising efforts today are those that will be at events like SXSW, so why not make it easier for ourselves in the future and get to these teens as soon as possible!

1 comment about "The Future Attendees of SXSW: Identifying Teen Influencers ".
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  1. Byron Wolt from Speak to Students, April 7, 2011 at 4:19 p.m.

    Very good information! Connecting with students in schools is a GREAT way to create a relationship for today and the future. I would like to add to HS Clubs are not only extra curricular, but clubs like DECA, HERO COOP, BPA, Student Council, etc. offer great tie in opportunities to a more general student population.

    Thanks for the information!

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