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DMEXCO Day 1: dialog, inspiration & real business

DMEXCO 2018 has begun. An overview of everything that happened on the first day.
By Linus Kurtenbach September 13, 2018
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The starting shot for the international Digital Marketing Expo & Conference sounded right on time at 9:45 a.m. DMEXCO Chief Advisor Dominik Matyka welcomed the numerous visitors, exhibitors and journalists at the Congress Stage and whetted their appetite for the first day in Cologne before handing over the keynote address to Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges.

“Companies have to embrace modern technologies. Otherwise they are dead,” he warned and at the same time appealed for more corporate social responsibility: “I think that we, as the leaders of our companies, should stand up for what our society should stand for.”

Expo full of colorful variety and digital brilliance

In the six Expo halls, around 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries are embodying the great diversity of the marketing, technology, creative and media industries. Contentwise, they are doing this with the widest variety of solutions and services. And visually, the stands are also modern and varied, including wood, natural materials, lounges and subdued lighting. The exhibiting companies have made every effort to make their trade fair appearances exceptional. And this high quality is paying off in the form of fully occupied stands, hardly any seats available and stand personnel concentrated in discussions with customers. “We can hardly make any more appointments at short notice,” commented a satisfied service employee. The corridors are pulsating with conversations and discussions everywhere. Of course the large stands of Spotify, Google and the major publishing groups are attracting visitors. And the small suppliers of many interesting niche solutions are equally satisfied. They are experiencing a big rush.

The World of Agencies in Hall 8 celebrated its premiere today in the Expo area with its own stage and a total of 16 agency exhibitors, all of whom couldn’t complain of a lack of interest from trade visitors. Its “big sister”, the Agency Lounge in Hall 6, was just as busy and successful throughout the day.

SevenVentures Pitch Day: Selfapy achieves a well-deserved win

In the Start-up Village in Hall 5.2, more than 170 young international companies presented their business ideas and used the various contact areas to hold talks with potential customers and partners as well as, of course, investors. Some of them presented their business cases on the integrated stage.

Meanwhile, the highlight took place on the large Debate Stage: The eagerly awaited final of SevenVentures Pitch Day. The four finalists Caroobi, Edamama, Selfapy and Yamo had qualified in the run-up to the event, and in the morning they had to give their all to the top-class jury.

The winner is the platform Selfapy. This young company offers users comprehensive and science-based online therapy courses for coping with stress and anxiety. The start-up has won an extensive media and service package worth over three million euros in TV advertising money, online marketing budget and its own TV commercial.

The second start-up competition, “The DMEXCO & Unilever Foundry Start-up Hatch”, will be seeking its winner tomorrow on the Debate Stage.

A conference defined by AI and Commerce

One of the main topics of the conference is artificial intelligence. Alex Cheng, Vice President of Baidu, linked the advantages of algorithms directly with digital marketing in his panel discussion. “We have reached a new era of internet advertising. The next generation of artificial intelligence is reinforcement learning. This will triple effectiveness in advertising”, he said.

Karl Bunch, Technical Leader of Amazon Web Services, added the already feasible AI scenarios using Alexa in his slot and dared to take a look into the future: “It’s really hard to do good AI. These systems can give you more time to think.”

The perspectives and possibilities in the broad field of e-commerce were discussed in numerous other talks. The focus is always on the users and their requirements. “Personalization is our core task, because shopping today must be a highly personal experience,” Philip Missler, Managing Director of Amazon Advertising Germany, stated in the panel discussion “Age of the Customer”. Magento CMO Andrea Ward summed it up elsewhere: “Put the customer in the center. Truly believe in the impact of digitalization. Create innovative new products & seamless experiences.”

At the end of the first conference day, Dorothee Bär, Minister of State for Digitalization, addressed the enthusiastic DMEXCO community. As an interface between industry and politics, she critically noted that all proposals in politics are at least one legislative period old – which gives hope for more modern cooperation and implementation.

Engtanz at the end of the day

“Anyone coming to the party tonight will take home a bit of Berlin flair,” announced Dominik Matyka in the morning. He was referring to the official DMEXCO party at Wolkenburg. This is yet another true DMEXCO highlight. Have fun everyone! More to come tomorrow.

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