3 things digital marketers need to consider following DMEXCO 2019

A massive 40,000 delegates descended into the city of Cologne to attend DMEXCO 2019 last week – a plethora of brands, publishers and tech providers, with many of the best brains in the industry getting set for a mammoth 48 hours of fascinating talks, discussions and the obligatory stein, or two.

As I returned for my second year running, there were three main themes that stood out over the two-day event; Trust, social responsibility and data and AI. In this blog, we’ll take you through the key three themes discussed at the event, sharing crucial takeaways.

1. Trust

Stephanie Buscemi, CMO at Salesforce, spoke on the Congress Stage, discussing ‘The Trust Revolution’. She highlighted that, despite the fact that we are living in the most technologically advanced era of mankind, we also live in an era in which there is a prevalent crisis of trust. Trust has been eroding, whether that’s in governments, media or ultimately, brands.

Moreover, Buscemi explored how the digital landscape is quickly becoming something of a ‘battleground’ where people are only going to work or buy into brands that they trust. She highlighted that with 95% of consumers more likely to be loyal to a brand they can trust and 75% of employees wanting to have trust in the company that they work for, the need to be transparent and authentic has never been more fundamentally crucial for marketers.

A key takeaway from this talk is that as marketers, brand owners and agencies we can maximise the success of our campaigns by focusing on the establishment of trust – whether that’s through campaign initiatives, customer testimonials or personalised and targeted campaigns. There needs to be a significant shift in the initial focus of our marketing tactics in order to establish a level of trust with our consumers, in order for us to see consistent engagement and response.


2. Social responsibility

One of the most notable talks of day two saw Luis di Como, EVP of Media at Unilever, discuss ‘Responsible Marketing in a Connected World’. He explained that the need to embed social responsibility is paramount for any brand, and he really brought this to life by describing the experiences of Unilever, one of the biggest FMCG companies in the world.

Luis di Como took the stage to discuss how they launched their responsibility framework in 2018, which focused on dealing with extremely important issues like child safety, ad fraud and fake accounts. He highlighted that ultimately their aim is to create content that is more progressive and human in this ever increasingly connected digital age.

As digital marketers, what we can take away from this is that, whilst technology is allowing us to improve the success of our digital marketing efforts, we have a social responsibility to ensure that we are actively discouraging and rectifying the detrimental aspects of the digital landscape, such as ad fraud and fake news/accounts. And we can do this by implementing thorough checks, due diligence and strong analytics to ensure our content and campaigns do not appear anywhere they shouldn’t.


3. Data and AI

A panel discussion featuring Phil Wilson, SVP of Digital Demand Generation at American Express and Arun Kumar, Chief Data and Technology Officer at IPG explored ‘The Changing Landscape for Brands and Agencies’. One of the main things that this session focused on was ‘how we are going to tackle a cookieless world’.

Phil Wilson discussed American Express’ ethos of ‘digital empathy’ and how they take an approach of ‘to serve and not sell’. The panel explored the availability of data and how this is growing at an accelerated rate; they highlighted the magic that can occur when your data strategies are combined with your creative initiatives, showcasing a key opportunity for digital marketers looking to utilise data.

However, moving on from a cookie-based world, Phil and Arun both emphasised that we can expect to see a transition towards an ID-based world, which will focus on the power of AI technology to automate processes. Moreover, in an age where digital consent takes centre stage, one of the key barriers that they identified was how publishers will get consumers to opt-in to their content. The solution? Whilst no one has mastered this yet, both Phil Wilson and Arun Kumar emphasised that in order to establish yourselves as leaders within the digital industry, you’ll need to combine your data strategies with your digital marketing efforts.

Over the two days, DMEXCO 2019 was packed with useful tips, affirmations, insights and thought-provoking debates that inspired me and other digital marketing professionals alike to think about what the future would hold, and where technology would sit in the future of digital.

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