Top topics at DMEXCO: How will AI and tech shape 2024?

Digital collaboration, retail media, and AI were hot topics at DMEXCO 2023. Now that 2024 is in sight, will they continue to trend next year? We ventured an outlook!

Topics such as retail media and AI will dominate in 2024.
Image: © Koelnmesse

The ultimate trend right now, but what does AI have in store for us in 2024?

At DMEXCO 2023, an impressive 56 sessions specifically addressed the topic of artificial intelligence. In most other keynotes, panels, and masterclasses, AI at least featured in some form, showing how significant this technological development has been for the digital industry.

With the arrival of ChatGPT in 2023, AI was brought closer to the general public, quickly taking the world by storm. This has had a considerable impact on most digital companies because the growing use of artificial intelligence in the private sphere has put them under increasing pressure to implement it themselves – as reported by agency bosses based on their talks with clients at DMEXCO 2023. However, these clients are also increasingly expecting AI to be utilized.

If you want to gain valuable insights into artificial intelligence from the industry’s thought leaders, then register for or log in to the DMEXCO community for free and catch up on a whole host of sessions from DMEXCO 2023 on our VoD platform.

Looking ahead to 2024, it’s clear that these trends will continue. That’s because AI solutions are becoming increasingly refined and even more powerful. Companies, particularly agencies, therefore need to train their existing employees accordingly and pay attention to the relevant skills when recruiting new ones.

It’s worth noting that leading EU representatives have said that they’re planning to introduce their AI Act containing landmark regulations in 2024. Once this legal framework enters into force, developers wanting to tap into the European market will know exactly what conditions apply to their applications, potentially easing the current investment backlog and triggering the development of countless new products.

Digital collaboration – essential for companies and employees

In recent years, remote work has really gained momentum and significantly transformed the digital industry – even in countries that, in some respects, aren’t at the forefront of digitalization, for example Germany. However, this rapid development hasn’t been met with enthusiasm on all sides, with some companies now expecting their employees to return to the office. Big players such as Amazon and Google have publicly spoken out against remote work becoming the new norm. The majority of employees disagree with that stance, though, as revealed, for example, by a study conducted by Bankrate, which specifically examined the U.S. market and found that around 68 percent of full-time workers prefer a hybrid workweek.

Although many companies want their employees to be more present in the office again, a more flexible way of working is emerging compared to a few years ago. The reason: especially in light of the current shortage of skilled professionals in the digital industry, most employers cannot afford to not give employees what they want.

Along with that, companies are facing various challenges in terms of recruitment, onboarding new employees, establishing and promoting a corporate culture, and providing the technical infrastructure required for digital collaboration. These aspects were discussed to some extent at DMEXCO 2023, for example in this German-language masterclass on video planning at a time when flexibility and agility are required. However, a major part of the negotiation process will only play out in the coming years, bringing even more changes in the world of work. To successfully embrace remote work in 2024, digital collaboration must be underpinned by innovative tools and optimized processes.

Retail media – from a trend to a phenomenon

Retail media was already a trending topic at DMEXCO 2022, but this marketing category experienced an even greater boom in 2023. The German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) has been at the helm of this growth, having launched its Retail Media Circle in early 2023, thus bringing together the discipline’s key representatives. We wrote about this earlier in the year in our own story – in addition to publishing our survey results, which predict a bright future for retail media. Expectations were therefore high at DMEXCO 2023 – and these were completely fulfilled by the event’s many sessions, from the BVDW masterclass “How to Retail Media: What Does the Market Want and What Is Possible Today?” (in German language) to the lecture “Retail Media – Not a Hype, but a Full-Funnel Turbocharger for Your Media Plan” (in German language) delivered by Christian Raveaux (Head of Customer Insights & Media, REWE Group), both of which were held in German.

The experts agree that retail media has the potential to significantly transform the marketing world in 2024 and beyond. So there’s no better time than now for companies to explore how they can leverage retail media and integrate it into their marketing mix.

Digital collaboration, retail media, and AI will shape 2024

AI and other tech developments will continue to dominate in 2024 – that’s the unanimous opinion of digital professionals, whether in the context of DMEXCO or beyond. It’s now up to marketers to tap into AI and take practical steps to shape the future of the digital world (of work).

Both established experts and innovative newcomers provided plenty of practical input at DMEXCO 2023. Register for or log in to the free DMEXCO event platform and relive the fascinating conference sessions in VoD format.