I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes

It’s coming. I can hear the buzz, the distant rumble of excitement from anticipation and preparations. It may be early, but people are already planning for it. It comes every year and the eyes of passersby twinkle at all the sights and sounds that flood the senses…

…at the annual South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Interactive, Film and Music festival in Austin, TX. Did I have you thinking about Christmas for a second? I don’t blame you. But today, I’ve got SXSW on my mind.

We Ketner Groupies are just plain excited. We all have special connections with SXSW. I got married this year during the music festival (which hosted an awesome Friday-night outing for our out-of-towners). Another Ketner Groupie’s love story began there. We helped launch a new social media application there. And every year, we learn something new and valuable that we can share with our clients and friends.

As PR professionals, we ‘heart’ SXSW Interactive (SXSWi), the marketing, digital media and technology hub of the festival. How lucky are we to have the brightest minds and entrepreneurs from all over the globe meet up in one place to share an explosion of ideas and knowledge—right in our own backyard? And we are doubly excited for SXSWi 2012, because three of our clients have submitted their own panels, which are up on the 2012 SXSW PanelPicker now! Check these out and if you like what you see, give ‘em a thumbs up (AKA: vote for their panel)!

~ Tina Cannon ~
Our friend and client, the co-founder of Booqoos

“Women in Tech: Quite Bitchin’ and Start Doing!”
What Tina says: There has been a great deal of trash talking in the social media sphere these days about women in tech or the lack there of. This session will address the current state of women lead tech companies and what other women can do to get into the game. How women can support each other and what steps we can take to change the conversation around women in tech.

~ Lisa Roberts ~
Lisa is the senior director of product management of Ketner Group client, Starmount Systems, and joins executives from AT&T, Vizual Networks and Creative Realities

“Mobile Retail—5 Ways to Enhance Shopper Experience”
What Lisa says: Mobile devices have shifted the power between retailers and consumers. Today’s tech-savvy consumer has an online toolkit to make more educated purchase decisions, resulting in a shopper who is often more knowledgeable about a store’s products and services than sales associates. The panel will discuss the changes in the consumer shopping experience, problems facing retailers’ mobile adaption and the tools needed to bridge the gap between the various retail channels.

~ Dave Sikora ~
Long time friend and client, CEO of Digby

“Mobile Apps and Cross-Channel Engagement Outlook”
What Dave says: The number of Mobile Application Storefronts will grow exponentially in 2011-2012 as retailers look for ways to attract and engage with their loyal customers whether at home, when mobile or when in-store. Retailers who see this opportunity now and aggressively market the App to their customers through their own storefront (email, SMS, catalogs, in-store, direct mail, on eCommerce sites) and through 3rd party storefronts can create a long term formula for success.

We’re also looking forward to a few other panels on marketing and digital & social media:

  • Leland Means, Springbox. How I Learned to Let Go and Love the Agency Side:’ Peek into the minds of Fortune 25 marketing decision-makers and digital agency execs through the eyes of veterans. Leland Means, Director, Springbox speaks candidly about his experience as a general manager and marketing executive at Fortune 500 companies, and his transition to a leadership role at a digital agency.”
  • Erin Mulligan Nelson, Bazaarvoice. “‘Beyond Marketing: Social Data’s ‘Coming Out’ Party:’ Customer chatter on the web knows all and tells all. What is it saying about your brand and how long will it take you to hear? This presentation will show how customer intelligence from online communities and across social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter allows savvy brands to spot trends before they reach a critical mass.”
  • Roger Dooley, DooleyDirect, LLC.How Brain Science Turns Browsers Into Buyers:’ You’ll learn about the findings from cutting-edge neuroscience and behavior research, but you’ll also receive concrete, easy-to-implement, tips that you can apply to your business in 2012 and beyond. Answers questions like, “How do your brain’s expectations influence your actual experiences?” and “How did Steve Jobs build a cult-like following using ‘mind control?'”
  • Bernard Briggs, T3.Which SXSW Technologies Do Not Matter to You:’ For brand marketers, the SXSW slew of technologies can be confusing, frustrating, and even nauseating at times. The truth is: technology is not “one size fits all.” Through this workshop, you will determine the heads and tails of SXSW Interactive…[and] leave with a scorecard ranking of 2012 SXSW technologies for your organization – what to focus on, what to throw to the side, and what to keep your eye on.”

What about you? Have you heard of any must-see panels? Leave us a comment, we’d love to know about them!