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4 Key Takeaways From #dmexco2017

Well, that’s a wrap on #dmexco2017 – the year “digital media turned 21 years old, surpassing TV as the number one form of advertising” – and, boy, we were busy!

Not only did Unruly take part in various panels on leadership innovation and the connected home during the two days in Cologne, Germany, we also took our #FutureHome with us this year.

Normally based at our London HQ, it’s a space designed to help marketers consider how they could use a new generation of tech to meaningfully engage with people in the connected home.


The Unruly stand from dmexco 2017


We had an incredible time, but for those of you who couldn’t make it, we have rounded up the 4 key takeaways.



1. Digital advertising’s wake-up call

So it would be difficult to begin any round-up of what happened dmexco 2017 without first mentioning Marc Pritchard. The keynote speech from P&G’s chief brand officer was by far the most talked about session throughout the two days and his talk was referenced in later panels.

In the official programme his keynote had originally been afforded the title “A Transformational Roadmap for Brand Building”. But shortly before he took to the stage in Cologne, delegates were told that the session title had been changed to “A Wake-Up Call”.



And with good reason. “The reality is that in 2017 the bloom came off the rose for digital media. We had substantial waste in a fraudulent media supply chain. As little as 25% of the money spent in digital media actually made it to consumers. But digital is now a $200bn industry. We have to stop giving digital media a pass and insist it grow up.”

The core message? A three-pronged call to action for the digital ecosystem: media transparency, mass 1:1 marketing and digital advertising as a pivotal tool for societal growth, changing perceptions and paving the way for a more equalised society.  


2. P&G has changed its approach to programmatic advertising

One of the other key points to come out of Pritchard’s keynote was that the world’s biggest advertiser had changed its stance on programmatic advertising.

No longer looking at programmatic trading as a way of getting cheaper ad buys, P&G now works with TAG extensively and has stopped buying media in the publisher long-tail.

He said: “We took the head fake on the promise of cheap ads on thousands of websites reaching millions of consumers, but it proved the old adage – you get what you pay for.”


3. Entrepreneurs should never underestimate the importance of culture when growing their businesses

Just how important is developing a unique culture when growing your business? Well, Unruly CEO Sarah Wood is in no doubt just how important it has been to the growth of our company.

Wood said: “You have a better chance of building a business if you have an awesome culture. And those cultures evolve — most successful start-ups they grow with people, but the values remain the same.”



However, Wood was quick to point out that culture is not just about making your company a fun and interesting place to work – creating a safe space is also key.

She said: “When people think about entrepreneurs, they think about risk taking and disruption, but it’s really about creating a safe space for your team to be awesome — and they may well disrupt a market, but that’s only valuable if it’s creating a solution and they have a safe space to fail.”


4. The future of advertising is closer to home than you may think

The connected home is the future of advertising. Yes, of course we would say that after bringing our #FutureHome with us for the two-day conference, but the impact the connected home will have on our lives was a big talking point at dmexco.

But if the rise in popularity of connected devices around the home, including voice assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, plus comScore’s prediction that “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020”, it’s a trend that’s difficult to ignore.

As an evolving advertising canvas, the #FutureHome will open up new opportunities for product partnerships, with ‘voice participating naturally’ in this equation, according to Unruly Futurist, Simon Gosling.

However, with the connected home promising to be the new mode of storytelling, so-called ‘ambient advertising’ will need to have clear boundaries.

Dave Ward, from Dixons Carphone, outlined the need for advertisers “to be overt about brand safety and data sharing” – a hot topic at this year’s event.

Watch the full panel discussion: