It’s that time of year again. dmexco! Where global adtech professionals congregate in Germany to network, learn and predict the current and future state for marketers. With over seven years in the industry, translating to what seems like veteran status or 49 “dog years”, I journeyed to Cologne, Germany, this week with my colleagues at Exponential to get a pulse on the happening. Here’s what I learned.
It’s Surprisingly German
The Anglophone community easily forgets the scale of Germany and Germany’s market. Challenges of the German adtech market are often different to elsewhere in the globe, for example, attitudes on the collection of personal data. Stepping into the convention center was initially jarring, but it was ultimately refreshing to see familiar names with large stands, such as Amazon and GroupM, cheek by jowl with clearly significant local players like AdRom and Kwanko. This is a German event first, an International event second.
It’s like the Louvre or Glastonbury – you can’t hope to see and do it all, so don’t stress out trying to meet that expectation. Take it in your stride and savor the experience. Other people will have different ones, but not necessarily better!
Travel Light, But Pack for Hunger Pains
It pays to travel light…but have a refreshment plan! You have more chance getting a drink or snack from one of the exhibitors than you do from the dearth of food trucks and stalls. Next time, I will be packing a cereal bar to get me through the day…maybe that’s why everyone is carrying bags, as surely people don’t need to lug laptops around?
Whisperings of “Where Is the Talent?”
In the conference sessions, I saw the same themes coming up again and again. Senior executives were focused on the evolving adtech landscape. Questions buzzed around mergers and acquisitions and debates on if investments have been more or less than in previous years. Executives were hot pressed to discuss the impact of data regulation on the open internet and the dominance of Google and Facebook. Mid-level attendees were talking about ways in which they should be addressing or adopting programmatic.
But overall, EVERYONE is talking about the need for better talent within the industry. There’s a shortage of people who possess the necessary technical skills and who are commercially savvy enough to tackle thorny topics of conversation. With good talent in place, marketers and providers have the advantage to partner and promote the value that skilled campaign management and trafficking teams have on their overall digital marketing performance.
Know Your Limits
The main Wednesday night party hits the younger crowd. The next time around, a meal with clients and current colleagues, accompanied by a satisfying conversation about the conference, is more appealing and valuable than loud music, no-frills booze and bungee jumping in a car park.
And a bonus lesson that I painfully learned…watch out for the cycle lanes! Some of them are clearly marked…others are just part of the pavement that has been almost imperceptibly tinted red…as you will discover when a cyclist brushes past you whilst exuberantly ringing their bell.
I left dmexco with little to no whiplash from oncoming cyclists and infused and invigorated to take on next year’s event. After all, in a community where most of our time is spent on digital channels, facetime is paramount.
As Vice President of Product Management, Tim oversees the direction of Exponential’s ad serving platform and data capabilities as well as ensuring that the product suite offers appropriate brand safety and data protection for clients, publishers and internet users. Prior to joining Exponential, Tim built the EU business solutions function and led product management at Specific Media. His product management experience outside adtech includes broadband networks at Regus, SMS infrastructure at Schlumberger and GSM systems at Sema Group. Tim holds an MBA from INSEAD, CIPP/E and CIPT from the International Association of Privacy Professionals and is Scrum CSPO certified.
This is the blog of Exponential Interactive Inc.,(www.exponential.com) a global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions to brand advertisers.
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