It’s that time of year again; in just a few days, dmexco will open its gates and bring together marketing decision makers, retail managers and solution providers. I’m looking forward to two exciting days in Cologne. I don’t know of any other event that’s filled with as much top-tier talent and achieves a similar range of key topics – which is why Bonial will be there, to meet, share, and learn with our customers.
The days when dmexco dealt exclusively with online marketing have passed. Reaching customers at the right moment on the device he or she is using with the appropriate message: today, this omni-channel reality is the new normal, particularly in retail marketing. Visitors will notice this more than ever before as they walk by the booths. And where else do visitors have the opportunity to see Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) or Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) on stage? I’m really excited about the announced keynote “Building Community and Discovering Growth in a Mobile World” (September 13, 3:20 -3:50 PM, Congress Hall).
It’s all commerce
The line between digital and physical commerce continue to blur, as former pure online players open classic shops in the best downtown locations and stationary retailers try to find their way in digital commerce. In this age of omni-channel, isn’t it time to set aside this separation and simply speak of commerce? After all, shoppers are going to make purchases as they please from the outlet that suits them best in that particular occasion.
AI and machine learning take off
dmexco 2017 will deliver stimuli in two key areas that retailers can ill afford to ignore: artificial intelligence and mechanical learning. The combination of artificial intelligence and the tools with which user experience is measured is fascinating, as analytics solutions collect a great deal of insights without interfering with the shopper experience. It’s also really exciting to see apps deliver more value to their users through machine learning.
The shopper journey grows more complex, creating new opportunity
Bonial’s purpose is to engage with shoppers across new touchpoints on their path to purchase, as they discover, browse, and buy products. For my own curiosity, new approaches to this topic intrigue me. Take for example security technologies like augmented reality, which enrich the shopping experience and create completely new forms of storytelling for retailers and brands. I plan to visit the VR showcase from Vast Media (September 14, 10:15 – 10:45 AM, Motion Hall) for inspiration, discovering exciting new examples of virtual reality to help retailers market, sell, and service shoppers in the future.
Food for thought
Two other panels on the agenda have caught my eye:
- “The Conquerors of the Last Mile in Digital Advertising” (September 13, 12:15 – 12:50 PM, Debate Hall): Kai Thornagel from Mondelez International and Johannes Stegmann from Rewe Digital will discuss the role that emerging “retail media” can play within the shopper journey.
- “Transforming the Shopping Experience for Digital Natives” (September 14, 3:05 – 3:35 PM, Debate Hall): A discussion about the influence of “digital natives” on future trends and the future of shopping, as new technologies evolve consumption of media, and with it the world of advertising and commerce.
Good preparation is everything
Two days, 6 halls, pitches and presentations – no one can possibly see everything. Quality preparation is essential for a successful visit. On the expo’s website, you can download a map of the halls. The app is even more convenient – it allows you to pocket the list of exhibitors, an overview of the halls and all conference sessions. I like the personalised calendar, helping me plan and spend the two days efficiently. There’s also a virtual wallet that lets you take admission tickets digitally. With so much great content, several sessions take place in parallel. No worries, you don’t have to miss out. With the Expo’s YouTube channel, you can watch many exciting presentations again at your leisure. Lastly, if you want to have a meeting or interview in the midst of the hustle and bustle, contact the exhibitor in advance to set an appointment.
Work hard, play hard
A visit to the Expo is work – even for me. But, don’t forget to also enjoy all the experience has to offer. Don’t just talk business when visiting a booth – it’s also about networking and meeting new contacts. Thinking about topics beyond regular business often does wonders. First, pursue meetings in your networks. If you have a conversation with someone at the expo, be sure to tag that person on the app and write a couple of sentences about the encounter.
“Pure partying” is the motto of the official dmexco party at the end of the first day of the expo. Great conversations, good music, and delicious food and drinks can be found at the exhibitors’ evening events. You can also party at our booth (Hall 6, B31/C30) at the end of the first day of the expo!
About the author: Frederic Handt is the Managing Director of Bonial Germany, with brands kaufDA and MeinProspekt. He worked for 8 years at Procter & Gamble in various leadership positions, most recently in Global Customer Innovation and Shopper Marketing. Prior to joining Bonial, Handt managed development and production in Germany for New-York-based company Harry’s.