By Marine Reynaud, Programme Director in Hotwire’s Digital Commerce team in London and speaker programme expert

The third edition of #VivaTechnology, organised in partnership with Les Echos, took place in Paris recently and saw an incredible uplift in the number of delegates attending (+47% vs 2017). The conference, presented as ‘the European CES’, has established itself as the destination for innovation across the EMEA region.

The event brought together some incredible headliners such as President Macron, who held the opening keynote and who promoted investment in the African start-ups ecosystem, and Mark Zuckerberg discussing tech giants’ responsibility, tech for good and the fight against bad.

The CMO forum was also a key session allowing leading marketers to address recent developments in their field.

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter&Gamble, listed the 3 main challenges that a CMO faces as being: the retail industry is under pressure, traditional media and TV is in decline, data and analytics is dominating the world. CMOs have to take control back by reinventing their roles. They must no longer be a project manager but a brand entrepreneur and adapt their partnerships. For example, having a closer relationship with agencies so that there are less touch points, and by reinventing media to focus on consumer engagement.

“Reinvent media, advertising, agency relationships and marketing to be a force for good and growth" Marc Pritchard

Unsurprisingly, GDPR was a recurring topic, discussed the very same day as the law was enforced (25th May). Alain Levy, CEO at Weborama, and Jean-Philippe Desbiolles, VP at IBM Watson Group presented it as a positive challenge to help consumers have more control over their data and an opportunity for brands to create a new relationship with users.

Voice and chatbots were also explored as a new channel to create a personalised experience. Already called V- commerce, voice is on the way to becoming a major sales channel via the smart assistants developed by Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Orange.

“Everybody wants to interact: voice is only one of the next steps to redefine the personal or the B2B user experience” Jérémy Bevan, Marketing VP at  Cisco