Dmexco Recap: With Voice Activation, Brands Need To Listen More, Talk Less

For marketers, voice activation must find ways to add value to -- as opposed to interrupt -- the consumer experience, says Retale's Efrain Rosario.

“Digital transformation” is always the over-arching theme at the annual DMEXCO ad tech conference in Germany. And this year, the specific ideas discussed at the two-day event revolved around the role of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, voice activation, and other mobile-centric, connected-device concepts.

Retale’s Chief Customer Officer Efrain Rosario was among the over 50,000 attendees at the Cologne conference and he offered his takeaway from what he saw and heard:

Voice activation: With regards to voice, it was mentioned in several sessions – it’s the most natural, most tribalistic mode of communication.  In their session (The Now Frontier:  Do or Die?  Technologies for Marketing Right Now), Dominique Delfort (MD of Havas) and Michael Kassan (CEO, Medialink) asked attendees if they’re ready for Alexa to not only remind them to buy detergent, but to also recommend which brand, size, package they should buy.

In shopper-speak, mobile-by-voice will begin to play more a prominent role across the entire shopper journey, helping shoppers not just in product discovery and planning, but also getting closer to the zero moment of truth – the (virtual) shelf – and influencing brand choice.

That being said, I would cite one caveat:  to work, mobile-by-voice must remain organic – non-intrusive, adding value (instead of diminishing it through inconvenience) for the shopper.  Although it sounds counter-intuitive, “talk less, listen more.”

Waking Up To Transparency: The most relevant session was with Marc Pritchard from Procter & Gamble, as he shared his “wake up call” to the industry and 3-point plan (media transparency, mass one-to-one marketing, advertising for good and for growth). Truly inspirational, as well as encouraging to see that we’re already on the right path around media transparency.

Trust Fail: Overall, a common theme across most of the sessions I saw was on rebuilding consumer trust, and demonstrating the value of advertising as a force for good. Brands’ reputations are on the line, as this, not the heavy potential for fines, are what worries brand owners as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) looms in ’18.

I can draw a linear connection between trust and ultimately brand love – trust is the foundation to rebuilding relationships, as noted by the Managing Director of Havas. The question then becomes, how can brands utilize marketing, technology, and data to remain meaningful in their consumers’ shopper lives? Standing for something (e.g., gender equality for P&G, demonstrating value (and transparency, not just to clients, but shoppers) to how you use their data (to obtain consent), and utilizing more organic (i.e., non-intrusive, natural instead of forced —> pull vs. push) marketing tactics are a good start.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.