At SXSW Organizers Really Do Listen…

March 9, 2012

Public relations


The following is a guest post by my Fleishman-Hillard colleague Beth Ward. Beth is an HR recruiter — or as I like to call her, a people guru. And this is a session you won’t want to miss.

It is almost formulaic.  Organize a conference, find a functional venue, bring in speakers, present content, offer social opportunities and wrap up the event with a survey.  The survey almost always exists as a list of questions designed to make the next conference better than the last.   But how often does that feedback rework the event and more importantly does someone really take the time to study the comments and respond by reaching out to the survey participants?

At SXSW they absolutely do.  They read the surveys from beginning to end.  Following is an excerpt from the response I received from Carolyn St. Romain SXSW Interactive Publications manager in response to my experience at SXSW 2011:

“Over the past few days, I have been spending a lot of time reading registrant feedback from the 2011 SXSW Interactive Festival. To this end, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to fill out the registrant survey. Also, please know that we always appreciate hearing from registrants, because it gives us a lot more perspective on the event. Even when the comments about SXSW aren’t all that positive, feedback such as yours helps us a great deal as we continue to try to improve the event.”

She goes on to address each one of my (ahem) complaints and explains how they tried to address those issues.  But what I really wanted from the conference organizers was a more formalized opportunity to unite job seekers with agencies.  Everyone is looking to make connections at SXSW, but finding out about real opportunities or understanding the work we do, or the clients we manage isn’t always the topic of conversation standing in line to get a refreshment.  And it’s hard to know who is really looking to make a change.

Fortunately, the SXSW conference organizers led by Morgan Catalina continued to seek my feedback and wanted to work with me to design an event that joins recruiters and job seekers.  Morgan’s team suggested an Agency Meet Up, specifically designed to help conference attendees meet with representatives of public relations, advertising, social and digital agencies.   The idea became a reality.

So 2012 SXSW attendees and those interested in learning about agency life, please join our Meet Up on Monday, March 12 at 12 pm at the Austin Convention Center on the Trade Show floor in Exhibit Hall 3/4.  You will find agencies planning to show off their work and learn about job opportunities at places like  Fleishman Hillard, Razorfish and Deutsch among others.  For more information check out the  Agency Meet Up:  Career Seekers in Ad, PR, Social and Digital in the SXSW schedule guide.

I encourage you all to stop by Exhibit Hall on Monday at noon to for the chance to learn more agency careers.  And feel free to leave your feedback on the event.  The organizers of SXSW are always listening and willing to make each conference better than the last.

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@SteveBauer Royalties forthcoming...see you soon @sxsw