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Having travelled last year across the globe, from Hong Kong ( RISE conference), Las Vegas (Collision conference), Dublin (Web-summit), Barcelona (Mobile World Congress) and dozen other European and US industry niche events on Retail, Omni-channel, Delivery, Payments etc (eRetail Germany, Emerce, eRetail Europe...) which help me keep a wholistic view of the digital business ecosystem elements, I've found DMEXCO having a best balance on digital (business) context a single event can have. From start-ups to strategy, not too small, almost and perhaps a tiny bit too big. I will keep the same opinion from 2015 for this years DMEXCO. Here's some of my insights, observations, critiques and analysis related both to the event, exhibitors and industry.
1. Before taking care of the "customer of the future" take care of the customer of the present.
Being a digital event, aiming to be a digital brand within events, one would think you would take care of basic things - internet connection. That one was non-existent (overloaded) and believe it or not that is a very common thing on digital events. The infrastructure is not ready for a changed customer - visitors. I find that a big fail on the brand promise not only of DMEXCO but all other events that have had that issue and trust me 2 out of 3 will have that problem. This serves as a great metaphor for brands and companies - before you chase the customer of the future, make sure you look at the customer of the now. I'm a digital enabled visitor but was disabled by the infrastructure. Before jumping to Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Data Driven Decisions make sure you have the basics down right.
No wifi. But flags were pretty...
Inflation of terms on the rise with digital industry expansion. Need for standardisation.
One thing is definitely growing in digital. Words and terms without specific and common understanding, thus making them obsolete and useless. When industry participants overuse words, mostly in an attempt to explain its offering and value proposition, establish a market positioning (which should be unique enabling consumers to navigate among choices) effects are just the opposite. My perception is that every single exhibitor was "data driven", "content" , "future customer", "digital agency". Crowded market I guess, so now I saw "true digital full service agency". As opposed to what? A "false" one? I'm thinking industry will soon need some type of term certification and standardisation that will help brands and consumers navigate among choices. And quickly.
3. The Great Digital Convergence - who's who and who does what lines get blurred because of digital. Agencies under pressure.
Digital and technology enabled so called horizontal disruption. Companies can now easily enter other industries and disrupt incumbents. It was funny to see Publicis - originally a media agency network now does consulting on digital transformation and Accenture - an originally a consultancy doing agency work interactive work through Accenture Interactive arm of Accenture Digital. As if that wasn't enough agencies (old incumbents) but also consultancies (new incumbents) now also have newer entrants who are expanding their service offering from completely different industries with unique core abilities. Amadeus a global air-ticketing reservation provider now is acting as a digital agency offering targeting of travel audience over which service provision it has inherently a unique competitive core advantage - its ownn payment data.