DMEXCO: A recap from last week's marketing expo


If you have not been to DMEXCO (the Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference), it is difficult to describe; colleagues who had been before described it as 'a digital jumble sale' and 'everyone you’ve ever heard of, all in one place'.

All of these proved true on our visit to Cologne last week. More than anywhere else, DMEXCO embodies the continued explosion in marketing technologies and digital capability, with over 1,000 exhibitors from automotive, augmented reality and search, through to social, connected homes and DMPs.

It offers both an exhilarating and overwhelming array of choice and information for marketers.

The runaway success of this conference is testament to the vibrant health of the digital marketing industry. We see this as a reaction to how significantly the world has changed over the past two decades.

The pace of change is relentless; from widespread internet adoption (with most born since 2000 not recognising the sound of dial up internet), to mobile, Amazon, Netflix, Wikipedia and wearable devices to name but a few.

The age of info

Consumer technology adoption has removed friction from people’s lives in entertainment, accessing information, and critically, in how they transact with brands.

It has led to an explosion of information for businesses to harness but also a divide in those businesses who succeed and fail in what we call the digital economy.

Brands can track performance of advertising through to sale on those retailer sites more accurately than ever before

Digital marketing is powered by a bewildering array of ad tech; the rise of programmatic is an excellent example of the power of technology to change the way we work. But the digital economy is built on more than ad tech – it relies on brilliant people and an integrated ecosystem of tools and technologies (martech) to deliver seamless customer experiences.

Customer experience is becoming the differentiator for many brands and this was the core message of many of the presentations, debates and stands at DMEXCO.  

The global digital transformation has empowered customers more than ever before. Brands are responding by moving from talking about their products and services to connected personal experiences.

But with this comes the challenge of deeply understanding audiences and delivering the relevant messaging across all customer touchpoints. DMEXCO exhibitors offered a variety of solutions to help marketers in this space across four broad areas: personalisation, data, commerce and agility.


This can be a dirty word in marketing – the line between delivering a customer centric tailored experience and crossing the “creepy line” can be very thin.When talking about personalisation we often jump to personalised content, VR or journey management tools and companies in this space can offer amazing capability.

At DMEXCO, advertisers such as Vimplecom spoke about the need to recognise market maturity when advertisers engage with consumers.

For a first time smartphone user in Bangalore, it is likely the smartphone is their only point of internet access whereas in New York they could have multiple devices. Tech that can deliver seamless complex experiences needs to be considered alongside getting the basics right.


Many of the data led propositions at DMEXCO this year focussed on ways to support businesses in harnessing, understanding and actioning data more effectively.

This was particularly evident in the battle to understand consumer journeys across device and channel. Suppliers in this space are increasingly looking to understand consumers beyond the cookie.

The enormous user bases of Facebook (Atlas) and Google mean their solutions can deterministically connect people (rather than just a cookie) cross-device and provide detailed insight into the customer journey from which brands can make informed decisions.


Ultimately, most brands are trying to sell a product or service. Technologies in the commerce space that reduce friction from point of engagement through to purchase can have dramatic ROI.

For brands that typically sell via third party retailers, technologies like Hooklogic can offer valuable insight. Brands can track performance of advertising through to sale on those retailer sites more accurately than ever before.

All of these technology solutions are only valuable if the business itself is agile, and can move fast to win.

Many of the debates and talks focused on transformation (technology and structural). Accenture and IBM (among others), are more traditionally considered 'consultancies' yet had a large presence at DMEXCO.

Agencies and consulting firms seem to moving ever closer together as they support businesses in delivering transformation and truly benefiting from the opportunities in the digital economy.

iProspect has experienced this first hand with the growth of our consultancy function and strategy team.

DMEXCO truly offered something for everyone – advertisers, agencies and suppliers.  It’s billed as the 'must attend' conference, and based on our experience this year, we definitely agree.

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