An interview with the BVDW: DMEXCO is a showcase and platform for our industry

After being forced online for the last two years due to the pandemic, DMEXCO will be opening its doors in Cologne again in September. The excitement is really building for what is no doubt Europe’s most important tech and marketing event.

In an interview, the BVDW Executive Committee calls DMEXCO an annual highlight.
Image: © BVDW

So we talked to members of the Executive Committee of the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) to find out what their personal memories of DMEXCO are and what they’re especially looking forward to in September.

Why are you looking forward to this year’s DMEXCO?

Anke Herbener: DMEXCO is obviously a highlight every year! But after more than two years in the grip of the pandemic, I’m especially looking forward to the event finally being held in person again so we can all come together face to face!

Alexander Kiock: Because we’ll finally see everyone in the industry again – and after two years, we really have a lot of catching up to do in terms of analog, real-life experiences with highly esteemed colleagues, the absence of which has been particularly felt in the digital industry.


Thomas Duhr: For me, DMEXCO 2022 is synonymous with a revival – the start of a new era. If you include DMEXCO’s predecessor, the OMD (Online Marketing Düsseldorf), this is DMEXCO’s third decade of promoting Germany as a digital economic hub. I’m excited for what’s in store – especially after the past two years.

Dirk Freytag: I can’t wait to get out of the digital meeting room and talk to people in person about what’s really happened and where the journey is heading. You can only develop new ideas and understand them better when you’re physically present. I’m looking forward to the topics of the metaverse and NFTs, and am intrigued to see how the expo has evolved.

Dirk Freytag holds a degree in business administration and has worked with advertising technology for more than 20 years. He has held positions that include Vice President and COO of ADTECH, Senior Vice President of AOL Advertising Global, CEO of YOC AG, and others. As a business angel, he also supports a wide range of up-and-coming companies in the digital industry. He has been actively involved in the BVDW for 20 years and co-directed the Consent Management lab.

Freytag has been actively involved in the BVDW for 20 years and previously co-directed the Consent Management lab.
Image: © BVDW

What does DMEXCO mean for the BVDW?

Anke Herbener: Similarly to the German Digital Award (DDA), DMEXCO is one of the BVDW’s key flagships. Since 2009, the event has become an absolute must for all relevant players on the digital scene, and we’re obviously very proud of that. Thought leaders, innovative minds, and the who’s who of the digital economy come together here – not just from Germany, but from all over the world.

Alexander Kiock: It is our most important event, serving as a showcase and platform both for our association and the entire industry.

Thomas Duhr: DMEXCO and the BVDW as its ideational partner grew up together so to speak. With DMEXCO, the BVDW has been able to demonstrate that digital is more than just marketing and that a digital economy needs to be approached and understood not just locally, but on both a local and global level.

Dirk Freytag: DMEXCO is the BVDW’s most important event. It’s the only place where we meet all our members and see how Germany is actually faring in terms of digitalization. And after two years in the midst of the pandemic, the value of that is much greater than before.

Anke Herbener has been the CEO of TWT Digital Group and co-CEO of the parent company Greven Group since March 2021. She was previously the CEO of the MRM//McCann Germany agency and member of the Management Board of McCann Worldgroup. Prior to that, she founded the digital consulting agency Digital Changers in 2017.

Anke Herbener has chaired the “Full-service Digital Agencies” expert group since 2015 and has been head of the Influencer Marketing lab since 2017.
Image: © BVDW

What role does DMEXCO play for the digital industry?

Anke Herbener: Since it started, DMEXCO has evolved into one of the world’s most important and pioneering digital expos, and we can be extremely proud that we have such an expo and conference in Germany – with international partners reaching nearly 40% in 2021. For the digital industry, the event is not only an important networking opportunity, but also a highly relevant platform for trends and innovations because the DMEXCO agenda specifically covers the entire digital value chain.

Alexander Kiock: Covid turned digitalization into even more of a game changer for countless sectors, companies, and many areas of society. More than ever before, DMEXCO will shine a light on Germany’s digital transformation and provide momentum for driving it forward.

Thomas Duhr: Especially on an international scale, DMEXCO has become a major and leading event for the digital industry over the past decade. For many, DMEXCO is a “must-have” or “a place to be” – for doing business, sharing information, personal interaction, networking, personal development, and – last but not least – gaining insights into the future.

Dirk Freytag: DMEXCO has set and embraced digitalization trends. I expect it to keep doing so in the future. It is a must for everyone who takes digitalization seriously.

Since 2019 Alexander Kiock has been a Vice President of the BVDW since and was confirmed in office in 2021. He has already founded various startups and agencies including the strategic consulting diffferent, 2txt NLG and Martian & Machine.

Alexander Kiock has already founded various startups and agencies (including 2txt NLG and Martian & Machine).
Image: © BVDW

Do you have a personal memory of DMEXCO?

Anke Herbener: For me, DMEXCO brings many exciting and inspiring moments and encounters back to mind. It’s always great to personally meet people, and also friends, from our network and the industry, interact with them, and also party together at the end.

Alexander Kiock: I have so many! And a lot of them feel totally surreal and unreal in post-Covid times. So I’m all the more excited to add new highlights and experiences to them.

Thomas Duhr: Just one? There are lots. People filling the walkways and entrances is actually the image that sticks in my mind the most, though – and how I, particularly as a long-serving member of the DMEXCO Advisory Board, looked on and shook my head in astonishment and joy. In the sense of “we actually did it”.

Dirk Freytag: Full halls, calendars bursting with appointments, and lots of spontaneous meetings in the walkways. They’re basically always two great days I really look forward to.

Thomas Duhr became a Vice President of the BVDW in 2015 and has held various other executive positions on the association’s committees. He is also an international representative of IAB Europe and IAB Global.

During his career, Thomas Duhr has also been active in various industry bodies, including five years as the Chairman of the Board at the German Association of Online Research (agof) and Director of the “Online” division at the German Association of Media Analysis (agma).
Image: © BVDW

What is your insider tip for 2022? Or your personal top topic?

Anke Herbener: There are lots of innovative trends that should be on our radar this year. Of course, the top topics that demand swift attention are the metaverse, Web3, and NFTs. All three will definitely lead the way in the coming years and have the potential to turn the digital economy completely on its head. Other issues we should keep an eye on are sustainability and social responsibility, social commerce, and VR and AR. The latter will continue to gain momentum, especially in the context of the metaverse.

Alexander Kiock: My top topic is the metaverse. Particularly because it still seems so blurry, DMEXCO will once again thoroughly enlighten me.

Thomas Duhr: I’m going to do what I’ve done for more than a decade: take it as it comes. What I do know is that there’ll definitely be more that I want to see than I can fit in over the two days.

Dirk Freytag: Leave Covid at home and just come.

DMEXCO will take place on September 21 and 22, 2022. Do you want to shorten the waiting time until September? Then secure your DMEXCO Community Ticket now!