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Recap dmexco 2017: From Digital Transformation to Artificial Intelligence

On 13th and 14th September 2017, the Koelnmesse (Cologne Expo) in Germany was once again home to the Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference (dmexco). We were on site picking up some of the vibe of the expo, and have compiled a summary of opinions and views from some of the digital industry experts who were in Cologne. The consensus is: Digital marketing is changing rapidly and is becoming more and more diversified – not just in terms of opportunities, but also in terms of methods of implementation. Whilst some are just making first steps towards digital transformation, others are already moving into the field of Artificial Intelligence.


The elimination of free tickets was noticeable from the start: the queues at morning check-in were shorter and the expo halls weren’t as full as in previous years. However (or perhaps for that very reason) there were still over 40,000 visitors and many opportunities for interesting exchanges with expert visitors.

Our take on dmexco 2017

From our point of view as an exhibitor, we can hardly complain. We were able to welcome just as many visitors to our stand as in previous years, and we could run people through the Searchmetrics Content Experience and the latest innovations in the Searchmetrics SEO Suite while enjoying tasty (alcohol-free) cocktails like Search on the Beach or NoFollowrini.

We’d like to thank everybody for the great conversations and awesome feedback! We’ll certainly be coming back again next year!


Ask the Experts: What are the trending topics of 2017?

For anyone who didn’t make it to dmexco this year, we asked a number of experts which topics they view as trending and where they see the digital marketing buzz in 2017.

sapita-ansariSepita Ansari, Founder of Catbird Seat

“Modern marketing revolves around target audiences and is very much data-driven – that means that I try to use data to find out who my target audience is, and which communication tool(s) I can use to reach them. And you can see that here [at dmexco], with topics like DMP [Data Management Platforms] and DSP [Demand Side Platforms], but also regarding content and search. Applying a symbiotic, all-round approach has become extremely important; the isolated silos that exist in many companies have to be broken up to be able to conduct truly modern digital marketing.”

Britta-Kristin Böhle, Team Lead Inbound Demand Generation, Trustedshops

“The main topic this year is definitely Artificial Intelligence, and it has been covered in numerous talks here. It was the companies offering AI-based solutions that saw the most traffic at their stands. What will be important now will be making sure opportunities offered by this technological advance are not just available to large enterprises. Other topics of focus include marketing automation, personalization and influencer marketing.”

Fionn Kientzler, Suxeedo

Fionn-Kientzler“As well as AI (Artificial Intelligence), AR (Augmented Reality) definitely deserves a mention – I see much more potential in AR than in VR (Virtual Reality). I am not one of these cynics who says they have heard enough about it already. It is exciting to see how the digital economy is transforming at an ever-increasing pace, because if there’s one thing modern marketing needs most, it’s agility.

Content Marketing has now also become established as a fixed topic. Whoever still thinks Content Marketing is a fad that doesn’t achieve anything clearly doesn’t yet have a license for the Searchmetrics SEO Suite and Content Experience.”

Rhea Moore, Senior SEO Consultant, morefire

Rhea-Moore“The dmexco is always a great place for exhibitors and visitors to meet. Because there weren’t any free tickets this year, it didn’t feel as full as in the past, but I think this had a strong positive impact on the quality of discussions at the stands. The dmexco also seems to be becoming better known internationally. Although I was originally skeptical of the decision to switch to paid entry after all these years, it ultimately helped raise dmexco to the next level. I am pleasantly surprised!

The trending topics this year were: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Big Data Ecosystems. It might seem a bit simple but one of THE buzzwords is also ‘Digital Transformation.’ Many companies missed the boat on Digital Transformation and are now (still slowly) starting to catch up. As straightforward as it sounds and as obvious as it is for online marketers, Digital Transformation still seems to be – or is again becoming – one of the hot topics of our industry.”

Robert Weller, Blogger and Author, Toushenne

robert-weller“It is important to understand that marketing is just one of many things that contributes towards value creation within a company. For me, this means that modern marketing is highly integrated – regarding the cooperation with other sections of the company and also regarding the close (digital) relationship with customers.

AI is definitely a big topic, even if many of the people involved seem to just be jumping on the bandwagon, rather than actually contributing their own added value. I also sense a need for the complete opposite: Humanity. Empathy. Dialogue. Marketers can be highly susceptible to trends and sometimes tend to forget what really matters.”

Madita Weise, Customer Success Advocate, Hootsuite

“I didn’t really like the change to the pricing structure ahead of the event. Although ultimately, the introduction of ticket prices meant that talks at the fair were generally higher quality.

For me, modern marketing is typified by its variety – using a cross-media connection within the marketing mix. And, depending on the target market, we see that communication should often be focused on social media.”

Which topics do you see defining the future of digital marketing?

During the expo, we also asked our Twitter community for their opinions – with a very similar result. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, as well as modern, data-driven Content Marketing were amongst the topics that visitors got excited about.

Were you at dmexco 2017? Let us know which topics caught your imagination?