Beyond the artisan coffees, the blazers and trainers, and the awe-inspiring booth experiences, there were some hard-hitting and hype-cycling discussions being had between digital marketers, brands, tech vendors, agencies and publishers at dmexco this week.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud was there in the thick of the action and here’s a roundup of what I saw as the major digital marketing trends to emerge from dmexco 2015. 

1. The Internet of Things Is No Longer a Hype-Curve Trend for Digital Marketing

In the Internet of Marketing Things keynote and many other sessions, we saw connected shoes, discussed how machines talk to machines, and pondered the transformational impact of virtual reality for marketers. Beyond just navel-gazing, though, marketers are now fully embracing the reality of IoT and how it impacts them. So much so that deeper conversations are being had about how to track, process, make sense of, and ultimately get value out of IoT data. Timely for Salesforce, with the announcement of Salesforce IoT Cloud this week.

2. The Conundrum of Measurement & Emerging Platforms

Perhaps one the hottest topics and a regular theme throughout the conference. On the one hand, the CMO’s place at the boardroom table is becoming increasingly valued (note Beth Comstock’s continued rise at GE), as they become armed with data, measurement and ROI. Yet the pace of change and rapid emergence of new social channels and platforms (Snapchat, group messaging and the like), which are gaining HUGE audiences in ZERO time, prove to be a conundrum for where to place their bets and budgets.

Knowing that the eyeballs are in these new channels but with little in the way of mature measurement and feedback on performance, do you invest and risk? How much? What indicates success? Heineken’s Søren Hagh talked about this in fascinating detail, indicating his approach is balanced risk and that very soon they will reach the tipping point of 50%+ in spend on digital. And Martin Sorrell hit the nail on the head from his 50,000 ft view, when he argued that measurement of digital as a whole is completely out of whack and needs to be revolutionised.

3. Mobile Can Be the Catalyst for Digital Transformation But Apps are Where It’s At

Digital Transformation is still, and will remain to be, a major topic for a few years to come. Rightly so, because as Jessica Federer from Bayer and Béatrice Guillaume-Grabisch from Nestlé both made clear – digital transformation is not just a pivot in the marketing department – it’s an organizational transformation that takes time and heavy-lifting particularly in such large enterprises. But, the spark for transformation has to come from somewhere. And Mahi de Silva from Opera Mediaworks rightly called it when he said that mobile marketing is often the catalyst for digital transformation, echoing our research in the State of Marketing Report 2015 with 71% of global marketers stating mobile is core to their business.

But the discussion goes further when we talk about mobile. Marketers are embracing the app revolution and all the richness of experience, performance, and measurability of apps that make them a marketer’s dream. Discussions in the mobile sessions at dmexco embarked on the complexity of building apps, but it couldn’t be easier today – take Brown-Forman as a great example of building amazing app experiences with ease.

4. Is Ad Blocking A Blocker for Marketers?

With iOS 9 coming out of beta to full release this week and ad blockers jumping to the top of the iOS App Store charts, this was bound to be a major topic. Will Millennials and Gen X&Y turn off ads forever? What do marketers, publishers and agencies have to do to circumvent this? Will it just push the industry to be better content creators, better creatives, better marketers? The general consensus is that marketers are so adept at riding the wave of change considering that the industry has changed more in the last 18 months than the last 50, that it won’t be the consumer that reverts back but rather the marketer that innovates. But this one will continue to run and run.

5. Is the Customer Journey Marketing? And is Marketing the Customer Journey?

At Salesforce, we believe that the marketing leaders and winners of the future will be those that embrace, connect, personalize and manage the customer journey beyond the realms of what is considered ‘marketing’ today. It’s why we built our Journey Builder solution. And It’s certainly a view shared by many of the speakers and peers at dmexco this year. With the advent of IoT, with the blend of sales, service and marketing, with more CMOs driving business and digital transformation today than ever-before, the customer journey and the ability to deliver experiences to customers that feel like they’re on a cohesive and connected journey is a big vision that every marketer should strive for.

Our State of Marketing Leadership Report with LinkedIn covers a lot of the ground on this topic of why senior marketers need to be customer journey officers.

6. We Want Precision, We Want Speed, We Want Results. And the Data isn’t Giving Us That. Yet

Jessica Federer from Bayer wants precision, speed and results. Rajeev Goel from Pubmatic said “data is like oil, we just need a refinery”. These two statements perhaps encapsulate most the challenge that marketers and CMOs face today. They’re overwhelmed by data, need to move faster to keep up with the pace of change and the innovation expected from marketing, and they need to show results with real business impact.  Combine that with understanding customer needs better, dealing with competition and growing profitable revenue, the complexity of the marketing role today is obvious. it’s why the Dmexco discussions are such a great way for us in the digital marketing industry to collectively help each other become better marketers.

We can’t wait for next year! In the meantime, for a more detailed insight into the latest digital marketing trends, I'd recommend grabbing a copy oif our State of Marketing Report which features the views of more than 5,000 global marketers.