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5 Key Takeaways from DMEXCO 2019

Natasha Binar

DMEXCO 2019 has just wrapped, and the conference has always been the biggest (and busiest) for media and tech companies in Europe. This year, it featured over 1,000 exhibitors and 41,000 visitors and brought one big issue to the forefront of businesses’ minds  – that of trust. 

Gerald Boese, Board Chairman of Messe Koeln, home of DMEXCO, set the tone in his statement: “The digital economy has impressively demonstrated at DMEXCO 2019 that it is willing to seriously address ethically motivated challenges and focus more on users’ needs in the future.” 

What does this mean for brands, agencies and media who are so solidly represented at this year’s gathering – from Adobe to Google to Ogilvy? 

Knowing your market value well

There was an ongoing discussion around the fragmentation of markets, and the need to gain back consumer trust, bringing about a call to develop trust into a generally recognized and lived value. However, there is a challenge of maintaining and building trust when consumer trends implicate that it is declining. There is a need for standards that deliver honest and relevant campaigns that complement consumer expectations.

Grant Munro, SVP Shutterstock Custom, pointed out that “marketers have to be sensitive to the markets and cultures they are operating in and reflect this thought process in their marketing materials, whilst staying true and consistent to the brand.”

The need for quality checking of products in advertising

“Anyone who sells a product must also be responsible for its quality.” Arne Kirchem stated as he criticized the supply-side of the digital advertising space. Kirchem is the Media Director of Unilever and a board member of the OWM. Advertising, now, takes place on a highly technical and professional level – especially in long supply chains, where it is difficult for marketers and publishers to determine the exact quality of the traffic. The discussion about invalid traffic marks one of many issues that digital marketing has to deal with. 

Influencer marketing is in transition 

Today, one of the most popular German YouTubers, LeFloid – who is known for securing one of the first live interviews with chancellor Angela Merkel – admits he no longer knows what to mark as an advertisement. Until just a few months ago, that seemed clear: “I mark everything for which money has flowed,” said the influencer on the Experience Stage. However, media lawyers, present in the audience,  classify this approach as insufficient. The public debate emerges from the user’s assumption that even the supposedly authentic form of advertising in influencer marketing is difficult to sell to an audience losing trust. 

Every other debate, it seems, raises legal pitfalls: from copyright to DSGVO. One visitor at DMEXCO 2019, who asked to remain anonymous, commented: “In the past, marketers were the creatives, then the controlling department, now we have installed Data Analysts as better marketers – and tomorrow the lawyer is the key person for correctly executed marketing.”

If data analysts are the current marketing stars, the question that everyone should be asking is: how do we measure their success? The industry needs a clear benchmark for new forms of marketing, and the cash flows being spent on digital, advertising and influencers. 

3D, VR and AR are gaining momentum

It was particularly exciting to observe that the topics of 3D, virtual reality and, above all, augmented reality are gaining more and more momentum. Hamburg-based Visarity showcased how 2D content can be converted into interactive 3D banners. And this type of content can be rendered in all popular banner formats – ready for distribution.

The big focus in the world of 3D, however, took place on the Experience Stage. Former photographer Cameron James-Wilson presented his virtual creation Shudu. A deceptively human-like, visualized model that only consists of software. Wilson has now developed six such models and begins to market them. “The question is: What is real and what is not?” Wilson said, referring to two current contradictory issues – the no-retouch debate and the artificial staging of fashion influencers. His own creation, Shudu, has 200k Instagram followers already. 

Creativity is more important than ever

Pinterest – a global network focussing on visual sharing, made an appearance at DMEXCO 2019 and raised the importance of creativity and inspiration for future generations of storytellers. “Create the life you want to live” was the mantra of the platform making big waves right now and offering “outside of the box” solutions to many small and medium-sized businesses. Philip Missner, DACH Country Manager of the platform, states: 

What made me personally feel inspired and positive, was the seriousness and humanity of dialogues. There is a broad common sense that there is a lot of toxic stuff, both in the media industry and in broader society, which we need to change. But it feels like we are just now moving from talking to seriously changing things.”

Natasha BinarMarketing & Communications Excecutive - Germany, Switzerland, Holland

London-Berlin-Munich. With her background in media management, Natasha launched projects for creative industries in East London, collaborating with the finest British talents. She also worked as Producer with British Sky Broadcasting in developing and implementing their content strategy for Sky Interactive. In Berlin, Natasha continued her consultancy work focussing on business development, digital strategies and branding. Her first book Berlin Catwalks has been released in 2011. Natasha is a senior lecturer in the Academy of Fashion and Design in Munich. She also holds a Master’s degree in Organizational and Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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