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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies in Austin

Photo by Photo by Savannah Mehrtens

Marketing senior Jessamy Tomlinson is a part of the experimental marketing class that assisted with the Texas A&M [Power] House at South by Southwest.

Anyone at South by Southwest 2019 could walk into the Texas A&M [Power] House and see concerts or sessions featuring experts during the three days it was open. However, not just anyone could not see the research and planning put in by Texas A&M students before and after the conference.
A&M’s Division of Marketing and Communications teamed up with the Mays Business School to create an experiential marketing class centered around improving A&M’s presence at SXSW. The class created a way to collect data about guests entering and exiting the venue and will present their findings to the marketing and communications team.
Michael Green, Class of 2011 and manager of emerging and interactive media, helped coordinate with Mays to put together the SXSW [Power] House.
“This year being the third year of our presence at South by, we needed to step it up in a way,” Green said. “I think taking our students — the thing that Texas A&M is most interested in — and including them in what we do is what we should have been doing all along. Giving students a transformational learning experience, while also giving them the opportunity to build the brand that they love and they’re a part of.”
Guests answered a series of questions and were then assigned a wristband that students scanned before they entered or exited the venue. The wristbands were also used to keep track of how many people ordered drinks, attended A&M’s SXSW sessions and used the interactive exhibits.
This data collection system was designed by the experiential marketing students, said marketing senior Rebekah Storke.
“This class has been so rewarding,” Storke said. “I’ve learned so much about marketing, I’ve learned so much about event planning, and just being here at South by Southwest has been such an honor. It’s a really cool conference that Austin puts on, and the fact that A&M gets to make a presence here I think says something about us as a university.”
This semester is the first time the SXSW experiential marketing class has been offered, so marketing professors picked the students who could take the class based on an application process, according to marketing senior Jessamy Tomlinson. The class mainly focuses on data analytics and gives students a chance to apply what they’ve learned in class to a real-world project.
“The class has been an incredible opportunity, because we’ve gotten to research leading up to South by Southwest and we’ll research after a lot of the analytics that we’ve gathered,” Tomlinson said. “It’s been helpful getting a lot of real-world experience at South by Southwest, because a lot of the time in the classroom you work on a lot of cases, but nothing beats actually getting to have hands-on experience.”
A&M also had a booth at the SXSW trade show featuring their research through virtual reality. Several schools had a presence at the trade show, but A&M had a bigger presence at the interactive part of the conference in order to promote their brand.
“We want people to know Texas A&M,” Green said. “When someone slides a resume across the table and it says ‘Texas A&M,’ we want people to have an idea in their head of what Texas A&M is. We want it to be a progressive, thought-leadership, world-class university that’s known all over the world.”

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