Seeking Solutions and Going Global: A View from dmexco 2017
With nearly 20 years in the ad tech and mar tech industries, I’ve seen my fair share of trends come and go. With every new “must have” product offering pitched by purveyors of software, computing platforms and one-off services, there’s likely to be a measure of industry buzz generated—though it’s often short-lived. While I observed this once again at this year’s Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference (dmexco 2017), held a few weeks ago in Cologne, Germany, I also walked away with a fresh perspective on what I believe will become increasingly important trends shared by many across the marketing and advertising ecosystem: the need for fully integrated, omnichannel solutions, coupled with a truly global perspective on activating audiences across geographies.
After only a few hours wandering the trade show floor and speaking with a handful of exhibitors and attendees, I was struck by the reality that dmexco has evolved from being a primarily tech-focused conference to now being a solutions conference. In the past, conversations with platforms, publishers and others largely converged around topics that were quite technical in nature. This year, though, the discussions I had with partners, peers and a multitude of other ecosystem players—even leading platforms and publishers—largely steered clear of technology. Instead, my industry colleagues were interested in discussing ways in which to collaborate to activate audiences across media.
What was fascinating to me was how the industry has moved quickly beyond point solutions and features to wanting to talk about how this ties in to a true, omnichannel story. We call this persistency of identity, and it’s critically important both to provide a more personalized experience for consumers and to accurately measure results against each desired audience.
Marketers today want to be able to better manage customer experiences across multiple platforms and provide that high-level of personalization that consumers expect, but even most major players in the ecosystem are only focused on one aspect. What’s needed today is a partner that can work across the multitude of technologies to truly help brands and others solve problems and activate audiences. People I spoke with are definitely starting to embrace this integrated perspective.
The concept of globalization also emerged as something of increasing importance at dmexco. In years past, conference discussions—both informal and during formal sessions—were focused almost uniquely on the European Union. This year, every single partner I spoke with was interested in what they can do around the world, not just in one or two countries. Because we live in a borderless digital age, the conversations taking place in Germany could have been happening anywhere—the United States, APAC or Latin America. It is abundantly clear that the challenges faced by marketers today are not local or regional in nature. Global perspective and global solutions are quickly becoming the new normal.
I would suggest that this year’s dmexco event was illustrative of what’s happening worldwide. It’s increasingly important for providers to be able to help brands find their audience, give crucial insight, activate the audience, connect in a meaningful way and measure success. If that means finding a partner to fill in the gaps that you’re missing, that’s what brands are expecting.