My DMEXCO checklist: Trust, DNA and start-ups

What I’m most looking forward to in Cologne this week

September 13, 2017


It’s hardly surprising that DMEXCO has risen up the conference ranks from an event for die-hard ad-techies to one which, for some, rivals the likes of South by Southwest and CES.

The abundance of data and growing computer power has created an era of unprecedented change and opportunity for brands and I’m excited to be heading to Cologne to hear the latest developments, opinions and insights from some of the industry’s best.

As I finish my packing before heading to the airport, I thought I would share my checklist for DMEXCO this year.

It’s all about trust
All eyes will be on Marc Prichard’s latest comments around transparency in the digital supply chain and the need for a digital advertising ecosystem that advertisers can trust (his one-year deadline for platforms and agencies to adhere to his new transparency rules is fast approaching). However, I’m just as interested in how brands are using technology to build trust with their end audiences, whether they be consumers or professionals.

In today’s bombardment of messages and ads, the role of content in building trust has never been so important, particularly within a B2B landscape where decisions are taken over a longer period of time, often involve big sums of money and can have long-lasting consequences for personal careers. In fact, our recent State of Sales research found that 88% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy from someone who shares relevant content.

With this in mind I will be getting myself along to the Experience Hall at DMEXCO on Thursday this week, to see the ‘programmatic creativity session’. This features the likes of Belinda Rowe, Global Managing Partner, Publicis Media and Charles Yardley, General Manager, Forbes Media, discussing smart content marketing and its effects on companies and clients.

It’s about DNA as well
I’m hugely excited to be a part of LinkedIn’s biggest ever presence at DMEXCO and look forward to welcoming clients, peers and friends at our stand. We’ll be talking through the opportunities on our platform, including the opportunity LinkedIn provides for engaging audiences in Germany through content marketing.

We are also very glad to have one of LinkedIn’s founders, Allen Blue, join us. Allen will be taking part in the third session of the opening day in the Congress Hall. While much of the event will focus on the technology and digital platforms enabling a new era of marketing, Allen’s session will tackle how this unprecedented change impacts the way we work and the skills we need to thrive. All this technology means nothing if we can’t work that out.

While hot off the heels of Cannes, I will be interested to hear how much we as an industry have progressed when it comes to diversity. It would be wrong to look at the latest developments in our industry without discussing one of our biggest challenges. The organisers of DMEXCO have started three initiatives to strengthen the position of women in marketing, media and technology, and to demonstrate “that gender equality is more than a buzzword of our time.”

I’ll be going along to the Congress Hall on the Wednesday to watch the ‘Women’s Leadership Table’ during which Ikea’s Claudia Willvonseder and Unilever’s Aline Santos (among others) will discuss how diversity of race and gender, as well as of mindset and opinion, yields more creative solutions and increases the bottom line. How much will they think things have moved on since we all spent a week in the South of France?

Bring on the startups
Among the 250 hours of the DMEXCO programme, with more than 570 speakers across two-days, I’m sure many along with me will be playing close attention to the Start-Up Village. It’s probably where we all have most to learn.

It’s an opportunity to see some of the latest, most exciting ideas bubbling away in the industry. Thursday’s Start-Up Hatch final will see selected start-ups make a six-minute presentation to an impressive jury, which will reward the most innovative solution, product or service for digital marketing with a whopping €20,000.

But it’s more than just the best tech or ideas that I am interested in hearing and seeing. It’s about how they foster a culture of innovation and agility, which is so often coveted by bigger businesses. On the Wednesday, in the Experience Hall, ‘The Entrepreneur's Experience’ will look at the need for businesses to immerse themselves in the startup culture of agility and innovation to lead a business through change and transformation. Any panel with the amazing Sarah Wood from Unruly has to be good.

I’m looking forward to a busy few days in Germany this week but, as you can see from this list, it’s the conversations surrounding technology, rather than the technology itself, which I’m most looking forward to.