Much like the world of mobile advertising in which we operate, Cologne’s annual marketing spectacular ‘Dmexco’ (short for Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference) has seen massive growth over the last few years. According to its organisers, the event has grown by more than 270 percent since 2009, with some 30,000 attendees, 800-plus exhibitors and 400-odd industry speakers.
Having been there myself for the last few days, I can vouch for the fact that the show has evolved dramatically in recent years, and it’s now arguably a must attend for anyone in digital. For those that weren’t able to make it – and even for those that did – I wanted to share a few of my own personal highlights from this year’s event.
1. Everyone’s talking programmatic
Programmatic was everywhere at Dmexco. Wherever you turned, it was hard to escape the topic. As well as underlining just how important the world of automated trading is to our industry, it also demonstrated that programmatic is becoming a vital part of brands’ digital strategies.
From the conversations we had on the show floor, these same brands are also looking for high quality programmatic inventory. It’s up to us as an industry to make this happen, which we believe will come in part from Private Marketplaces (PMPs), helping to achieve scale in brand-safe environments.
2. Increasing international flavour
According to the show’s organisers, some 30 per cent of exhibitors now come from outside of Germany. In terms of delegates on the ground, it was apparent from the conversations we were having with our clients and partners that this was also the case. As evidenced by the Agency Networking Lounge and the number of large global firms exhibiting, Dmexco is now a great forum for agency leaders to meet to contribute to the digital marketing narrative.
Having said all that, it also doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a penchant for bratwurst if you’re planning on coming to next year’s show!
3. Dmexco is now a mobile-first show
As a business that was set up for mobile, we’ve watched with great interest how many organisations – from other media owners to tech vendors and also brands – have moved to position themselves as “mobile-first” companies. As consumers increasingly play out their lives on mobile, it’s easy to understand why.
This is no different at Dmexco. Now, not only are there more mobile organisations and leaders contributing to the show and its agenda, but there are more exhibitors from all walks of the digital landscape that are talking about the importance of mobile. It’s a clear indication of just how mobile is moving towards the heart of all digital marketing.
4. The place to see the cream of the industry’s leaders in action
I never spend as much time as I would like in the conference arena, but this year I did get to catch a couple of sessions, including on day two where our CEO Michael Barrett took part in a panel on vision and leadership in digital. The overall conference agenda at Dmexco is very strong, open to all delegates, and the setup to facilitate genuinely insightful conversations is particularly impressive.
For Michael’s panel session, alongside senior executives from Dentsu Aegis, Axicom and Maker Studios, a lively discussion saw some broad topics discussed including the future of agencies, the need to shift with market dynamics, as well as the importance of reaching audiences through mobile devices and apps.
5. Deals get done
Perhaps the most important part of any trade show. Whilst some other global shows trump Dmexco in size, it is arguably one of the best forums for deals being done.
We had a great show, and to see so many members of our team from across the globe on the floor and doing business shows just what an opportunity Dmexco can be. But I know it’s not just us, everyone I’ve spoken to throughout the event has said the same. The parties aren’t bad either… or so I hear.
Without doubt, Dmexco is one of the most valuable forums for the digital industry, so if you weren’t there this week then I’d get booking your place for next year. To those who were, then auf wiedersehen for another year Dmexco!
Zac Pinkham is managing director, EMEA, at Millennial Media