5 key takeaways from DMEXCO for Global Marketers

Over 40,000 visitors, 1,100 exhibitors and 500 speakers from around the world, we went to learn, to be inspired and to discover how today’s ideas can become tomorrow’s reality. Here are our 5 key takeaways from our time at DMEXCO.

The world is becoming increasingly ‘smarter’

Busy lifestyles, flexible working and on-demand TV shows mean people might be less likely to sit down in front of the television (and therefore advertisements) every evening, but the digital world is opening up new opportunities to communicate and connect with consumers.

As more and more smart and IoT-enabled products make an appearance in our homes – it’s estimated there will be 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020 – it’s time we sit up and take notice of this channel and its potential to sell to and service potential customers.

Marketing to customers via their smart homes and smart products will demand new strategies, innovative tactics and budgets.

Mobile network speeds are on the rise

As we prepare to embrace the fifth-generation mobile network (5G), we need to think about what super-fast mobile data speeds will mean for mobile advertising. For starters, it will remove mobile content size barriers. This means video will soon be accessible everywhere, and at any time – and this will increase the appeal and usability of mobile advertising.

ePrivacy is an essential marketing consideration

With the arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), marketing agencies and brands are being forced to think very carefully about how consumer data is being collected and what it is being used for. Legislation will likely be revised and added to in the future, in order to combat the workarounds that companies born from the digital economy will undoubtedly look to exploit in order to continue making revenue.

The public understandably have concerns when it comes to the integrity of their online data, and it’s up to us to convince them that their information is not only safe but is being used in a way that is transparent, honest and authentic. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said that it was an arms race between companies to find the best solutions.

The main takeaway was that companies must take responsibility to make sure that customer data is not abused or used to their detriment. The reality means accepting cookies on every website you visit and accepting lengthy terms and conditions that no one ever reads – surely impacting the user experience – and time will tell what the most effective response to this new legislation is.

AI and blockchain can help reduce ad fraud

We are only just starting to realise the potential of innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) and the blockchain, and it’s exciting to think about how they could revolutionise elements of the digital marketing industry.

Blockchain technologies are helping to prevent counterfeit work – whether that’s a painting, a currency or someone’s data. And by constantly tracking and tracing the location and owner of material, the blockchain can be used to add value and security to assets that businesses want to leverage, therefore promising the very things that are missing from programmatic advertising such as transparency and security against manipulation. It would mean each stakeholder could follow the complete journey of each individual advertising booking and examine it for fraud, something that is extra useful when you consider global assets that are being adapted and implemented in local markets as part of an international marketing campaign.

On the other hand, AI and machine learning are currently being used to detect ad fraud. But this only works to a limited extent, because as soon as a fraud method is uncovered and included in the prevention measures, new methods are developed elsewhere.

Those who dare will ultimately win

An undoubted highlight was a talk by some of the biggest creative advertising minds in the business. Redefining bravery: The global perspective saw:

  • Dorte Spengler-Ahrens (Matt/SAGA – CCO)
  • Eco Moliterno (Accenture Interactive – CCO)
  • Jason Romeyko (Serviceplan – World Executive Creative Director)
  • Javier Campopiano (FCB – Partner & CCO)
  • Jeff King (Fallon – CCO)

take to the stage to discuss how being brave in advertising means putting the consumer at the centre of your strategy. The key message? Overlook people at your peril and ensure that everything is done with them and the experience you want them to have in the front of your mind. Each of the speakers illustrated an example of work from their agency that demonstrated brave, out-of-the-box thinking that in turn created a lot of noise and attention that further promoted awareness of the campaign.

For example, men’s magazine Vangardist in Austria teamed up with Saatchi & Saatchi to print a special edition that used ink infused with HIV-positive blood to challenge social stigma. They also individually packaged each magazine in an airtight plastic film to force readers to break the seal to access the magazine, further challenging the reader to physically and mentally remove barriers surrounding HIV.

In another instance, BVG – the city of Berlin’s public transport company – wanted to attract more young people to use its services. So, through an unlikely partnership with Adidas, an advertising campaign and unique limited-edition trainer that doubled up as a free one-year pass on all BVG transport was run in January this year. The PR that followed caused a huge stir with the target audience – it was the perfect campaign to change opinions and convert a younger audience to using public transport.

No one knows what the future holds, but we certainly left DMEXCO armed with plenty of actionable ideas that will inform our constantly evolving approach to today’s fascinating digital marketing landscape.


Freedman International
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