Tag: conference

d:pulse – the new digital must-attend event in Europe!

You have to admit that flying to Zurich to a conference from London, staying over night, has to be a good conference, right? A conference that adds value to a coach and consultant. So when my friends, Frank and Christian, invited me to join them in Zurich for d:pulse, I was on fire. They have built dmexco, brought the industry together a few times, and just understand the concept of good conferencing, adding value and getting the right people on board.

So there I was, and admittedly, not knowing who Sven Hannawald was, he started the conference talking about burn-out, life-life balance and taking breaks. I thought I was on a personal development conference for a moment, as the multi Olympia winner talked about his struggle with mental health, performance and not being able to take a break. He spoke to what I preach, and that at a digital conference. It reiterated my point about the industry having to come closer together to not overwork people and look after each other. Besides us being a billion dollar industry, we are still a close knit team, and we have to work together to make it a sustainable industry not only from a money perspective, but from a people perspective too.

Throughout the day it was nice to see that brands like Lufthansa or Deutsche Bank embracing new technologies, Discovery mentioning how TV is changing, and I saw attempts to take the execution of technology in-house. Companies start trying things, but also admit that they don’t have the specialists in house. Technology is still a grey area for some, or at least they understand it strategically but not from an execution or operational point of view. No surprise to find a lot of consulting friends in the audience, seeing opportunity to help bigger brands on their journey.

Emotional bonding with brands is key. Whilst Deutsche admitted that in their presentation, a millennial social media company, Visual Statements, showcases emotions and how this impacts social media campaigns. All around data analysis, they test concepts on social which then inform them which products should be produced for brick and mortar stores. Throughout every presentation was a trail of data, data analysis and how they can inform decisions.

Emotions were of course also mentioned by Unruly who have looked at different meanings of gestures and how certain advertising resonates with different countries for many years (see picture). Again, their data plus the ability to change the ads according to audience, deliver a real difference.

I enjoyed the conference. New and old mingled, GenZ, Millennials and people like me ;-), the industry seems to rejuvenate itself, looking at new topics, being more experimental. All captured by the organisers in a fantastic event in Zurich. What is not to like?

And of course, Sir Martin was there. He was relaxed, talked about the industry and about how things will de-consolidate. He also made the point about content that is data driven and digital being the way forward. Take it from a man who knows, and one sentence will stick in my mind. He said, given the US media industry is 20 trillion dollars vs. 3 trillion in the UK, an hour in the US would make him 7 times more effective. I like his thinking!

In case you attended the event, let me know what you think. If you didn’t, make sure you head over to the d:pulse website and register for the next event. This is a conference that will be the must-attend event in years to come.

Thanks!

Sunday Column (424)

What an amazing week I had. I spend my week with some amazing people seeing some amazing things. As I started writing this on my flight to San Diego on Monday, I am not sure why I use a cable for my wireless, bluetooth headphones. I had to connect my keyboard to my iPad via wireless bluetooth connection. Is that dangerous? I guess by time of reading this, you will know. I am, in all honesty, not the biggest fan of flying. I have done it a lot in the past, but not the long haul flights with 8 hours time difference. Yet it seems so easy and with enough planning you keep yourself busy. Having proper thinking time, going through endless podcasts and audiobooks and preparing presentations is not a bad thing. Not being connected and constantly interrupted. And the odd glass of champagne – I got an upgrade 😉 That also means I got some sleep both ways and the flights overall were very bearable.

All those “posh” things don’t matter too much to me tbh. I enjoy them, don’t get me wrong, but I am far too much down to earth. Hence I happily admit a tear jerker of a movie called Brooklyn which I watched last weekend. It was about an Irish lady that leaves home for America to fall in love. A simple story, yet ever so timely with Trump trying to ban immigrants. The quote at the end reads: And one day the sun will come out – you might not even notice straight away, it’ll be that faint. And then you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who’s only yours. And you’ll realize… that this is where your life is.

It made me think. I arrived in the UK in 2001. As my teacher always said, when I came back from an exchange year in the USA in 1994, he didn’t think I would stay in Germany. Something had changed. I always wanted to go back stateside to live. Yet life hasn’t worked out like that, and I am far from complaining about the life I have. I am very happy. The wife is happy. The kids are and don’t want to live anywhere else either. That is nice. Yet, I sometimes wonder what if things had gone differently. But then we always will. And we make people in the country we move to ours, and whilst it feels like my wife has been part of my entire life, she has no connection to my past prior to me meeting her. That is odd but yet a lifetime since we met. The film definitely hit a spot.

In relations to that I got a letter whilst I was away: I become a British citizen! All application approved and I can pledge my allegiance to the Queen in the next couple of months to then get a British passport. So technically I am already a Brit I suppose. And a German. However, I keep both my German passport and my accent. It is good to know that I am not different to my family any more and I am part of what I have been living for the past 16 years. A new chapter I suppose, but I know where my life is. It is kind of an odd feeling. On the one hand it is a tick box in regards to Brexit and my life here, rather unimportant. On the other hand, you are giving up some of your identity (without loosing your German passport or nationality) and adopt more closeness to a country you chose to spend your life in. A bit of a step to become closer to things in this country. I cannot use my excuse of being a foreigner any longer either.

In other thoughts…when I was at the airport, going out, my youngest had a small accident. He hit his head, broken his glasses and my wife took him home. Nothing to worry about. You cannot be there all the time. But it is a shame that you cannot be there yet of course it is good that someone can. One thinks of what could happen on a long journey. Maybe I shouldn’t but I did. What if… The wife and I discussed it, and yet, we aren’t worried. We are both people that get on with life, we succeed in life. And if anything might happen, this would just be the end of the world for one. The other one moves on, gets on with life. But let’s not even think about it.

I enjoyed the companies of my colleagues on the trip. I am not only saying that but I do feel home. Friends in the industry, good guys, friendly, helpful and they are looking after me. I am still the new guy, ain’t I? It feels longer than 3 weeks. It’s good. It’s fun and I genuinely enjoy the new company. It is nice to feel welcomed and at home, thinking I can add value. The camaraderie, them making me sing my first karaoke in my life and us enjoying ourselves sitting in the sun in San Diego after a few exhausting conference days. I even got a sunburn. We went to the gym most mornings being jet lagged, had some good wine but never really stepped over the line. We met the CEO who is great and down to earth. I met with lots of colleagues from the US. It was amazing and I cannot wait to go back and learn more. Some of the stuff I saw in terms of technology is mind boggling. I am very excited to be part of the company’s journey!

Then it was my son’s 6th birthday party, and my dad’s birthday too. I arrived just in time for the cake. Jet lagged, tired, exhausted, sun burned and knackered. But nothing of that mattered the moment I got the longest hug in the world. The biggest kiss, him telling me all about what he has been up to since I left. And the other one too! We cheated a bit and didn’t get him any toys from the US as it would have been too much hassle to organise last minute with the delivery and all. So instead we ordered some PJs pretending they were from the US. Never mind, when you read this when you are older you will probably kick a fuss yet understand it. And I didn’t really say they came from the US anyway. So you will understand or might not even remember. You didn’t mind and were the happiest boys in the world. Boy did I miss my family this week!

It was a tiresome week. A kick off to a few weeks travelling. A kick off to my new job. A kick off to enjoying world traveller status. A well spent week. Thank you, yet it is good to be home.

Have a fantastic week everyone, love to you all,
Volker

Sunday Column (359)

What a gloomy Sunday. Saturday was so dark and cold, we put the fire on all day – it is nice and relaxing, calming yet it should be either a bit lighter or a bit colder – this weather just really sits in between autumn and winter. And it is wet. Yet, despite all that my wife did a 10K run today. Well done you!

The week was full of travel, yet it was actually very pleasant. I left the UK Monday evening to go to a conference in Hamburg. Easyjet seems to have a winter schedule, where they fly evenings rather than early mornings. So I got away for three nights. I prefer early morning but hey, all about being organised.

The conference was amazing. Of course it was because I was speaking but really it was because there was a room of people interested in cross device tracking and the break down of silos: offline/online. I do really like what I do. I love my job (and not only saying that), as we are able to connect offline to online marketing, targeted advertising. So this conference went down as a treat, getting to know lots of different view points within the industry.

Tracks conference

I also managed to do a 10K run in the dark. Given it was a bit windy and misty, it was a fun run. I managed to do a personal best with an average of around 4:52 per kilometre which is quite good. Really enjoy pushing myself to get fit for my challenge next year. However, maybe I overdid it a bit doing it that early before the conference. Never mind. It felt awesome at the time.

Then I met lots of interesting people. Old university friends from within the industry, old friends, industry friends who I knew since 2006 and so on. Online and Digital marketing is such a small industry. And everyone knows everyone and knows someone who worked with some mate….

Overall a fantastic week. Yet, again, I was away from the family. Packing my suitcase with lots of German sweets works to get the love from the kids, but the sweets still don’t replace me when I am away. They need and want me to be at home. Finding that balance is still difficult and being able to switch off from work when being home. I am working on it and yet was very happy to be home on Thursday night. I missed them too! And my wife of course.

A new rule sees me to stop being on my phone during the weekends and really engaging with them. We are playing UNO, paw patrol, and mock about.

Friday was another busy day in the office before a well deserved, if I may say so, weekend. At the weekend we met some friends and I got a long overdue sports massage, trying to sort out a sore back thanks to my chiropractor. I was a success. We met friends but due to the weather just sat around really, chatting and catching up whilst the kids were playing.

I am very proud of my wife, I have to say. The 10K now, and her ambition to run a half marathon next year. I love her and she is an inspiration for myself, the boys and many of her friends to get fit, stay healthy and look stunning 🙂 Well done!

That sums up another week. Writing this whilst sitting at the airport waiting for my flight….I don’t mind travelling, as the best part is coming home. At least that is true for non holiday flights 😉

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

#opsmarkets Admonster Event London February 2012

I wrote about the last London Admonster event before. So today I want to continue writing about the Admonsters February 2012 event in London which took place last week.

Note, whilst I am working for mexad, a DataXu company, this opinion is my own.

The event was set in East London and as always I got lost getting there. One of my feedback is to move the next event to W1 – Westend London. Bring it home 🙂

It started with Karim from nugg.ad speaking about predictive behavioural targeting. A great concept and idea of which I have seen little traction in the UK yet. However, I believe the data that is collected can be very valuable for both publishers and agencies alike, whilst an integration into DSPs and RTB platforms could potentially threaten other 3rd party data providers due to the high quality of the data.

Next up was Martin Kelley from Infectious Media. Potentially a competitor to mexad, whilst they are more direct client focused, the presentation was great. Not only did Martin explain and picked on the inefficient media planning and buying cycle at agencies which only slowly started to shift with RTB, but he also rightly stated that RTB is just another way of buying media. That means that we are at the forefront in display, and that video, mobile and TV will follow suit. With only 20-50 bidders worldwide, the algorithms are still key to making a campaign successful. He agree with our CEO Sacha Berlik about the need for changing and adaptable algorithms which are key to making different segments successful. Something DataXu is mastering – as the only DSP out there at the moment.

Richard Foam from the ABC was speaking about the “new IASH” which calls itself Digital Trading Standard Group (DTSG). I am personally very curious to see where IASH is going and how important it will be for the industry moving forward. As I don’t want to stir any controversy, I better don’t dig deeper into that topic.

Sacha’s presentation about mexad and European media buying was fantastic. Of course I would say that but it gave great insights into campaign performances and CPM prices on pan European campaigns. The secret sauce of mexad is simple: local offices, permanent manual optimisation, and communication with and within the local markets. Yes, that simple. A well trained, platform agnostic team that knows how to scale campaigns across DSPs. Just by opening local offices mexad saw massive performance increase in local campaigns. Sacha also pointed out that DataXu is currently the only DSP that adopts its algorithm according to verticals and past learning which is key to best performance for RTB platforms.

Unfortunately I then missed a few sessions, including the “leaders in the industry” session which I was quite keen on. Sorry guys.

The after lunch sessions are always a bit slow. However, I was hoping for more insights from Rubicon or the Guardian on how publishers utilising RTB, SSPs and managing their inventory. It seems, with credit to Ciaran from Exchangewire, as if some publishers build “PTD – publisher trading desks”, utilising multiple SSPs. I wonder if there will be a platform agnostic approach to SSPs one day, similar to the mexad model on the buying side. No, I am not looking for a job to work with publishers, but I love to see a further fragmentation of the industry…..or maybe not. I guess our eco system is complex enough, isn’t it?

Rob Webster from Mediacom did a great talk for AdOps guys. Whilst not down my line, it was a great insight into how agencies function, what needs to be done, and what the consequences of small mistakes might be. Rob is great in terms of his experience and it really shows when he is speaking passionately about this topic.

I have to say that the last three sessions: Pubmatic, IAB and the discussion on privacy law got a bit too much for me. Yes, I might have shut my eyes to concentrate harder, but it was very late in the day. The deadline for the ICO guidlines/legislation/self regulation of the 26th of May is looming, however we as an industry still haven’t found much of a consent how we want to address the privacy issues. It might just be a simple “opt out” approach via browsers. Or a general consent unless you opt-out via the famous opt-out logo.

Anyway, another great Admonsters event. Thanks for the organisers to put on this conference. I truly enjoyed it and the industry get together. Some more heated debates or insights into some of the stuff that is going on would have been nice. There was also a bit of video RTB or mobile RTB missing I found. Maybe next time we move a bit further from display into RTB buying in general, and the way the consumer is looking at media.

However, a fantastic event. Thanks again, and see you soon.

Best wishes,
Volker

Sunday Column (106)

Last week passed very quick, once again. Not only work but the short nights with the boys are taking there toll. It seems as if things happen in delirium, a kind of surreal feeling if that makes sense.

The highlight clearly was my trip to Iceland to a conference: Rimc. A detailed conference blog post to follow.

I have known my friend Kristjan from Iceland for some time and was glad to be invited to speak at his conference. Due to Rohan only being 4 weeks, I thought I had to fly back just after the conference, hence missed out on an amazing (so I heard) trip around Iceland. Hopefully next time.

My wife always wanted to travel to two countries for her whole life: Egypt and Iceland.
In 2006 I went to Egypt and only the night before I left she mentioned that “I would see the pyramids before she does”. And, yes, I totally forgot. When I travel for work, I focus on the job I have to do rather than things that need to be done outside the working environment.

Hence this time, after I once travelled to the South of France in December without shorts, I involved my wife to pick cloth to wear. I took her advice and thought I had it covered, until my boss mentioned the blue lagoon, and that I should go there. The blue lagoon didn’t ring a bell with me, so I asked my wife who of course knew about it. And so I went.

Based in between lava rocks, there is a lagoon with hot sulphur water. What an amazing experience. Thanks to my contact I got an invite to go and enjoyed it very much. Whilst the cold wind and minus 6 degrees cooled my head, my body was emerged in very warm water. You had the chance to get a “massage” under a waterfall or just chill sitting in one of the bays. Sitting in the hot water, seeing the snow fall to the ground and the fog covering your view beyond 10 meters was an extraordinary experience.

I then decided to go to the sauna, did my session there, cooled down by rubbing fresh snow on my body. That was great. Finally I understand why people in cold countries use saunas much more than anyone else.

Going to the hotel, I was just tired, relaxed and my body felt refreshed. However, I went into Reykjavik town centre which is small but nice. I got some souvenirs for my boys and my wife, and then eased my day out with some great networking.

Oh, that was Thursday 🙂 On Friday I was at the conference and flew back early Saturday. I had to leave the networking party where we saw the Northern Lights around 11 pm. The lights were amazing. The whole trip and Iceland, including the Icelanders, are amazing and very welcoming. My taxi left at 5 am and I was home for lunch. Better be helping the wife, but thank her that I was allowed to go after all. Next year, I hopefully will be back, then for the weekend, maybe even taking the wife 😉

It all went well, I am getting used to travelling again. And, on Saturday we looked at a new sofa for our living room, cleaned the house and sorted things out…just back to our normal routine…..

Have a good one, a full write up of the conference to follow.
Volker