GrowthSeptember 26, 2019

DMEXCO 2019: Identity, Customer Experience, and the rise of the CDP

VP Sales EMEA Tim Norris shares the key themes of DMEXCO 2019.

Today’s array of digital devices and platforms offer new and exciting opportunities for brands, advertisers, and vendors. The introductions of sweeping privacy regulations, however, are also generating considerable concern. In an environment shifting rapidly to put the power in the hands of the customer, how is the industry to keep pace? On Wednesday, September 11, more than 40,000 industry professionals met at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany, to discuss just that.

In the wake of the “Trust in You” -themed DMEXCO 2019, attendees are left with a lot to consider. Although programmatic spending continues to grow, it’s clear that market priorities are shifting towards tackling personalisation with a focus on cybersecurity and data governance; especially as US-based companies anticipate the arrival of CCPA more than a year after their European counterparts addressed GDPR. 

Advertisers are facing an ‘identity crisis’

2019 was the year that identity swallowed anonymity whole at DMEXCO, with a much bigger presence than ever before from CRM players, marketing clouds, walled-garden platforms and CDPs. 

Undifferentiated ad tech platforms and agencies struggled to cut through the noise, with many complaining of a lack of brands and agency planners at the show. If our experience is anything to go by, it's not that buyers didn't attend DMEXCO, it's that their priorities have shifted away from media and towards a focus on data, retention, and personalisation. 

The incumbent DMEXCO ecosystem has largely pinned itself to browsers that now propose huge challenges for business as usual, and it was clear at the show that brands and practitioners were shifting their focus to building defensible first-party data assets. As marketers seek innovative ways to optimise the customer experience while continuing to build trust with consumers, bringing tech in house and implementing it strategically becomes paramount. 

Key CDP players were notably absent

Despite a growing number of companies in attendance identifying as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), the much-hyped marketing cloud CDPs were completely absent at the show. While the cloud behemoths throwing their hats in the ring further validates the market, it seems that their respective products are far from market-ready. 

The jury has long been out on whether a CDP can successfully reside inside what are inherently slow and closed single-vendor ecosystems, and at this year’s DMEXCO we got no closer to a verdict one way or another.

Boutique consultancies on the rise

A clear signal from the two days in Köln was that the number of boutique and entrepreneur-driven digital consultancies is higher than it ever has been. No doubt driven by the increased complexity of our ecosystem, smaller players are now picking up contracts that were once reserved for the big four, and clients were actively seeking independent advisors to help them navigate change and new regulation.

Members of the mParticle EMEA at our DMEXCO booth

While there’s no silver bullet for the “post-cookie-pocalypse” world, leveraging a true CDP helps provides a 360-degree customer view, enables brands to deliver quality customer experiences, and mitigates many of today’s challenges associated with ingesting and matching customer data whilst maintaining regulatory compliance. 

To help you organize your roadmap and inspire new ideas, we’ve created the CDP Use Case Guide summarizing some of the most impactful ways in which a CDP like mParticle can help your business.

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