​Digital has disrupted the consumer’s journey, changing everything from consumers’ behaviour and expectations to the customer journey. We live in a multi-screen world with ‘no-linear path’ (David Reed, MediaMath) where brands need to focus not just simply on targeting, but enriching the customer experience. With tech-savvy audiences ever more demanding and sceptical to the digital white noise, it’s not just a question of choice anymore but of how fast you can deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.

So, while it is clear that emerging tech has shifted our way of engaging, it still seems that a lot of brands are a step behind from tapping into the opportunity that tech brings in the advertising and marketing space.

The Next Generation Ad Tech MarTech conference brought together brands, publishers, agencies and tech vendors that have embraced innovation and are leading the disruption in these fields. Of course, all in the perfect setting - the Science Museum with its progressive exhibitions, from Google WebLabs to 3D - Printing the Future.

Main takeaways? Programmatic, mobile, core customer data and talent. Programmatic is here to stay, but we’ve yet to unlock its true potential. With budgets steadily growing in this direction, both from agencies and brands, we’re surely headed towards increased relevancy across channels, real-time optimisation and authentic engagement. “Programmatic – will underpin all media trading - it is only just getting started” (Martin Kelly, Infectious Media). Mobile is underserved as a channel, not only when it comes to targeting and content relevance but also measuring. We are more or less living in a “mobile first environment” (Nate Gosselin, Sharethrough) and core customer data is fundamental in the delivery of better ad experiences. ”Brands need to create a digital bridge to their customers and personalisation is critical” (Mark Ash, Teradata). The disruption is also reflected in the “new composition of digital skillsets” (James Webb, Propel). The challenge is to close the gap between people and technology, reflected in the ever more increased demand for roles such as Marketing Technologists, Creative Technologists or Growth Hackers.

Because, in the end, “meeting the customer where they are, not where you are” (David Reed, MediaMath) and succeeding in this increasingly disruptive industry means having the right talent that will win the fight for you.