The giant South by Southwest trade show wrapped up last week in Austin TX. For many, the show is all about the future of media. But for the show’s participants, it’s a chance to get their new products and technologies noticed and some of these relate to social media marketing.

At this year’s show, the SXSW Accelerator allowed companies to win the prize for developing the most unique new ideas in social media or mobile apps. Winners include:

  •  Thirst Media: Best new social media/networking technology – The company aims to help overwhelmed users manage their social media data streams.
  •  Condition One:  Best mobile technology – The firm has rolled out immersive video capability for mobile devices which will improve personal communications.
  •  Funf Project: Best new technology – The company is developing an open source module to ease the development of mobile apps.

In reviewing the trends unveiled at SXSW, AdWeek writer Ki Mae Heussner discusses how the new services will help people connect. These online connections will also provide another way for marketers to reach their audience.

For example, this year, social discovery apps have arrived on the scene. Companies like Sonar and Kismet are helping users find friends, and friends of friends, in the immediate geographic area, either directly through mobile phones or through check-ins. As always, the key concern with these apps is privacy. But providers are determined to deliver great utility to users and as the users spend more time on the apps, marketers may follow suit.

Now that marketers are generally accepting of online and mobile marketing, the focus is on data and which vendors are delivering the kind of ROI that’s meaningful. Heussner notes that many companies are wisely avoiding going head to head with heavyweights like Google  or Facebook. Instead, they are rolling out peripheral services that enhance what’s available from industry leaders. Firms that are successful in manipulating data streams uniquely will provide value to marketers.

The SXSW show has increasingly been known for supporting firms that stand at the intersection of technology and marketing. Both Twitter and Foursquare burst onto the national scene after making highly visible introductions in Austin. It will be interesting to see which firms become more visible after their high-profile announcements at this year’s show.

[Sources: SXSW Accelerator. SXSW.com. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2012; Heussner, Ki Mae.. Heading to SXSW. Adweek.com. 8 Mar. 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2012]