At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival, everyone is talking about how audiences are more involved than ever with brands, shaping and crafting the experience they want to have with all kinds of products. Challenges vary, but mobile platforms are redefining real-time marketing and changing how people connect with brands.

A SXSW panel with Jen Saenz, senior director of brand marketing at Frito-Lay; Shiv Singh, global head of digital at PepsiCo; and Kevin Knight, Facebook creative strategist, discussed how fans are demanding a new way of marketing.

Marketers must tailor their approach to fit different media to increase engagement with people and to create a deeper connection, said Saenz. Also, she spoke about how turning fan-made material into marketing assets can increase the effectiveness of a campaign.

Here are a few more key points from the panel:

Traditional marketing still works, even if it’s no longer as effective on its own. Mass media is still important for integrated campaigns, as TV can be a great catalyst for social media efforts.
Brands increasingly depend on loyal fans to help stretch marketing budgets. Your biggest fans are your best advocates; people are now spokespeople at a larger scale than ever. Crowdsourcing efforts can increase this effect, giving fans an investment in sharing a brand’s message, as well as creating better marketing content.
Mobile isn’t an option — it’s mandatory. Tons of brand traffic is coming via tablets and smartphones. For marketers, the more screens they have their disposal, the better.
Invest in a fan’s identity to increase the brand bond. When planning a campaign, look for ways to connect to a fan’s individual identity. An anthropological approach is now required from the brands and their agencies. That’s the reason why crowdsourcing and marketing research have become one and the same.

How is your brand responding to the changing marketing landscape?

Ana Galleta is the digital strategist of Element, a digital marketing agency in Mexico City. She is currently working with PepsiCo brands and some others, providing everything from planning to the final execution of a campaign, and the overall digital strategy. Also, she has been in the music business since 2003.

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