Like every year the world’s biggest exhibition for the digital economy (“digiconomy”) took place in Cologne. More exhibitors (110), more speakers and above all, more visitors (50.700) than ever flocked into the crowded exhibition halls of the dmexco Cologne 2016 on these two sunny September days to have a glimpse at the future of the online economy and digital marketing.
Who is the “Biggest Brother”?
The customer- hunting season was officially declared open. Now it is all about understanding search patterns, recognizing behavioral trends, analyzing data, incentivizing and manipulation. Just don’t lose the customer on his “journey”. One could think that the internet is mutating from its beginnings as an academic tool into a gigantic selling machine. Or maybe that has already happened. Is even clever content being generated to trap consumers and nudge them to consume things they don’t know they need yet? The consumer, i.e. the booty, is now called R.O.I. (Return on investment). Interest in this topics is at an all-time high.
Companies that will assist you with the process can be found everywhere at the exhibition. They will gladly show you their products which would have caused grave doubts about “big brother” scenarios years ago. But maybe data protection is overrated by now.
But it’s not good to whinge and moan. The dmexco is a showcase for digital marketing, not a cultural event.
Influencing the influencer
Talking about culture: From now on the “authentic” core of the internet as we know it can be bought, too. YouTube influencers can be found on the shopping lists of corporations and everybody can make their bid. The business model of companies like HitchOn or Tubevertise is to connect “Social Influencers” (i.e. mostly YouTube stars) to companies. That means good reviews for cash. Not only will this erode all credibility but also the future for this guilt if not done carefully. The gospel of “authenticity” will sound hollow and fake if this system expands uncontrollably.
Are algorithms the new marketing experts? That’s what it says on the tin of Programmatic Advertising. It means that programs, not humans, decide where to place your ads. And they even buy and bid for the required advertising space. They cut out the middle man who is notoriously unreliable and expensive. Anybody interested should contact companies like Mint Square or Captify.
There are voices that declare this trend to be the future of digital marketing. It is doubtful that we can get by completely without humans. But it will certainly gain traction and become more prominent.
This year was the first time for the event to showcase a startup village. In a fenced-off area 75 startups presented themselves on small round tables. Unfortunately the only way to find out what they did was to go from table to table and ask. There was no other information. That is a shame because of the sheer numbers of exhibitors and the event overall I doubt that enough people took the time to find out personally. At least they could have grouped the startups into theme areas, such as “share economy” or “fintech”. This is already being done at events like the WebSummit and makes it much more professional.
The stand of the federal state of Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) in cooperation with Digitale Wirtschaft NRW (DWNRW) was much better organized in that respect. It presented 10 startups next to their profiles printed on big boards. That is a concept the organizers of dmexco should adopt for next year.
Tip: Now that you can already get Christmas sweets in your local supermarket, why not go all the way and get a proper Christmas tree? You can order yours at Weihnachtsbaumland, as seen at the NRW stand.
This post is also available in: German