Unofficial & Free SXSW Interactive Events 2016 [UPDATED]

Austin’s massive South by Southwest conference may be known as a celebration of all things music, film, and tech, but it’s also a popular event for those who work in digital marketing. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the latest marketing tech and trends, meet other marketing professionals, and get inspired for your next campaign.

There are plenty of great marketing-related events you can attend at SXSW, even if you don’t want to shell out $1000+ for an official badge, but these unofficial events are getting harder to find. To help you navigate the conference, we’ve put together a list of free SXSW interactive events that we think will appeal to our fellow digital marketers.

Keep checking back: new SXSW events are being announced every day, and we’ll add new marketing-related events as we learn about them.

Pre-SXSW Startup Crawl

When: Thursday, March 10, 5pm-10pm

Where: Capital Factory, 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701

What: The annual SXSW startup crawl isn’t technically just an event for marketers, but it’s always a big draw for professionals in the marketing space. Attendees take complimentary shuttles around town to visit different startup workplaces, network, and enjoy free food, drinks, and games. More info.

Freelancer Friday SXSW Breakfast

When: Friday, March 11, 10AM-12PM

Where: Contently SXSW HQ, 1120 Navasota St, Austin, TX 78702

What: Does your marketing company work with freelance content producers? If so, you may want to come meet some of the creative freelancers who will be in town for SXSW at this free breakfast hosted by Contently. More info.

Spredfast Social Suite Lounge

When: Friday, March 11 – Sunday, March 13, 10AM-6PM

Where: Spredfast HQ, 200 W Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78701

What: Social management company Spredfast is returning to SXSW with their Social Suite Lounge, where conference attendees can rest, enjoy food and drinks, charge their phones, and network in a relaxed environment. The suite is invite-only, and you’ll need to email [email protected] to get on their list. More info.

The Oslo Lounge

When: Friday, March 11-Tuesday, March 15, 11AM-8PM

Where: Brass House, 115 San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin, TX

What: During the day (11AM-4PM), the Oslo Lounge will be an open workspace with coffee and WiFi, so drop in with your coworkers if you’re interested in getting out of the office for a meeting or brainstorming session. After 4, the Lounge will host panel talks on creative industries, presentations from tech companies out of Oslo, and even something called the Nordic Startup Pitch Battle. More info.

Drupal Drop In

When: Saturday, March 12, 12PM-3PM

Where: The Roof Deck at Maggie Mae’s, 512 Trinity St, Austin, TX 78701

What: Drupal, a web content management system company, is hosting a meetup for executives, digital marketers, and developers, whether they’re already using the Drupal platform or are just interested in learning more about it. The rooftop party will feature live music, free food and drinks, and a great view of 6th Street. More info.

Mobile Marketing Meetup with Mobile Dev Memo

When: Saturday, March 12, 4PM-7PM

Where: The Brixton, 1412 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

What: Network with fellow mobile marketers while enjoying an open bar, food, and music. This looks like it’s going to be a very popular event, so contact the organizer to get on the wait list if you’re interested in attending. More info.

The CMO Clubhouse

When: Saturday, March 12 – Sunday, March 13, all day

Where: 515 Congress Ave, Suite 2420, Austin, TX 78701

What: The CMO Clubhouse is billed as a “two day oasis” where marketing executives can build relationships with peers, host meetings, enjoy refreshments, attend CMO round tables, and more. If you’re a content marketing executive, you can request a pass for this event now. More info.

SXSW Job Market

When: Saturday, March 12 – Sunday, March 13, 10AM-5PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 1

What: If you’re a digital marketer in search of new career opportunities, or if your agency has been looking for new job candidates, you’ll want to attend the SXSW Job Market. In addition to connecting employers with prospective candidates, this event will also include talks on talent acquisition from industry leaders. You can attend for free—you just need to pick up a SXSW guest pass. More info.

SXSW Health Communication Networking Coffee

When: Sunday, March 13, 8AM-9AM

Where: The Moody Theater, 310 W Willie Nelson Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

What: This one’s kind of a niche event, but if you’re a digital marketer with clients in the healthcare industry, you won’t want to miss it. The meetup is hosted by the Center for Health Communication at UT Austin and will include free breakfast tacos and coffees. This is a smaller event with limited space, so you’ll need to RSVP by March 9th if you want to go. More info.

IAB@SXSW Sunday Brunch

When: Sunday, March 13

Where: Location TBA with invite

What: Digital marketing insights company eMarketer is teaming up with SmartBrief and Blast PR for what they describe as a low-key brunch, where marketers can mingle and have conversations with leaders in online advertising. This is an invite-only event, so it’s likely to be more intimate than a lot of the other free SXSW events. You can request an invite on the eMarketer site now. More info.


TechBreakfast Showcase 2016

When: Sunday, March 13, 9AM-1PM

Where: Crave, 340 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

What: This event gives attendees a chance to see 25 speed demos of emerging technology while enjoying a free breakfast from Crave. Spots are limited, so register ASAP. More info.

Mobile Future’s #MobileRitas Brunch

When: Sunday, March 13, 11AM-1PM

Where: Chupacabra Cantina, 400 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

What: The SXSW Sunday brunches continue with #MobileRitas, which is hosted by Mobile Future, an association of tech and communications companies that are invested in wireless innovations. Sounds like another good event for mobile marketers. More info.

ProductTank Meetup

When: Sunday, March 13, 2PM-5PM

Where: 520 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

What: This meetup is geared at product managers who work in the mobile and web industries, but it could also be a great opportunity for online marketers to meet some of the people who build useful marketing tools. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy free beers on the patio of Little Woodrow’s. More info.

Tech.Co’s Startup Celebration

When: Sunday, March 13, 8PM-11PM

Where: Maggie Mae’s, 323 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

What: Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail) is hosting an event that seeks to bring together technology enthusiasts (including digital marketers) with good music and complimentary drinks. Spots are limited, so RSVP now. More info.

The Big Data You Didn’t Know You Have

When: Thursday, March 10, 6PM-8PM

Where: Leverage Marketing Office, 2400 E. Cesar Chavez, Ste. 300, Entrance in the courtyard behind Juniper restaurant.

What: A free interactive seminar that reviews online tools (most of them free) to analyze global trends, user behaviors and more. Learn how to Leverage this insightful data to get the most out of your digital marketing efforts. Q & A with experts and foosball tournament with refreshments to follow. Limited to 40 seats. RSVP with your name, company and role to [email protected] to request a spot.

Know of any free SXSW events for digital marketers that we missed? Let us know in the comments!