Takeaways from the world’s largest marketing fair: #dmexco


Dmexco took place on the 14th-15th of September in Cologne, Germany. The exposition featured more than 800 vendors and was something for all senses. At times, it really felt like standing right in the middle of Scott Brinker’s Martech landscape picture. So with the disclaimer of us not being able to cover the entire event by the four of us, here are the key take-aways that we brought back home to our offices in Stockholm, Helsinki and Gdansk.




1 Demand on measurement in all kinds of channels has increased the amount of measurement tools and platforms

Measurement and optimization of both online and offline campaign activities is a hot topic, and there were more solution providers on the expo floor than one could possibly talk to. Combining online and offline data in analysing marketing activities has been one of the problems in digital advertising and now it felt that many vendors took their stage in solving the problem.


Technology for measuring ad viewer’s age, sex and sentiment as well as time spent viewing ads at the Adform booth


2 “People marketing” or the convergence of Adtech and Martech

The discussion around first party data has definitely exploded. People marketing or one-to-one marketing is definitely the new trend of optimizing ad spend. As Ad tech and Mar Tech marry, first party data starts to rule the communication in both own and external channels. With DMP mentioned in almost every speech, owning your own data is pointed as crucial. Also other techniques such as Adbridges served by the biggest Martech companies makes it easy to use your CRM data to run targeted campaigns, without building your own DMP. Definitely relevant if you aren’t a big advertising spender but do campaigns in paid media. The “big data” discussion has come to a point where your own data is crucial for your business results.


3 Programmatic finds new formats

Even though it is not something that is going to happen at this second on a major scale, most people seemed to agree that programmatic buying is inevitably going to spread to TV and OOH as well. It’s no secret that agencies and programmatic platform parties would like to see TV evolving into an open and flexible buying platform. We heard some arguments about the power of mass media and questionability of programmatic bringing value to the end customer, but also valid points of why the media companies need to have control of ads on these channels. Linking the wrong ad in the wrong place can create an inappropriate advertising message. Programmatic is surely coming to OOH and TV, the question is, in what form, and how soon it will become mainstream.


4 The media industry is being eaten alive – and it hurts

“Two giants” was the most commonly used reference in the speeches and discussions. The question revolved around defining Facebook and Google as either Enemies, Friends, or most commonly “Frenemy”. Be as it may, most of the growth in the advertising industry is going to be shared by these two.

Another topic that makes the advertising industry cringe is adblocking. The fast growing popularity of the use of adblocking software has gotten all parties from media companies and agencies to advertisers on their toes. Opinions for solutions were divided. Some say that people need education on the value exchange of ads and content they consume online, some seemed to think that the only thing needed is to start listening to the opinions of consumers. Everyone seemed to be fully dedicated to fix the problem and prepared to go through a comprehensive change to make it possible. Major players in the industry have come together to form a Coalition for Better Ads. You can find more information about it here www.betterads.org. What are the real efforts put towards fixing the problem is left to be seen.


5 Demands on ”programmatic creativity” to ensure emotional proximity

Programmatic targeting enables technical proximity, but to get high enough effect of programmatic and hyper targeted activities, the creatives should be programmatic as well. This could mean for instance localizing a campaign in 60.000 versions like Zalando – one for each new city where they now deliver a particular brand. Each city got their own targeted message of the video with top model Cara Delevigne pronouncing (or trying to!) city names.

Programmatic creativity could also mean using three totally different campaign approaches for three different personality segments like the German retailer OBI did. Whatever the creative outcome – the approach requires creative professionals to be more aware and more humble when it comes to the technical opportunities (but also limitations) that are provided today. That could mean designing a content piece that consists of multiple dynamic content pieces, where no actual marketing asset will be alike. Together programmatic targeting (technical proximity) and programmatic creativity (emotional proximity) will be undefeated in creating impact. Econsultancy predicted that this will be the trend of 2016.


Bubbling under

(topics that were there – but were not substantially visible as ”themes” or trends)


Cognitive Computing for marketers will significantly change the game

as Robert Schwartz from IBM correctly countered Rishad Tobaccowalla from Publicis in one of the debates: ”When you have a learning platform, the meaning of data changes”. The notion of having ”too much data” or ”data noise” changes significantly when cognitive computing helps you concentrate on what really matters – making decisions. And the ones who have a) started collecting data early enough and b) made analytics and machine learning possible by proper data architecture will be the winners in a few years time. Mark our words – this will be a mainstream topic within a few years at dmexco




Entry of the IT giants

Mentioned in quite a large amount of the executive talks but not yet prominently present at the event were the system-integrators-going-marketing-agencies of the world (Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, McKinsey, SAP etc). Dmexco seemed to revolve quite a bit around the advertising and publishing industry and slightly neglecting the growing not the marketing technology industry – but this is surely going to change within the next years with perhaps a clearer track for ”Martech”.


…and our hopes and wishes for next year


More presentations / separate track for B2B Marketing

There were some vendors present, but very few presentations on B2B marketing. As the spend on marketing in the B2B sector is growing, there is definitely room for more focus on this topic.

Separate track for “Martech”

Although what is usually labelled ”martech” was definitely present at the conference, for someone looking to hear more about the development in that field had a hard time finding relevance in the agenda, and partly also amongst the vendors.


Ps) Wan’t to see the talks from Dmexco? Check this youtube channel (most are available there).

Twitter discussions on hasthag #dmexco and #dmexco2016.


PPS) Want to discuss more? We were there: Charlotta Söderholm, Ilkka Puumala, Emma Storbacka / @emmastorbacka and Patryk Janiak.