Three dmexco insights on the now frontier

The content marketing ecosystem is changing

AI, automation, voice search, ephemeral storytelling, the GDPR, the future of messaging… the digital industry is no longer propelling buzzwords. Change is happening and the now frontier* is here. And we all witnessed it at this year’s dmexco.

Bonin Bough at dmexco 2017

With a two-day packed program, 500+ leading-edge speakers, and 50K attendees, the expectations for this year’s dmexco were high. The main topics had already set the scene and made one thing clear: change is happening, whether we are on board or not. It’s not about “VR or not”, “Insta Stories or not”, “Bots or not”, the question really is: how do we, as brands and marketers, adapt to meet the new digital frontier that is unfolding as we speak. Here are the key insights that I took back home.

1. Humanation before automation

This year’s dmexco confirmed an industry fact: if you’re not adding an automation component to your creative and marketing frame right now, you’re missing the boat. The direction we are heading at full speed was clear: key industry players had automation and chatbots on their booth agenda and many talks from speakers like Yoav Izhar-Prato (Kenshoo), Nicolas Darveau (Google), Anthony Reeves (Amazon), Jon Suarez Davis (Salesforce), Bob Lord & Paul Papas (IBM), Beck Kloss (eBay) looked at how automation impacts areas such as social media, search, advertising, and customer service. The common view was that the horizontal development of automation leads to more meaningful audience interactions, more upper and lower-funnel interactions, and fewer frictions.

As a content strategist and creator, I am predictably interested in tackling the liaison between human engagement and automation. At Komfo, I have worked on creating our first messenger and voice bot — Amigo for the Nordic conference Komfo Summit together with our partners BotSupply. We did that with humans and transparency in mind. 1 out of 4 persons that attended Komfo Summit interacted with Amigo, estimating to a total of 4K received messages (Grasia María). Keeping humans in the equation enables the creation of valuable content and elevates meaningful moments with audiences.

This view was shared at dmexco, where Bonin Bough coined the term “humanation” to describe the merge between human actions and automation.

“How do I use automation to create the human actions that I want, but still have a human engagement with you? It’s the combination of automation and human engagement.”
Bonin Bough, CNBC

2. Time for in-the-moment content and authentic experiences

In a landscape where the tendency is to simplify and differentiate, new digital content formats enable new emotional experiences that are otherwise impossible. Online content on Insta Stories, Facebook Stories or Snapchat is not only in the moment, it also creates a moment of its own.

This gives content creators the upper hand: we can now reach audiences in a more cognitive and authentic manner, and therefore build more meaningful one-to-one interactions and experiences. Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) pointed out the following:

“In a mobile-world creative still wins the day. Creative is so much more than just writing text and just writing copy, it’s creating experiences that speak to people.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook

This view was shared by Kay Hsu (Instagram) in her keynote on Insta Stories where she argued that:

“the more permanent something feels, the less in the moment it feels.”
— Kay Hsu, Instagram

Stories are therefore the perfect medium for experimenting with content and getting audiences as close to the brand experience as possible. But how do we capitalize on these new formats to maximize created value? Here are her key tips:

  • Rethink context: 98% of mobile-users read in the vertical mode and that is something we should keep in mind when creating content.
  • Play with time: stories on social are ephemeral and rely on clicking and swiping. We can use that to our advantage.
  • Craft for space
  • Add interactivity to create “thumb-stopping creative”, as Shirley Sanders puts it.

3. Consumer-centricity for content with a real added value

With generation Z as born storytellers and content writers being the multimedia creators of today, content is not king — “content is now everywhere” ( Scott Wilkinson, Virgin Media Business ). Dmexco showed that branded content has now reached a fever pitch. We thrive in an ecosystem where “customers can go from awareness to sale in a matter of seconds” (Amazon). This means that brands strive to create valuable content on all possible touchpoints — for engagement, social interaction, discovery, function.

At dmexco, it was pointed out that the obvious purpose still stands: consumers should be the focal point of all brand efforts and value propositions. In term of content, there are no secret recipes. A story cannot be told by a single format that performs successfully on its own, even if formats such as Stories, live video and snackable have been stealing the spotlight. Just as search has become a cognitive experience where voice search might be the new medium, but not the only touchpoint with our audiences, content is varied and there are no shortcuts for reaching marketing KPIs.

A story “lives” on different mediums and points of interactions: consumers can interact with a story on a social media channel, and they can go deeper on a website. This view was shared by many of the keynote presentations at dmexco, and as Jack Dorsey (Twitter) pointed out — “if things don’t need to be live streamed, don’t make them live”.

See you at dmexco 2018?

I am already looking forward to dmexco 2018 with team Komfo — Lisbeth Chawes, Jonas Als, Stephen Holmes, Carlo Andrea & more! Let’s exchange thoughts and expectations.

* The ‘now frontier’ was tackled in more depth in Michael Kassan (Medialink) and Dominique Delport (Havas Group / Vivendi group)’s talk on technologies for marketing right now.