It’s that time of year again when anyone and everyone with any interest in digital marketing descends on Cologne, Germany to visit Dmexco.
The conference attracts more brands, agencies, media and tech players from the industry than any other trade show – in 2017 there were 40,700 visitors from 100+ countries. It can all get a bit daunting, especially if it’s your first visit. Balancing your time between meeting new clients, putting faces to names of old ones and, of course, increasing your understanding of the industry can all get a bit too much.
Adyoulike has had a presence at the conference for several years now, meaning we know all the ins and outs, dos and don'ts and tricks of the trade, so you can leave with a number of potential leads and new ideas, as well as a (small) hangover.
Plan before you go
There really is nothing worse than roaming around the whole conference, hoping that you’ll end up bumping into somebody that you know. That’s why it’s a good idea to book your meetings in advance – after all, the more organised you are, the more you’ll get out of it.
Meetings tend to be scheduled in 30-minute blocks, so it is important to do your prep beforehand. Don’t forget to factor in the time to go to and from each meeting; the halls are huge and getting around tends to be a bit like trying to navigate Glastonbury music festival.
A good place to start is on social media. A number of companies will put out feelers for meetings during the lead up to the conference on LinkedIn or their website, giving you the perfect opportunity to get something in the diary nice and early. An option if you are unsure about your surroundings is to set up shop at or near a big stand in a particular area, where it is easier to be found or meet up.
Starting the day
No matter where you are travelling from you are more than likely to bump into fellow ad-tech guys on your route to the conference venue, so this is the perfect time to start networking and interacting with fellow professionals. If you happen to have some spare time on your hands, then your journey in can be a great way to practice and hone your elevator pitch: you will need it! Also, don’t forget to eat well, there’s a good chance that your day could start bright and early, but run all the way through to the following morning – so be ready for a long day.
Managing your evening
As with any media event, there will be plenty of dinners and drink parties taking place during the evening, so you won’t be short of choice. However, the official Dmexco party, taking place at the Wolkenburg in the city centre of Colgone, is a great place to party with other guests and start expanding your network. Also, don’t forget to take some Aspirin and a pint of water before bed, your body will thank you for it the next day!
Your second day
Obviously, it goes without saying to try and avoid pencilling in any early meetings on the second day if you are going to be heading out. However, if you can’t avoid it, make sure you still turn up and put a brave face on – don’t worry though, there’ll be a lot of people in the same boat! The conference itself tends to start grinding to a halt in the middle of the day, so if you have any really important meetings, make sure you schedule them for the first day. Once you’re on your way home get chasing up your leads, adding people on LinkedIn is a great way to ensure you don’t forget anyone important.
Food and drink
The event itself is held at Koelnmesse GmbH and is located just a few minutes-walk away from the nearest train station (Koln Messe) and near plenty of restaurants and bars.
Walk out of the south entrance of the venue and head north and you will find Glashaus restaurant and Mongo’s, as well as numerous other cafes and bars.
If you fancy travelling a little further then head over the River Rhine into the heart of Cologne and you will find plenty to do – there’s plenty of clubs, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions if you have time to spare.
Dale Lovell is co-founder of Adyoulike