#DMWF Europe: Three observations from Digital Marketing World Forum

A former 19th century-commodity exchange standing bold, brick-red, but very much at home in the dead centre of Amsterdam, the Beurs van Berlage seemed a fitting home for #DMWF Europe (Digital Marketing World Forum) 2018.

It was a conference that held a pervasive frankness around industry shortcomings, a respect for tradition and legacy, and a crucial but measured awareness of how the digital world is evolving around us. If there was one lesson to be learned from #DMWF given the success of the globally-leading brands on its roster, it’s that humility reigns in digital marketing.

That being said, there was certainly no shortage of passion or excitement for emerging technologies that are increasingly finding their practical uses in the industry.

The rise of new technologies

#DMWF was a reminder of how - while often construed as a buzzword - artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are increasingly finding utility within digital marketing today, while the scope and potential of its development in the not-too-distant future can be dizzying.

Deep insights platform Crimson Hexagon provided a glimpse of this, having just launched image recognition technology that has the capability to recognise brand logos from images shared on social, for overview of brand affinity within a music concert, to cite just one use case. There are powerful consequences to the platform’s abilities to interpret trends and insights from masses of readily available data; Marketing Tech caught up with the company for a deeper look.

Meanwhile, with consumers demanding personalised experiences across every platform or screen they interact with a brand on, the use of AI-powered tools may be becoming less of a choice.

“There’s a ton of data being produced - customers are everywhere nowadays, across multiple devices and in-store. They have expectations for personalisation across every channel - AI helps you make sense of large magnitudes of data in a matter of seconds,” said Hugo Pereira, VP of global marketing and growth at EVBox.

GDPR woes continue

Four months into the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and conversations at #DMWF Europe suggest that the update continues to lift the blood pressure of even the most seasoned of marketers. But it’s no longer just those in Europe that should be concerned. Internet privacy company OneTrust, which delivered a session focused on the most common challenges still being faced by GDPR, suggests conversations around the right to privacy are going global.

“GDPR has started a wildfire, legally - it’s got people talking about privacy, compounded by recent events such as the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal has brought the privacy discussion into the mainstream,” OneTrust account executive, Alan MacGillivray, told Marketing Tech. “The first one to move has been Europe and they’ve been very proactive on it. The US has taken heed of that, and other countries have started to realise ‘hey, we need a privacy framework here’.”

MacGillivray added that budgeting for privacy operations should be considered as a given part of marketing operations; “it’s going to cause a lot of detriment to your public integrity if you don’t get it right.”

Content marketing is the medium

“The medium is the message” was an oft-quoted adage on the Content & Social Media Marketing track, and this particularly rang true in Nick Mason’s keynote “The Fight Against Disposable Content” early on day one. Here, CEO and founder of content marketing platform Turtl argued that despite the time marketers put into crafting stories, it can all be in vain if little thought goes into the 'how'. 

“We see an awful lot of people spending an awful lot of money and time, creating great content with great narratives and stories, but they let themselves down with the way that they publish,” Mason told Marketing Tech. “Typically if they’re doing that through PDF or a standard scrolling webpage, and they’re missing half of the equation because the way and the medium that we receive the message is just as important as what it is you say.”

Mason encouraged marketers to spend more time researching the psychology of how consumers read and process information; “for instance, using visuals and interaction properly in your content can have a huge impact on how people engage with it, how people retain the information, and their propensity to share and follow on later.”

Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) returns this November 7-8 for the North American leg of the global conference and expo series in New York. Find out more here.

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