CIM: You are currently organising #Impulse18 and #DPK18, which take place in October in Leipzig. What is your task as Experiential Marketing Lead? Margit Zöller: Digitisation has enabled IT to jump its boundaries and enter more and more areas of daily life. It now offers possibilities that were undreamt of 20 years ago. This is more than an evolution – it‘s a real culture change. My team has the task to get people excited about digitisation with unique experiences and events enabling them to live and “feel” it – both in a physical and emotional sense. We will achieve this with #DPK18 and the newly integrated format of #Impulse18.
What are the focal themes of the two events?
The common theme is “The New Intelligence”. The digital transformation can add value to good ideas – or even open up entirely new avenues. What we want to show is the interaction between modern technology and the creative and inventive human mind. At #DPK18 we will explore the topic from an industry viewpoint, focusing on technology and business strategies. #Impulse18 targets the decision-makers of the German business world across all sectors and functions. We will use practical examples to demonstrate what digitisation and AI mean. Our goal is to develop new ideas together and to talk about them.
Where do events rank in Microsoft Germany’s marketing portfolio?
Microsoft generates most of its revenues through partners, not through direct sales. We would not be able to provide such a wide range of solutions, services and specific industry knowledge on our own. That is why #DPK18 is our most important event in Germany: This is where we can communicate intensively with our partners for two days. This is where our partners get to know the people behind the Microsoft logo, ask questions and make suggestions. At the same time they learn everything that could be important over the next twelve months. And now we want to apply this successful model to business decision-makers with #Impulse18. Digitisation calls for a broader discussion platform and more interdisciplinary communication – and we want to provide a space for that.
What are you doing to make the topic a real experience?
As it is part of all sessions and the Experience World, it is omnipresent. But above all we are introducing a completely new way to network with our conference app. We have added a new intelligent logic to the functions of our existing DPK app. It allows free information from the public domain to be incorporated into networking suggestions. So attendees can be matched more precisely and successfully. In addition, we provide attendees with in Teilnehmer angezeigt werden, der interessante Lösungen bereits implementiert hat. Damit bieten wir eine ganz neue Qualität des Netzwerkens. An #DPK18 und #Impulse18 teilzunehmen, soll sich noch mehr lohnen.
What kind of role do algorithms play – behind the scenes or during implementation, for example in the app?
In some cases their role is a central one, especially in the DPK app. There we use the existing logic of a finance app, which analyses and evaluates lots of information in real time to produce up-todate and reliable forecasts. We have updated it and applied it to matchmaking. The algorithm is fed with information provided by our attendees: personal particulars, interests and products and services of their own companies. This is enriched by further data that is freely available on the web such as on LinkedIn. Hence, attendees can be shown links from their personal network. For this purpose the app suggests new contacts. And it can show a match with a previously unknown attendee who has already implemented interesting solutions. This is a completely new quality of networking that we are offering here. Taking part in #DPK18 and #Impulse18 will now be even more rewarding.
Do you believe that your guests’ needs have changed?
Nowadays you can get all kinds of information online. So anything you cannot achieve or can only achieve with a great effort online, has become more important. Establishing the right business contacts is one of those things. The app is to help use this time as effectively as possible. Two further changes have also been triggered by digitisation: Individual products or services are not so interesting anymore, there is a demand for holistic solutions for everyday issues. That’s why we already started organising theme areas in 2017. One of them provided a multi-faceted “Modern Workplaces” experience. Moreover, the boundaries between partners and customers are blurring: partners can also be customers and customers partners.
What trends will influence how you plan in the future – how we will meet at #Impulse28?
I firmly believe that there will still be events where people meet each other face-to-face. But, of course, digitisation has also triggered a transformation in this area. Virtual trade fairs are gaining importance thanks to more advanced technology. The best choice for a specific occasion depends on many factors. There is the time and costs for the participants, the question of mobility, which is becoming more and more important: How will we travel in future? In my opinion we will still be able to meet at #Impulse28, but we will also find a lot of virtual features there alongside the physical ones. #Impulse28 will not only target German companies. Global solutions will become more important. Therefore I am expecting guests from all over the world – be it in person or virtual. The prospects are exciting!
Thank you very much for the interview, Mrs. Zöller!
Margit Zöller, a genuine Munich “kindl”, mother of two sons, with a passion for everything that has to do with inspiring and winning people for the future. After education and politics she is now breaking new ground in event and trade fair management for the ITC sector. Initially responsible for Germany’s biggest networking fair, she took over the event team of the internal Microsoft agency in 2008. Since 2013 she has been project lead for partner events, and since 2017 Experiential Marketing Team Lead for all focus events.