DMEXCO had to take place digitally for the first time in 2020. While this may have promoted the potential for digital development, criticism was also loud due to the restrictions. We collected votes.
Over 160 hours of conference program came together for DMEXCO @ home. For the first time, the large trade fair and conference event had to take place completely digitally. This had an impact on the number of participants. While there were officially over 40,000 visitors to the event in 2019, DMEXCO @ home 2020 was able to attract more than 20,000 people. Over 800 speakers such as David Fischer, Chief Revenue Officer at Facebook, Alicia Tillman, Chief Marketing Officer at SAP, Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group, or Jason Spero, VP Perfomance Media at Google, came to the conference virtually. However, this event year was particularly difficult for exhibitors and employees who are looking for physical contact with potential customers. Matthias Wahl, President of the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), the ideal and professional sponsor of DMEXCO, declared accordingly:
The BVDW thanks all visitors, exhibitors, partners and Koelnmesse for making this digital DMEXCO @ home possible. My respect to everyone: It was extremely difficult to plan this year. It deserves respect to get involved in this new digital trade fair format. That is a leap of faith for which we are grateful. Because attitude matters.
This is how digital communication became the most important business and networking factor during the very special DMEXCO. Over 60,000 messages were sent on the DMEXCO @ home platform on the first day of the event. Oliver Frese, COO of Koelnmesse, draws the conclusion:
For us, the DMEXCO digital community is an absolute stroke of luck. Together we have developed a platform with DMEXCO @ home in a very short time that will set standards in the international trade fair industry. The next DMEXCO will hopefully take place again in 2021 as a physical AND digital event.
The overall conclusion of the DMEXCO organizers is: “It was a success – and of course we can make it even better.” We then provide three industry voices on the event, citing the advantages and disadvantages of the event.
Voices on DMEXCO @ home 2020
Like all other exhibitors and visitors, of course we didn’t know how the digital DMEXCO would be accepted or how the implementation actually works, but we acted as a top sponsor because we as a company that invests in a digital future in which virtual events take place in addition to physical events and want to become even better and bigger, believe in the concept and also want to present our innovations and insights. It is an enormous challenge to set up a digital platform within such a short period of time that takes into account all the components of the trade fair, such as networking, master classes, etc., if possible. Of course, there were technical problems and pitfalls here and there and communication problems here and there, but overall we are happy with the way things went. We look forward to a hopefully hybrid DMEXCO 2021 that brings together the best of human interaction and technological possibilities.
At first glance, DMEXCO @ home was very successful for us. The event has proven that virtual trade fairs work and are a very good alternative – because of Covid-19, but also in the long term. Hundreds of interested people have registered for our masterclasses and we have received a lot of positive feedback. We were particularly pleased with the great response to our first-introduced ‘Improve Your Marketing’ expert community with tips and best practices for optimized marketing. At the same time, DMEXCO @ home has shown that customer obsession and insight-driven marketing are essential. With Forrester as the guest speaker, we made a significant contribution to the discussion. I’m curious to see how sustainable the contacts initiated by the event will be.
I think it’s very consistent that DMEXCO, as a digital marketing expo, takes the pioneering role in the digitization of trade fairs. From the exhibitor’s point of view, they have created a versatile platform for this in a very short time. I see potential for optimization in finding the extensive range. Many exciting offers went down beyond the big stages. Here I would like more visibility next time. Personally, I still have to get used to the digital format. It is different to meet at a digital exhibition stand without looking each other in the eyes or sitting on a panel and having no feeling for the audience. The emotions are simply missing!
Opinions in the industry differ on how successful DMEXCO @ home was and whether a similar type of event is promising in the coming year. How did you perceive the purely digital event?