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AdFolks and SXSW: A Match?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The SXSW (South by Southwest) Conference in Austin has blown up as "the" place to be for digital and social media organizations. What started out as a music and film celebration and festival has morphed into a technology and innovation playground. Several of the digital brands we know, like Foursquare, could give SXSW credit for helping it get off the ground. It is a place where entrepreneurs can find partners and investors. It is a place for business deals and networking. 

So what are agencies doing there?

A little bit of everything. The Great Recession forced many bright minds who were moving up the corporate ladder to explore the world of entrepreneurship. Why spend months looking for a job when these well-connected people can spend the same amount of time trying to create one? The rise and prevalence of startups is a fascinating realm for agencies. With the right business plan and investors, the startup could wind up with an ample amount of resources to hire an agency to help it gets its name out.

Plus, with entrepreneurs, they know too well that the best way to get something done is giving the task to those who are better at it than they are.

The startup community, though sometimes irritating when they go off on their "do it yourself" tangents, can be the best group AdFolks can work with. Unlike Corporate America, they are willing to look at daring marketing and advertising activities, as long as there are good reasons to do so. It is not that entrepreneurs are more risky, is it that they are less inclined to stick to old methods. 

New doesn't mean risky.

Are AdFolks and SXSW a match? It seems time will tell. Smaller agencies have been a part of SXSW for some time, but this is the year when the likes of JWT (created "Walter" a two-week agency set up to help startups with a marketing plan) decided to get involved and throw their innovation weight around the festival. We are sure there will be some hits, and some misses as well, but as long as the economy continues to look for a boost, this match-making mating ground for AdFolks and startup may stay open for some time.

Until the next "hot" thing comes around.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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