in Data & Insights

Postcard from Dmexco: Europe’s Biggest Digital Marketing Event

Dmexco, the world’s largest ad tech conference grew in numbers and stature judging by the response to this year’s event in Cologne. Amit Kotecha, head of marketing EMEA for Quantcast offers his experience of the conference and what he took from attending.

During my time at the Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference (DMEXCO) in Cologne Germany, I was told a phrase that has stuck in my mind: “Man soll nicht um den heissen Brei herumreden”

It literally translates as “you shouldn’t speak round and round the hot brew” and the idiom is perfect for summarising the German mindset. Aside from the sheer scale of DMEXCO, the thing that most struck me was the feeling that Germany is a very straightforward place to do business.

Any economist will tell you that Germans still very tangibly ‘makes things’ and the national mindset is geared towards wanting to know how things work. Germany as a country has an enduring love affair with technology and manning Quantcast’s stand with my colleagues it was refreshing to speak with marketers who really wanted to cut to the chase and know what happens ‘under the hood’ of our digital advertising company specialising in audience measurement and real-time advertising.

Put simply, if your tech doesn’t stand out, you won’t get too far in the German market.

Fortunately from this perspective, Quantcast is among the top five data processors in the world and directly measures more than 100 million web destinations. These are facts and the German marketers we met seemed impressed by our ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ if you will.

Having satisfactorily proven our credentials, it was also impossible to not touch on Germany’s place within the wider programmatic advertising market. Looking from the outside in, Germany looks like an attractive place to do business. Real Time Advertising is fairly small but the display market is flourishing. Market experts have said that reason for the slower mass adoption is because the market wasn’t ready.

The sense I got was that Germans are more naturally cautious when it comes to digital marketing innovations. This doesn’t mean that they are behind the times. It merely means that they want to properly trial new technologies – and if the results are positive and satisfactory, they will embrace it fully.

German marketers and publishers are now beginning to trust programmatic trading after carefully picking it apart and educating themselves to a level of feeling comfortable with the tech. This approach makes sense to me.

Business partners also made it clear they want to feel companies have feet on the German ground and that are determined to plant roots and it was great to have Paco Panconcelli Quantcast’s new managing director for Germany at the event. Paco was a great guide to the market, drawing on the connections he had made during more than 13 years of experience working in digital media in Germany with businesses such as IDG Tech Media and AOL. It also helps to have a German speaker with you, especially when ordering a Bratwurst!

Topics such as attribution and viewability were high on DMEXCO’s agenda and our CEO & founder Konrad Feldman touched upon this in his presentation.

Overall DMEXCO was a great event for us and I would thoroughly recommend it to UK marketers, even if the pace was incessant.

Here’s to DMEXCO 2014!

Originally published in The Drum on September 30, 2013 by Amit Kotecha, Head of Marketing, EMEA