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I’ve Been to DMEXCO 17 Times—This Year, We’re Fixing the Media Supply Chain

August 19, 2019 — by Jens Bargmann

In 2002, DMEXCO was called OMD (Online Marketing Düsseldorf) and took place at the Rheinterrassen in Düsseldorf instead of Cologne. It consisted of two smallish halls which you could cross from one end to the other within five minutes. There were 36 exhibitors and 1,700 visitors—our current MediaMath booth would have been the biggest of the show by far. On Day 2, nobody showed up before noon because everyone was out till 5am in the morning partying.

Back then, most of the exhibitors were web portals like web.de, freenet.de and t-online.de, indicative of what the media supply chain looked like. There were also the main German publishing houses like Springer and Gruner + Jahr which were starting to participate online. The supply chain was much smaller and mainly limited to these players. Ads were bought on an IO basis, via fax.

DMEXCO has come a long way in large part because the adtech landscape has exploded. Now, every type of company under the LUMAscape is represented. In 2015, DMEXCO became the global digital marketing show nobody in the industry wants to miss, with 881 exhibitors and 43,000 visitors. And yet, all this growth later, American and British visitors still cannot cope with the unwieldy name DMEXCO for Digital Marketing EXpo COlogne and instead continue to refer to it as “DEMEXICO” although it has nothing to do with the beautiful country south of the US…

But back to the future.

When I started my career in product management at Lycos Europe in 1999, nobody had any clue what they were doing in digital marketing. It has now disrupted the way in which brands engage with consumers both online and off. However, it’s rapid growth has also meant that we built the Internet without much standardization and purpose. This has led to a host of untended consequences such as fraud and intermediaries that don’t add value. And everyone has been impacted—not just brands, but agencies, publishers and consumers, too. It’s gone on for far too long, and now brands are losing money as consumers tune out and turn off from advertising altogether.

That’s all changing. During this year’s Cannes, MediaMath and partners including Rubicon announced a collective initiative to create a cleaner, safer media supply chain in which advertisers will be able to see the ROI across all of their supply efforts, more accurately plan and forecast and only work with partners who have their best interests in mind. And we’ve been hard at work all summer putting product, process and partnerships against this big effort.

We are excited to share more about the work we’ve been doing with others in the industry at this year’s DMEXCO. And what better company in which to do it than brands like Deutsche Telekom, Mondelez, Visa, Henkel, Samsung and IBM.

A lot has changed in 17 years. Come DMEXCO 2020, I look forward to discussing with attendees how this new, cleaner supply chain work has improved business results for brands and publishers and given consumers incredible experiences.