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Small Business Marketing Tips from #SXSWi 2012

Posted by Cynthia Fedor on March 14th, 2012


Didn’t get to attend the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin this year? Have no fear. There’s a ton of notes available on Twitter. To make it easier than sifting through all of the information to find useful bits of information, I’ve outlined some helpful tweets from just a couple of the panels that I attended.

Feel free to use the associated hashtags to discover more information about each panel or leave a comment for this post to get a conversation started here.

Why Small is the New Big and Big is the New Small

Twitter Hashtag: #eggcellent

What was this panel about? Size doesn’t matter anymore. The over-riding lesson we are learning worldwide is that a business that gets ahead of the curve is a smart one, not necessarily a big one. The rapid development and adoption of information communication technologies (ICT) over the last ten years is driving this change. As consequence, businesses are leveraging new web, mobile and social technologies to interact with customers and prospects in a whole new way. A role reversal between SMB and Large Enterprise is taking place: SMB is becoming more ubiquitous and quantitative while Enterprise is becoming more personalized and qualitative. This session explores the causes, corrections, and outcomes of the changing dynamics within the marketplace that now allow SMB and Large Enterprise companies to compete for the same customers.


  • Social is transforming IT, making it more accessible for small businesses to go to market & compete w/ the big boys.
  • Everything is becoming more local. Even big business needs to find ways to be unique & visible in local markets.
  • Get hyper-personal; make your customers your board members and sales force. They can be the greatest influencers that attract more business for you.
  • When customers are cheap to acquire don’t forget to work on loyalty and retaining that customer
  • Identify your differentiators and make those things drive your business. It’s not just about price.
  • What you do with data regardless of how big (or small) of a company you are is what will differentiate you

FutureShop–Virtual QR Stores, NFC Receipts & More

Twitter Hashtag: #futureshop

What was this panel about? The mobile shopping revolution isn’t theoretical, it’s here and it’s all around us. Innovations abound such as Tesco’s virtual QR grocery store in a Korean subway station, Levi’s digital fitting rooms, Nestlé’s instant deals for UPC scans of ice cream, and NFC payments that obliterate consumers’ need for a physical wallet. Providers of these and other game changing consumer experiences are mashing up new capabilities to create magical experiences and frenzied user adoption.


  • Sears found (during a marketing campaign in a major city) that more people are willing to shop on mobile device via unique URL but not scan a QR code to shop. Reasons? People may not have access to scanner app at the time; they don’t have instruction as to where they’re going once they scan; they’re embarrassed to take a picture/scan something in public.
  • Very low response rate on QR in billboards, difficult to scan & consumers are embarrassed to scan billboards. Postcards offer the privacy some may want before scanning codes.
  • Make the mobile experience quick & seamless; it should be as easy as making a decision in the store
  • Many POS (point-of-sale) systems can’t manage coupons on mobile devices. That legacy system needs to change.
  • Sears is making an effort to talk to shoppers 1 to 1 via channels that they (shoppers) prefer – SMS, Twitter, etc.
  • Two types of retailers: those that wait to adapt to new tech, and those that lead the charge to innovate
  • Retailers/brands must consider what shoppers are willing to do behaviorally & how to make the shopping experience easier for consumers.
  • Whether businesses are ready for it or not, consumers are interacting with brands via mobile devices. Accept it and adapt.


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