Move over London, New York and San Francisco: the largest media event in the world is not happening in the usual hotspots – it’s taking place in Germany later this month. The media, marketing and technology worlds will converge in Cologne for what is to be the biggest DMEXCO yet. Up to 30,000 attendees will join more than 450 industry leaders and thinkers to discuss the forces shaping the digital economy. What began as a regional internet advertising trade show has grown into a global media and technology juggernaut.
Big players such as Facebook, Google and IBM are all set to take centre stage – and technology and service providers, including Improve Digital, will be there in force. DMEXCO’s theme for 2014 is "entering new dimensions", and digital media is doing just that, with the share of ads bought programmatically estimated to reach up to 75 per cent of total digital display advertising by 2017, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. Programmatic is the order of the day, so brands, media owners and agency players will all be focusing on technology and data themes.
Creative agency executives will fly in to get to grips with shifting trends in advertising economics
The programmatic market has reached critical mass more quickly than many imagined, and it is reshaping the advertising landscape. As a result, traditional identities and barriers are falling away and lines are blurring. Major advertisers such as Procter & Gamble and Kellogg are taking direct control over trading platforms; Mondelez International recently stated its intention to buy all its online video inventory programmatically, bypassing its media agency; Group M has transformed itself into something more like an ad technology company than an agency; and publishers such as Condé Nast are increasingly offering creative services to marketers, edging into ad agency turf. You will see these blurred lines manifest themselves in big and small ways throughout this year’s event.
Just as Cannes Lions has been overrun by tech companies in recent years, DMEXCO should see the trend reversed, as creative agency executives fly in to get to grips with shifting trends in advertising economics. But, unlike Cannes, they won’t be spending their days schmoozing and building their tans on the beach.
DMEXCO is where business actually gets done. Savvy attendees can have half a year’s work sewn up in two days. But a word of advice: make appointments and leave half a day free for the new connections you make. And, yes, there is fun to be had. The DMEXCO party at the OMClub is a truly surreal experience. It has no equal at any other trade event I’ve ever been to. (Take that as both encouragement and a warning.)
Nowhere else do we get the opportunity to connect with so many peers at once. It should be an incredible two days, and I look forward to seeing you there.
Joelle Frijters is the chief executive and co-founder at Improve Digital
This article was first published on