It’s certainly not surprising, but it still irks me that many people’s default button is to look for the negative.
I was one of the tens of thousands who spent time at Dmexco this week – I flew in first thing on Wednesday and headed back to the UK on the same evening – and a lot of the conversations I had with exhibitors and visitors all focused on what was wrong with the event as opposed to what was impressive.
I’m not sure if this is due to some sort of disconnect between what both groups expected and the reality of the event. Put into simple terms it is the one large scale exhibition – dons tin hat – that is set up specifically for the advertising industry and focuses entirely on ad and martech. Yes, there is CES, but it’s primarily for the consumer and has been hijacked by the ad industry and there are a few other boutique versions, but none on a scale to match Dmexco. It’s also the only exhibition the global ad industry seems to love.
Yes there was certainly less agency folk than normal – but name me an industry event that didn’t experience this in 2018 as agencies regroup and repurpose their offerings – and clients were less visible. while it was clear the event had a bigger German presence than the last few previous years, but if you are an adtech company looking to showcase your product or service to the European ad market, know how to work an exhibition stand and generate new business in this environment then you couldn’t ask for more.
In my opinion it’s this latter point that often is the source of event criticism. There are too many companies who exhibit who do not know how to work a stand or talk to visitors. There were too many stands I visited where company employees were either standing around talking amongst themselves and not working the visitors on their stand and more interested in offering our free beer, or sweets than working. This is all well and good, but if you don’t talk business with an engaged audience who are there to discover new marketing techniques and tools how do you ever expect to do business.
Yes, it’s hectic and there are talks going on in the middle of the exhibition hall and sound bleed is the norm, but like all exhibitions the conference element is an addition to drive greater visitor numbers and not the main focus of the event. Yes, it’s a great sales pitch for the those selling stands, but you get out what you put in from events.
To make life easier for our delegates and guests we have been striving to deliver ROI for all of our clients and have implemented a number of initiatives, which are more than just ‘leading the horse to water’ but setting up a path with various touchpoints to maximise ROI.
The other key is to continually evolve with industry trends, create immersive experiences and provide the education and inspiration your delegates desire.
It’s this insight, which has driven us to disrupt the awards format for the M&M Global Awards which are taking place next Thursday at The Troxy. Instead of forcing guests to sit down at a table for three or four hours – those that want to can if they wish – we are facilitating meaningful conversations and new business development opportunities by ensuring guests only have to sit down for the awards ceremony itself. It means they will be able to help themselves to food and drink from street food vans and the venue’s bar throughout the night.
It’s time for the era of being brave and bold.