In many ways, this year’s dmexco conference was bigger and better than ever. The annual Cologne gathering of 50K data, marketing and digital media professionals is always a great opportunity to debate the big issues. As usual, discussion and debate were rife however, but five main themes predominated:
1) GDPR is very hot on our heels. It’s time to shift from talking to doing. Organisations taking a “wait and see” approach, looking to see how rules are enforced, before making critical decisions on how far to go with their response are taking a huge gamble. Yes, not everything is yet clear but what is clear are a number of critical steps to make ready, addressing the fundamentals
2) Data is in everything and is everywhere. The IoT is making this especially true but to connect people not just to devices but to experiences, companies need to make data people-based.
Data is what can help us create great, ‘frictionless experiences’, the common language of the world’s latest and greatest technologies, the one thing that bring insight and activation. Linked to this is working within the, dare we say it, this big data to find data that actually matters.
GDPR may be changing how we can collect and use data but there will be still be huge amounts and data collaborations, ways where companies can make their data assets available to others in innovative, privacy-safe ‘havens’, will be key to bringing the right data together to make a consumer difference.
3) Identity means people-based. We must put privacy first yet identity drives the best experiences. Identity resolution allows you to connect the right personally identifiable information and yet link it to pseudonymised data to improve relevance in the digital space.
This connected, contemporary single view of individuals, delivers more relevant, one-on-one communications across the consumers’ chosen devices, browsers and channels. By combining online and offline data together, this also gives you the measurement advantage we’ve been struggling to achieve for so long, knowing what marketing at what touchpoints makes what difference.
4) The pace of innovation continues to outstrip consolidation. Integrating at the data layer, not the tech layer, is the only way that we can ensure data-driven marketing works. For some time now, marketers and their IT colleagues have tried to connect stacks.
The problem is two-fold, first the innovation offers up a seemingly endless range of new technologies and with that potential data siloes. The second is that when the focus is on connecting technology, it is all too easy to lose sight of the consumer.
Data is merely a proxy for the consumer which is why a neutral, open approach to connecting at the data layer is the best way to genuinely put the customer at the heart of your marketing.
5) Globalisation continues in marketing. More international brands, agencies, platforms and vendors. Whether its opportunity or threat, those not at least thinking global are running a risk of being left behind or blind-sided.
This year more than ever, the international angle was strong and delivered a wealth of inspiration and as Marc Pritchard from P&G said, encouraging marketers, tech providers and media partners to focus on the experience delivery to the end customer.
This article first appeared on Mediatel.co.uk on September 18th, 2017