In February 2017, the Warc Media Awards took place to recognise comms planning which has made a positive impact on business results. The fast-paced change across the media landscape is having seismic shifts on communications planning. As a result, some of the most pioneering thinking occurs at this stage of the process.

Through these awards, Warc captured communications planning best practice, showing how brands, their media agency partners and media owners are using new tech and platforms to help meet business objectives. The awards recognise brands that are getting the most out of their collaborations, as well as showing how data and analytics are revolutionising communications planning in real time.

WARC Media Awards - 09/02/2017 -

In recognition of Gain Theory’s authority in data and marketing effectiveness, Jon Webb Managing Partner acted as a judge on the ‘Best Use of Data’ category alongside a mixed jury including Sital Banerjee, Global Head of Media at Philips.

This category sought to recognise the role of data in an effective communications strategy and saw numerous entrants from leading brands globally.

Here are Jon’s insights from his judging experience  –

The top entrants within the “Best Use of Data” awards were very strong, with the papers submitted making a strong and clear link between how insights from data can play a fundamental role in driving additional value from media and marketing campaigns.  It was good to see that the successful entrants placed as much emphasis on using the data to tell a compelling story around the path to purchase as much as on more complex issues surrounding programmatic.  And for those entrants who weren’t successful this year, there were some clear guidelines…

  • Make the data a fundamental part of the story, not tagged on as either an after-thought or to justify pre-determined action
  • Insights from data can be very simple as well as very powerful – the grand prix winning entry was a great example of this
  • Some marketing initiatives take great courage to launch – using real time insights on customer feedback from social media is a great way of course correcting to stay on track

Overall the caliber of entrants were high and I have every confidence that next year the bar will be raised even higher.


Grand Prix –
Narellan Pools, Australia

Gold –
Hindustan Unilever, India
Destination Canada, Canada
Royal Philips, China

Silver –
Google, UK
KeyBank, USA
Sky, UK

Bronze –
Aviva, UK




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We are proud to announce that the Gain Theory team in India scooped the Best Omnichannel Customer Experience Initiative at the Customer Experience Awards for ongoing services delivered to Nestlé, India.

The awards, now in their tenth year and part of the Customer Engagement Summit in Mumbai, honour the highest level of achievement in customer experience across the Indian community and pay tribute to organizations that lead the way in providing best-in-class customer service.


Winning this award validates Gain Theory’s outstanding delivery to create a world class consumer engagement services model for Nestlé.

In the digital age, the ever-evolving world of consumer services either makes or breaks the way in which an organisation is perceived – all it takes is one tweet or a Facebook post for a trivial issue to be blown out of proportion. The Gain Theory Customer Engagement Services (CES) team for Nestlé India ensured customer service is approached holistically with the help of our multi-channel engagement process.

The Approach: Enhancing Consumer Experience 24/7

The number of consumer contacts received at the CES centre has increased almost three-fold. The goal for Nestlé India was to produce a multi-channel always-on engagement strategy that could successfully handle consumer complaints and queries received at the centre.

With this goal in mind, a three-step strategy was created:

  1. Cross platform consumer engagement (social to ‘traditional’ and vice versa)
  2. Personalising the experience
  3. Keeping consumers involved in the engagement journey

Execution of this three-step strategy was enabled via the help of our cross-platform engagement process. When a query or complaint is received it is approached with a 360-degree perspective – the communication medium is made irrelevant and consumer experience is given the highest priority. A complaint received on Facebook, for instance, is immediately picked up by our social media team, the consumer is contacted directly to get a better understanding of the complaint and a resolution is provided in the shortest possible time.

During the engagement journey at the CES centre, a consumer is kept involved in the resolution process. From the moment a complaint is registered until it is resolved, all concerned stake holders are kept updated every step of the way.


At Nestlé’s CES centre in India, Gain Theory has consistently set industry standards for others to follow. Customers now determine the experience they want and expect companies to deliver it. Our trail blazing approach to consumer engagement has not only delivered beyond these expectations but also made competitors stop and do a bit of course correction. Our approach has resulted in:

  • Leaving consumers feeling pleasantly surprised off the back of real time responses to positive and negative queries on social media
  • Helping Nestlé India earn the trust of the consumer
  • Helping to create a positive outlook about Nestlé and give consumers the confidence to register a complaint with the guarantee of a resolution to a query or complaint.
  • Developed a positive environment not only for the consumers but also the employees, who take pride in resolving consumer concerns.

The awards and accolades have further strengthened Gain Theory’s resolve to provide best-in-class consumer engagement.

To read excerpts from the interview with Mr. Chandrasekar Radhakrishnan, Head of Communications, Nestlé South Asia Region, published in afaqs! click here









AI and voice recognition promise to accelerate consumer adoption of smart devices, writes the global CEO of Gain Theory.

Last year, CES was most aptly described as more of an evolution than revolution. The reverse is true in 2017. This year’s event was a complete game-changer. Behind the high-profile, attention-grabbing gadgets is a very clear commentary on how voice recognition, artificial intelligence and smart technology have combined to irrevocably change the relationship between brand and consumer for the better.

“Smart” was the prevailing theme at this year’s event—and I saw (and heard) it everywhere. From lightbulbs to toasters and TVs to vacuum cleaners, the devices on display didn’t just “do”—they thought. Smart devices themselves are not the real game changers here. It is AI and, in particular, voice recognition, which promise to accelerate consumer adoption.

Relevance, ease-of-use and trust have all been barriers to consumer adoption and, until recently, many smart devices were controlled by a smart phone. The ability to turn lights on and off via a smartphone has been around for some time but not necessarily widely adopted. Frankly, why get off the sofa to grab your smart phone to turn off the lights when there’s minimal additional effort to simply walk over to the light switch? Voice recognition was the crucial missing component—and it was all over CES.

So it wasn’t surprising that Amazon’s Alexa stole the show.

Next generation smarter devices
With seven microphones embedded into the Echo device and machine learning at scale with automated speech recognition, Alexa’s response is almost instantaneous in helping to control lights, thermostats, door locks, sprinkler systems and even order an Uber at the command of voice. Amazon has opened up Alexa for integration using a free API and, according to GeekWire, Alexa now has over 7,000 “skills” (Amazon’s word for integrations) from just a 1,000 in June 2016. With reportedly 5 million units of Echo sold to date and fast growing integration of Alexa with other devices, the ease of use and relevance of smart devices is likely to accelerate consumer adoption with some predicting that 2017 will be the year smart home goes mainstream.

On another front, traditionally non-tech brands are moving into the smart device market, partnering with tech creators to fashion an array of new products. For example, Hair Coach, the world’s first smart hairbrush, is a collaboration between Kérastase (part of the L’Oréal Group) and Withings, who bring sensor technology and app connectivity to everyday products. The brush has microphones that pick up on various audible cues on the state of your hair and shares its data via a mobile app.

There were also a multitude of toys and educational devices for children. Fisher Price announced its intent to launch a high-tech exercise bike for toddlers and Lego announced a robot-making toolkit for kids. Lego’s “Boost” toolkit enables children ages seven and up learn to code and build robots, bringing their creations to life by adding movement, sound and personality.

Manufacturers as maintenance managers
Until recently, retailers held the keys to unlocking direct conversations with consumers. Having a detailed understanding of customers purchasing habits and demographics have helped them to communicate one-on-one with consumers, build strong relationships and increase future sales.

Manufacturers, on the other hand, have remained relatively in the dark beyond the number of units distributed, relying on third parties to help inform them of the end sales volumes, pricing and demographics of customers. The advent of smart technology has the potential to change that by enabling the manufacturer to gain a deep understanding of customer behaviour after the product has been purchased (assuming the customer grants permission). Smart fridges will automatically reorder items when they run out. Automotive manufacturers will know when your journey cannot be completed with your current fuel levels and alert you when driving to your nearest/most convenient/cheapest gas station.

Implications to marketers
Smart devices with voice recognition and AI will not just dramatically change the way in which consumers interact with computers, but also the way in which brands market to and build relationships with consumers due to the vast increase in data and resulting insights.

Retailers of consumer electronics, manufacturers, energy providers, telco operators and others will have a real opportunity to build even stronger relationships with customers by helping them to navigate the smart home. Joining up all the devices, ensuring strong security, diagnosing and solving problems for consumers as they integrate new technology as well as providing on-going subscription based support will strengthen brand relationships if done at a level that results in surprise and delight.

Machine learning, the ability to process data at scale and make intelligent decisions and recommendations in real-time will require a different approach to marketing in the future.

On its 50th anniversary, CES has indeed (re)found its voice and it’s clear that there’s a major step change in the technology we interact with every day, with voice recognition likely to be the biggest revolution in our lives since the smart phone.

Manjiry Tamhane is the global CEO of Gain Theory.

Article originally published by Campaign US  here



As content consumption habits become more disrupted – with viewers tapping into different platforms outside of the linear experience – marketers are having to re define the marketing playbook.

We are now shifting away from traditional GRP campaigns to a new audience-centric approach.

But, should you be using Twitter? Amping up Facebook or snapchat? And what role does more ‘traditional media’ such as TV, radio or print play within the mix?

..most importantly, how does this all impact your defined metric of success for a show’s launch?

CMOs across Fox, Showtime, HBO, E! and Esquire along with Gain Theory came together at this year’s Variety Tune In conference in LA to discuss all of this in a panel titled The Art & Science of Show Launch.

Gain Theory’s Managing Partner, Jon Webb guides us through the panel’s major themes.

Show launch success stories
CMOs at Fox, Showtime, HBO, and E! and Esquire share what it takes to successfully launch a show, from using national previews, to leveraging movie launches, social media, content, and brand advocates.

How the marketing playbook has changed
The marketing playbook has changed, with the shift away from ‘traditional’ GRP campaigns, and how we need to capture audiences at the right time and place. Audiences now crave content, redefining the way networks approach their marketing strategies.

Marketing tactics that don’t work
It’s no longer about the show launch and following a pre-defined recipe, but knowing who your audience is and how to adapt to them. If you know who the audience is and understand what they are consuming, you are able to serve them the right content, at the right time.

Jumping on the bandwagon of the latest trends
It’s not always about the latest marketing trends; it’s about being able to utilize all platforms strategically. If you know your audience segments, then you know what platforms they’re going to use and you’re going to know what type of message they want to see.

What we should be doing with data
Since there is no magic algorithm to use to predict how successful a show launch will be, it’s about really using the data, understanding it, and knowing when and how to course correct. It’s essential to take all the data and the know-how, to drive shows past the launch, and build a franchise.

To speak with us about the panel or arrange an informal conversation about how Gain Theory can help you maximise the marketing investment around show launches, contact:

What we saw in November was the start of something I can only describe as an uprising.

Senior marketers and key industry bodies led by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) gathered to rally around the topic of marketing effectiveness at the inaugural Effectiveness Week Genesis Conference in London. The advisory board constituting of senior marketers from John Lewis, RBS, Diageo, Telefonica, Unilever and several more had identified key challenges facing the industry ranging from short and long term effectiveness to media optimisation and everything in between.

Defining Effectiveness

How to define effectiveness? As Jan Gooding, Group Brand Director at Aviva eloquently put it “Did it work? Every organization makes choices about how it invests its money. For marketing to get its share, it needs to prove value”. Given the amount of data, technology and agencies available, one would assume that marketers have all the tools at their disposal to answer this question. So, why is this an issue at all? What roadblocks are marketers facing when answering the simple question of ‘did it work?’.

New Growth

First off, sustaining growth is becoming harder. As Bart Michels, Global CEO of Kantar Added Value put it “All the easy growth has gone. Clients are trying to find growth in uncomfortable places and what that means is new segments, new markets, new routes to market and different business models”. As I wrote in the Marketing Society Conference round up, consumers are looking for purpose and meaning and their expectations are fueled by disruptors like Uber. The rules of play have changed.

To this point, we heard some great case studies from Jeremy Elis, Marketing & Customer Experience Director, TUI and Nathan Ansell, Global Director Loyalty, Customer Insight and Analytics at Marks and Spencer around how each brand is investing in customer experience to drive growth.

Long & Short Term Effectiveness

Secondly and much discussed at Effectiveness Week, is the issue of effectiveness over a short and long term period. What was interesting was that the definition of long term varies – from 3yrs to 5yrs +, every business is different but marketers need to get clear alignment from CEOs and Boards.

Les Binet & Peter Field highlighted that the marketing pendulum has swung dangerously in favour of activation and therefore short term effectiveness, which in turn hurts long term growth. They advised taking a more balanced approach.

Effectiveness Culture

Another much discussed topic is the need to drive an effectiveness culture. Why? With departments increasingly living in silos, which is especially evident in larger organisations, there is a danger that with all the tools, tech, data, insight and recommendations the one barrier to growth is our own organisation. Data living in silos, disparate KPIs and strategies and worst still teams that are not built to optimise marketing effectiveness all act as barriers to maximising value from marketing. As Nick Milne, Head of Marketing Effectiveness at Telefonica’s O2 put it “Marketing effectiveness will exist as a team in organisations until we, as effectiveness practitioners, are successful enough in embedding effectiveness thinking out across the organisation.”

Marketers as Growth Guardians

Alan Bloodworth, EMEA CEO at Gain Theory and technical judge at the 2016 IPA Effectiveness says “Effectiveness Week and initiatives such as the Effectiveness Institute have come at the right time. We live in uncertain times where marketers need to have foresight and act as the growth guardians for their organisations. Marketing effectiveness can only be achieved if addressed in totality – with peer and industry support, having the right partners in place and building an internal effectiveness culture.”

One thing is for sure, it feels like marketers have decided to take matters into their own hands and along with key industry players like the IPA and agency partners lead a revolution to drive growth through customers no matter how challenging times have become.

Digital Flip Book

To see our highlights featuring other topics such as social media, marketing in the digital age and collaboration open the digital flip book below.

Once again the team behind the Marketing Society Global Conference have surpassed themselves with this year’s event held at London’s British Film Institute and streamed across their hubs from Dubai to Singapore.

Global 3.57

It’s a theory that has been around for almost a century: there are no more than six degrees of separation between any two people on the planet. But as the world goes online, the degrees of separation between people is shrinking. According to a Facebook study, there are only 3.57 degrees of separation between you and the 7.9 billion other people on the planet.

People today are more closely connected than ever before and we live in uncertain times, where every sector is disrupted and the outcomes we want are far from guaranteed. Consumers are looking for purpose and meaning and their expectations are fuelled by disruptors like uber. The rules of play have changed.

We need to reimagine business in a new context to be more relevant to the customer in their journey – this requires a bold approach.

It was in this context that a stellar cast for this year’s thought-provoking conference was curated. An astronaut, a TED speaker, two Olympians, CMOs and a CEO on stage. Seriously, there was nowhere I would have rather been at that moment in time.

As Nick Milne, Head of Marketing Effectiveness from O2 told me, “I found the whole day pretty inspirational. From hearing about trips into space, how McDonalds are embracing digital, or how Team GB set up a culture of performance, the content was spot on”.

To get the download of the event see my summary below.


We often hear the term ‘head versus heart’, but even romance novels tell us that choosing one above the other may lead to an unhappy ending.

The marriage of data and creativity does not always come naturally. Any marketer worth their salt knows that in order to compete in today’s data-obsessed world, you must use data and analytics to help guide creative decisions. So how can you strike the right balance and ensure your marketing culture is one that not only embraces analytics but also an emotional strategy?

The Financial Times Future of Marketing Summit 2016 in New York saw  Kayak, Diageo and Gain Theory come together in a thrilling discussion about this topic.

  •  Data is like architecture Jason Chebib, Vice President, Consumer Planning, North America at Diageo shared an interesting analogy of Byron Sharp, where data is like architecture. There are certain principles, laws of physics, which underlie whether a building will stand or fall. However, when it comes to what you design on top of that, it has nothing to do with the laws of physics, but everything to do with the creative mind. Such as an architect and a designer come together to produce a masterpiece, data and creativity are no different. Art is lifted through its foundation, as marketers put a platform for great creative to happen.
  • Data is just a number Whereas data is raw material, the key is what you find out about it and what you do with the data. One may have all the data in the world, but it is essential to set objectives up front and ask the right questions.
  • So what? Factor Manjiry Tamhane, Global CEO at Gain Theory tells us that data and creativity have been going hand in hand for decades, but now we need to bring in the “so what?” factor into all of that. The relationship between data and creativity is clear; it’s now about bringing the idea to life.
  • Pulling TV from the marketing mix Ian Akehurst, Vice President, Marketing Analytics & Media, Kayak talked about Kayak’s bold data-driven strategy to move away from TV advertising to VOD channels which sparks interesting debate about TV’s role in generating awareness and how one should have a solid back up plan.

To find out how you can be involved in future panels please email


September in New York is on the cusp of seasons, just getting over the summer heat as it heads into a crisp fall. Luckily, by the time we hit the Marketing Society’s US exploratory lunch during Advertising Week, the climate had cooled down. Which was handy because if you are acquainted with Advertising Week, you will know that:

a) whilst ‘conveniently located in the Times Square area’ it’s not exactly a short distance between sessions
b) you’d have to be a time/space traveller to attend all sessions back to back in various locations
c) the array of deeply interesting sessions and people to meet is as never ending and dazzling as a Vegas buffet awaiting to be consumed.

New tech, new challenges
One of the interesting sessions at Advertising Week 2016 was hosted by Kristi Argyilan, SVP Senior Vice President of Media and Guest Engagement at US retail giant Target. The session explored how marketers are now facing a new challenge where the marriage between marketing and technology is creating new expectations. We heard how marketers and brands that win are the ones that embrace change, adapt quickly and effectively blend marketing and technology. Kirsty highlighted that in this environment of constantly innovating, listening to customers and using data and technology to change the game, the next big challenge is measurement.

It was in this salubrious setting that the Marketing Society hosted a lunch in partnership with Gain Theory, aimed at exploring the challenges that we have as marketers and facilitate the conversation to help inspire bolder leadership. We were also treated to some insight from Thomas Barta – author of The 12 Powers of Marketing –into the frustrations felt by marketers and what it takes to be a true marketing leader.

First off the challenges. We kicked off with a round table introduction with each senior marketing leader citing their current major challenge. What was thrown up wasn’t by any stretch new – how to leverage multiple agencies, synchronize messaging globally, inspire the marriage of data and the end consumer and a myriad of challenges around content, digital and social. However, the biggest thread was measurement. Be it the quantification of value that marketing brings to the table from an internal perspective and inspiring global marketing teams to champion that value, or the basic requirement for ROI, measurement and optimization of marketing efforts in the first place. It’s no surprise that measurement is still a pain point for marketers. After all, with a consumer that travels through a ‘disrupted’ path to purchase, harnessing the data that is spat out from various channels to then extract meaningful insights is not a task that many are adept with. Couple that with a firehose of data, measurement jargon, multiple answers to a single business question, seemingly ‘slow’ insights and above all the barriers within our own organization and you can see where marketers feel they are set up to fail where measurement is concerned. Simply put by one of the lunch delegates ‘quantifying the value of marketing either internally or externally is a challenge’.

Entering the value creation zone
So, how do those challenges sync up with the frustrations we feel as marketers when it comes into our perceived value within the organization and our career aspirations? According to Thomas Barta, 71% of senior marketers believe that their business impact is high but just 44% are satisfied with their career paths. This led to some head nodding around the table. Barta pointed out that in order to create marketing success, marketers need to hit the ‘value creation zone’ – a place where we create value for customers (products, services and experiences that meet their needs) value for the company (revenue and profit) and value for ourselves (greater influence and better careers).

As Manjiry Tamhane, Global CEO at Gain Theory eloquently said ‘There is no other industry (as marketing) that has had to face as many changes at such a pace. It’s a new world. We need to tackle some of the old world structures and processes to meet the new world challenges and expectations. We need to be prepared to change the game to meet new demands’

In relation to validating our value as marketers, it’s about being brave to have an evidence-based conversation with the CFO or CEO to understand what it is that marketing needs to deliver. At the end of the day we’re only going to get revenue from our customers so framing the conversation around the value creation zone is key.

You could say that the temperature we read from the US marketers around the table felt like it was hotting up. But we did sense that whilst we are certainly feeling the heat, there’s no better time to be in marketing like now where the opportunities to turn challenges into wins are aplenty.



Article originally posted on the Marketing Society’s website here


How are some of the UK’s biggest brands innovating in data capture, extraction and storytelling to boost the most important marketing metric: ROI?

Are buzzwords such as ‘big data’ still significant? How can you uncover the hidden stories in your data sets, and display them in a meaningful, engaging way? What is the future of data in the ever-growing world of IoT?

These are some of the themes for Marketing Week’s essential one-day Data Storytelling Conference in London on November 1st, delving into the exciting and ever-expanding world of narrative-led analytics and data storytelling.

Gain Theory are proud sponsors of the conference where we will hear from top brands spearheading the best data-led campaigns, including: Disney, BBC, Barclays, and eBay and more to help you.

Managing Director, Jon Webb will be sharing knowledge the latest predictive analytics techniques in a panel:

Back to the Future: ‘near time’ predictive insights that give you ‘in time’ optimisation

  • What makes customers tick in a fast evolving, fragmented world
  • Rear view marketing effectiveness methodologies don’t work any more
  • How campaign course correction can impact marketing objectives early on
  • How an automated, predictive approach can lead to ‘near time’ insights
    for predictive course corrections

Alongside sharing our expert knowledge, we’ll also be presenting the Predictive Analytics award for the Data Storytelling Awards later in the evening.

Get a complimentary Ticket

If you are a client-side marketer or insight professional, contact for a complimentary pass to the conference worth over £600.

dmexco-imageDMEXCO, Europe’s largest Digital Media conference, took place on Sep 14 & 15. The annual event sees advertisers, publishers and agencies from around the world descend on Köln, West Germany, to network, learn about the latest digital innovations, and drink plenty of Kölsch – the local Pilsener.

If you didn’t attend or did and want to share some knowledge with your team, here’s the lowdown on the key themes from this year’s event.

Consolidation, not innovation

Overall, there didn’t appear to be much in the way of innovation. Obviously big players like Facebook and Google aren’t going to release details of their next big move, but overall there was a discernible lack of new, exciting stuff.

The digital world is one in which there are many challenges and even more solutions. The exhibition was huge and it felt as though there were a lot of new players trying to play their hand in ‘digital’, ride the wave, and make a quick buck along the way. All of them seemed to offer one point solutions. This just adds to the challenges marketers face in digital and there was a feeling that the industry should be aiming for more consolidation, with fewer players offering a better rounded product.

Consolidation in the form of a better rounded solution, should make marketers’ lives easier after all our clients at Gain Theory tell us all the time that one of their pain points is having one business question but a multitude of answers and ways of getting to that answer. Connect with the customer? Try programmatic, one touch, beacon technology, attribution etc. The level of complexity doesn’t just come from the advertising world’s inherent need for shiny buzzwords. In most cases, it stems from the challenges posed by a disrupted consumer pathway, the data collected along the way and marketer’s needs to be at one with the elusive customer.

Despite the plethora of multiple solutions being offered to marketers,  it does feel as though agencies and publishers are trying hard to make it easier for advertisers, to cut complexity and to come up with digital standardisation.

Digital is everything

Across the conference, many were calling for the industry to stop treating digital as a separate entity. Paul Bulcke, CEO Nestle, asked, “What’s the point of a chief digital officer? Digital is everything- it’s like having a chief everything officer, or CEO.”

The discussions on digital ubiquity extended into many media and marketing channels. There was an instructive talk on the future of programmatic TV, featuring Jamie West from Sky and Rhys Noelke from Germany’s RTL, where it was argued that we’re only at chapter 1 of the great programmatic TV book, and the big developments were still to come. There was also a great session on the Outernet – or “when mobile devices meet outdoor advertising” – which looked at just how personalised outdoor advertising might become.


Stephen Allan, Chairman and CEO Mediacom, was asked what his most important trend was and replied, “Consumer trust. A trend we’re starting to see is more transparency with customers and giving them more choices.”

This comment reflected a lot of the chatter at the event and can be applied to industry as well as consumers. The next few months and even years could be interesting for marketers and their media and digital agencies in this regard.

New selling and marketing platforms

One of the biggest innovations was around new selling and marketing platforms. Mercedes and Amazon strode on stage to announce the successful launch of the Amazon Mercedes platform. The platform is available in key markets such as UK, USA, Japan and Germany and gives the consumer the power to play around with different designs, explore car types, and book a test drive. This is an automotive first, and fits with the Amazon aim of selling everything and anything.

Tasty, the Buzzfeed food channel, has had a phenomenal first year and demonstrated this in a presentation with Facebook. They are the world’s top food network, with more Facebook fans than the population of the UK (70m!). Their brand partnerships are especially strong, with many of their top videos being sponsored. Baileys Salted Caramel Milkshake, sponsored by Diageo, had 26.6m views and 372k shares. A recipe which used the Oyster 7 minute grill to cook a Jalepeno Popper Burger caused Amazon and Target to sell out of said product within a day. Compared to many branded content stories, these are a staggering success.

Germans love to party

At 18.29 on Wednesday, the conference was still awash with people. Various stalls had started to pour beers, wines, and Jägerbombs, and there was an increasing hum. Then came a loud countdown, followed by pumping house music (clearly this is an international conference, no Wagner, Kraftwerk or Techno). The Google party had started and others soon followed. Thursday was a noticeably quieter day.

Buzzword bingo

No self-respecting blog covering a digital media event would be complete without a few buzzwords. And DM EXCO didn’t disappoint. Here’s our run down:

  • Programmatic. Still the big one. Everything and everyone is programmatic.
  • Creativity. If robots are buying the media, do we still need human creativity? Short answer: yes.
  • Digital transformation. Why are businesses so much slower than consumers to adopt new media?
  • Point solutions. One problem, one solution, massive complexity.
  • Data. So ubiquitous as to become meaningless. Everyone at dmexco was dealing with data in some way.

To sum up, DMEXCO highlighted that whilst there are solutions aplenty in digital media, each heralding a new route to reach the consumer at the right time/place and vying for the marketers attention, it does pay to keep a close ear to the ground on some of the ground breaking examples of brands getting it right.

Hopefully the themes of consolidation and transparency will play out, giving us an easier, improved, and more cost-effective way of conducting their digital activity.

But there are still risks. We saw plenty of smaller companies who were clearly out to make a quick buck and with those it pays to have a good nose for bullshit bingo.

One thing we do know is that the best marketers are still those who are brave and agile enough to try new things and savvy enough to mitigate the risks.

Article originally published on

© Gain Theory 2016. All rights reserved.