This week I attended the digital Disneyland that is Dmexco: 50,000 plus of the world’s digital business community descended in Cologne for what has proved to be, in my opinion, the best event in our sector. And digital paradoxes aside, technology can’t do this – sometimes you need real people and real time to engage.
It starts in London. In the queue to board the plane, there were a dozen digital business owners that you haven’t seen in ages. And that theme of camaraderie and “old mates are best” continued all the way to the center of Cologne. There you could be forgiven for administering more than your usual share of handshakes, high fives, and hugs as you were gradually joined by, what seemed like, everyone you’ve worked with since you were 25.
Dmexco impressed – terrifically organized event with a real emphasis on experience. Great speakers, the odd celeb, and over a thousand suppliers assembled across an area which is guaranteed to break your personal record of “steps taken today” on your smart phones.
But there’s something else. A warmth – a general willingness from everyone there to engage, do business, have fun without any of the usual exhibition snobbery that can often serve to isolate and make some people feel awkward about asking questions, or requesting an audience, or in my case, politely demanding the attention of the founders!
So what of the themes – I was pleased to see two of my favorite digital themes being discussed throughout the two days; Transparency and Blockchain.
Transparency is no longer an option for digital agencies, middlemen, vendors, and platforms – it’s a prerequisite. It’s completely broken. We were able to witness firsthand how some brands are discovering the food chain that can support digital advertising where sometimes 75% of budgets are carved up among layers of suppliers. It’s tantamount to arriving at some tinpot state where everyone has to be paid off for anything to happen except worse – these suppliers are computers programmed to rip off businesses and discredit the entire sector.
Blockchain is coming. If the first version of the web was all about “the information superhighway” and the second web was focused on social media, the next generation of the web (or Web 3.0) will be about control, security and truth.
Whether it will be based on blockchain or not remains to be seen but where there is an appetite for change, things don’t take that long in the digital world.
Remember up until now we don’t own the data we generate on the Internet. Moving towards a new, decentralized web may be a solution. It’s going to be exciting to find out what happens next.
Moore Stephens used the opportunity of Dmexco to release our first quantitative study of the “marketing technology space” – the response has been instantaneously positive from vendors, media, and suppliers to the digital marketing sector. We look forward to building on this initial success and together with the digital community, continue to establish our credentials in this fast moving space.