How Companies at Dmexco 2016 are Leading the Way Towards Digital Disruption

Eirini Pan
Eirini Pan

Digital Disruptors at Dmexco 2016

According to this year’s dmexco 2016 motto: “Digital is everything… Not everything is digital.”

Germany’s Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference continues to grow exponentially. This truly international event, taking place in September every year, offers a holistic overview of Digital Marketing Excellence to its 50,700 visitors and more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the world.

Christian Muche, Dmexco’s founder and director of business development, defines the event as the global business and innovation platform, bringing the whole ecosystem together. All the relevant brands and decision makers meet from the media marketing & communications industry.

We even got in on all the fun!

Beyond Digital comes Immersive

The new tech innovations have increasingly impacted and transformed brand messages and consumer behavior. More and more brands are trying to keep up with this disruption, exploring new ways of immersive branded experiences that go beyond digital and even beyond interactive. As the leading hub in Marketing Innovation, dmexco focused on this trend.

“This year we are adding a technology pod addressing everything around IOT, VR or AR,” Christian Muche explained to Adweek. He added, “dmexco is not becoming a tech expo but it’s important to discuss the technological effects into marketing and communication.”

Two new conference stages were launched: The Motion Hall, a forum for video and moving images, and The Experience Hall, for hosting conversations around the future of customer experience in the context of new technologies.

Among the topics discussed at the Experience Hall were:

  • What tech innovations are shaping the digital economy and keeping forward-thinking brands alert?
  • What do they mean for Marketers and which are the success stories so far?

Augmented Reality (AR)

What is it?

Augmented Reality overlays moving visuals onto the user’s actual surroundings when viewed through a screen or headset.

How is it used in Marketing?

Ambarish Mitra, Founder & CEO of Blippar, envisioned AR to be a massively horizontal disruptor that will affect every industry beyond the boundaries of branding and advertising. Understanding the world visually is just as powerful for a car manufacturer as it is a retailer or a publisher.

This extra overlay, on top of physical products, presents a huge opportunity for e-commerce businesses with customers able to buy things on the go. You like someone’s outfit, you scan it, you buy it. In this way, AR will have a big impact in transforming products into a powerful pull-based media channel.

Ambarish Mitra speaking at DmexcoAmbarish Mitra presenting an AR Max Factor campaign at dmexco’s Experience Hall.

Who nailed it?

The movement has started already and the leader is Pokémon Go—the first and fastest adopted mass-market AR game of all time with 50 million downloads within only 19 days since its launch.

Combining a smartphone’s camera with GPS technology, the game overlays famous Pokémon characters on top of familiar surroundings around the user. Brands have been taking advantage of this phenomena, gaining visibility in the virtual Pokémon space by offering opportunities for users to interact with their offerings while becoming PokéMasters.

Director Marketing Communications at Mercedes-Benz, Natanael Sijanta, described how a 160 years old brand can make a trend its friend by embracing Pokémon Go. So, they attracted Pokémon Go players near Mercedes-Benz dealer shops and created pop-up shows next to PokéStops, creating social buzz with branded hashtags such as #mbcatch.

Virtual Reality (VR)

What is it?

Virtual Reality immerses the users in a totally different setting, where they can interact with their surroundings through a headset.

How is it used in Marketing?

Through immersive VR experiences, consumers are becoming active participants in brand experiences instead of passively viewing advertising messages. It’s impressive seeing how VR is introducing an entirely new generation of marketing strategies where users can furnish a dream apartment with products they love or play “selfie tennis” against themselves in a virtual court.

According to Meredith Kopit Levien, executive vice-president and chief revenue officer at The New York Times, “VR is a huge leap forward where you can completely concentrate on the user experience. It’s all about immersing them in the story, rather than just telling them it.”

Who nailed it?

Some of the more progressive digital brands and agencies at dmexco took advantage of this hype, presenting demos and offering advice for those who want to endeavor VR.

Walking through dmexco’s expo, one could see more and more headsets popping up. Google used the space to introduce its Tilt Brush which lets you lets you “paint in 3D space with Virtual Reality.”

Google shows off Tilt Brush at Dmexco 2016

Google Tilt Brush live demo. Picture by dmexco official website.

Emotion Tracking

What is it?

Emotion tracking technologies recording thoughts, feelings and reactions of people through a webcam while they are faced with a stimulus. Their facial expressions are then analyzed and used to measure engagement as well as positivity or negativity towards the trigger.

How is it used in marketing?

Emotion tracking enables brands to measure a customer’s emotional engagement with branded content or even ads. This information can then be used to develop marketing campaigns that resonate and help scale their target audiences.

“90% of all purchasing decisions are not made consciously, but are based on emotions,” explained Joerg Schneider, Country Manager Germany at Undertone. “Standard metrics such as clicks and engagement rates are vital but don’t tell the full story. By observing the customer’s emotional reaction, we can optimize an ad’s design, pace, content, and control over the distribution,” he went on to say.

Who nailed it?

There are already a number of services available for tracking the thoughts and feelings of people that have viewed an ad. Recently, video ad tech company Unruly launched its “Unruly EQ” product which aims to provide data on emotional triggers that can help drive an effective video distribution strategy. dmexco attendees were invited to track their emotional reactions while watching a video ad campaign at Unruly’s stand.

Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

What is it?

A chatbot is a software that can converse with users combining pre-set rules and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Chatbots live within messenger products such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, and Slack and can mimic a regular chat while predicting real life responses.

How is it used in Marketing?

“Instant messaging is one of the biggest opportunities in tech in the next 10 years.” – David Marcus, VP Messaging Products at Facebook.

Smart brands and publishers are already embracing this new communication channel by seeking a more direct and friendly conversation with their customers or by adding value with easily accessible, always-on customer support service. Chatbots can offer a seamless experience and increase engagement while eliminating steps in the conversion/buying process.

E-commerce, customer support, and marketing are only a few of the areas that will be disrupted by chatbots within the next couple of years.

A few months ago, Outbrain announced its chatbot offering for publishers in partnership with CNN, which was presented at Facebook’s F8 conference. During an interview with storytile just before his presentation at the Experience Hall, Matt Crenshaw, Outbrain’s VP of Product Marketing, gave his advice to companies that were interested in developing their own chatbot experiences.

Who nailed it?

As you can imagine, dmexco had its own chatbot, built by Spectrm and GroupM. Max Koziolek, co-founder of Spectrm Publishing UG, presented a demo on stage of a user interested in finding out more about events happening at dmexco through a specific keyword, for example, Native Advertising.

Digital is everything… Not everything is digital.

Going back to this year’s dmexco motto, we must be confident that within the next few years “everything will be possible in digital.” Curious and innovative marketers will be offered an array of valuable data on intent and behavioral information while consumers will be awash with immersive, customized, and irresistible brand experiences.

Eirini Pan

Eirini Pan

Eirini Pan was a Marketing Manager at Outbrain's European team. A Greek based in London, she manages data insights and design activities across Europe.

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