Biggest Trends We Spotted at DMEXO 2018: Attribution, CLV and CMO-CFO Relationships

October 22, 2018
• Author: Adrien



DMEXCO (Digital Marketing Expo and Conference) is a humongous event held in Cologne with a very friendly atmosphere. With more than 1,000 exhibitors and over 40,000 visitors, it is the single largest European conference about digital marketing, and the best place to learn about trends in for the upcoming year.


We were there to distill the trends for you and it all boils down to these four topics:


  1. Focus is shifting from customer acquisition to customer retention.
  2. Attribution is still an issue for most companies.
  3. As markets become saturated with highly competitive offerings, understanding and working with CLV is the new marketing gold rush.
  4. If organizations want to successfully develop in these directions they need to establish a great working relationship between their CMOs and CFOs.



Let’s consider our customer base

Aside from some discussions and stands, I also had a chance to visit a few seminars. One was so crowded, that there was no place to sit, even the floor was full.


The topic was the future of CRM. The direction that this process is going in is resonating throughout the whole community. It seems that the market is becoming saturated, firms have learned how to use their digital potential and have learned how to grow via the digital space. 


Most companies are far from having completely matured in this area, but the new challenge for everyone is already clear: anyone can acquire new customers, but retaining them is where it gets tough. According to the speaker, after the adoption of data management platforms, specialized customer data platforms will follow.


One way to deal with the complexities that will come from this is to create a new dedicated position – an Audience Manager. This is person who would have all the insights and their full focus would be managing current customers.


One area of expertise that this person would need would be micro moments. As competing services are often similar, decisions of consumers are then mostly based on the little things.



Last click is still an issue

Another seminar was about attribution. This topic has been with us for a few years now. There are a couple barriers: typically resource and knowledge based; that still hold firms back from a deeper understanding of their marketing mix.


Technology is closing the gap, yet 44% of marketers are still using the last-touch attribution approach. Companies are slowly learning how to deal with attribution. They've finally transferred from an era of clicks to an era of KPIs (ROAS, ROI, CPA, etc). However, yet another new era seems to be beginning where incremental sales, the best marketing mix, and lifetime value will become sources of competitive advantage.  


The crucial step on the path to the next era then is establishing strong and productive CMO-CFO relationships. Marketing is responsible for growth, finance is responsible for expenditures. One cannot exist without the other. The CMO should take on the responsibility of making his or her CFO fully acquainted with what is going on in the marketing team and why.


Learning to: speak in finance, make compromises in budgeting and to be fully accountable for results are just a few ways to lay the groundwork for a strong cooperative relationship. Now, it's certainly a tall order to fill, especially when you consider that you can't lose your creative side in the process.




Speaking of customer lifetime value: it seems like everybody is talking about it, yet not many folks really know how to use it – few companies are testing out CLV features, and industry wide consensus knowledge is still far from perfect. Apart from RFM analysis, which has become a commonplace practice by now, there is still quite a knowledge gap to bridge. The prevailing notion is that the first to fully master this area will get ahead in the market.


My last note is directed towards the exhibitors. Plenty of firms focusing on data and business intelligence were present, but every single one had a different approach. There were many variations, each focusing on different aspects of business: data and attribution which is analytics in combination with data that are sent back to the marketing platforms, or data at the detailed level of product analytics and so on.


I can imagine that companies wanting to start or level up their data analytics must get quite a headache choosing from all those vendors that differ just slightly in their offerings. The array of choices is truly exhaustive and just browsing through all the booths inevitably wears one down.


But, luckily we're here to help. Schedule a live one-on-one demo with one of our marketing experts!