Near sold-out OMR 2023 to focus on artificial intelligence
More than 70,000 delegates, over 800 speakers and 1,000 exhibitors and partners are expected at this year's Online Marketing Rockstars Festival (OMR) in Messe Hamburg's halls from May 9 to 10. All kinds of top-calibre speakers and artists will take to several stages. OMR is Europe's largest digital festival and is headed by Philipp Westermeyer, CEO. Hamburg News caught up with him in the run-up to the festival.
Hamburg News: Hey Philipp, the countdown is now on. How relaxed are you - on a scale from 1 to 10?
Philipp Westermeyer: 5! Everything is going great, I have a good team - and we are not organising the conference for the first time.
Hamburg News: Well, there's still room for improvement from five. Are all 70,000 tickets sold out?
Philipp: We expect to be sold out in the next few days. All the tickets for the Finance Forward Conference are gone.
Hamburg News: A whopping EUR 750 for a hotel room because everywhere is fully booked and there are hardly any refrigerators left to rent in all of Hamburg. Cool beer seems to be guaranteed at OMR. What else indicates that you are on the brink of OMR?
Philipp: A certain bass is palpable in the city - but that is perhaps my own perception. In any case, the number of my WhatsApp messages has skyrocketed to record levels.
Hamburg News: Macklemore, Jan Delay, Domiziana, Stella Bossi and others are likely to bring the stages to boiling point during OMR as well as 800 top-class speakers, including ex-tennis star and investor Serena Williams. What's your personal highlight?
Philipp: My personal highlights are the live concerts after the conference, when everything is over.
Hamburg News: Understandable. Everyone is eagerly awaiting your keynote speech. Have you got a spoiler for us…what's your topic this year?
Philipp: It's about winners and losers - who has made a splash in the digital and marketing scene and who has had a rough time. And it's about the trend towards short videos as reels and TikToks and how to supercharge brands. Artificial intelligence is the main topic at OMR.
Hamburg News: Surely you have an ace up your sleeve like a surprise or rocking humanoid robots perhaps?
Philipp (grins): Not that. Actually, I can't reveal anything yet...
Hamburg News: And if you do so anyway?
Philipp: The keyword is OpenAI (manufacturer of AI ChatGPT). We may have a well-known representative of OpenAI on stage after all.
Hamburg News: It remains exciting. This year, you are also bringing 12 Ukrainian start-ups on stage with Startup City Hamburg. Are you becoming even more international?
Philipp: More importantly, it's about closing ranks with start-ups from Ukraine. They have come up with really great business models.
Hamburg News: Thanks Philipp for taking the time for a short interview despite the five on your personal deep relaxation scale.
Interview by Karolin Köcher
Philipp Westermeyer works on festivals, podcasts, platforms, a book and a TV tower for events. His diversity is probably one of the reasons why OMR grew during the pandemic. Launched in 2011 by a small team during a digital marketing workshop and for a small target group, last year's OMR Festival attracted more than 70,000 visitors to Hamburg. The company has a workforce of 400 and earned over EUR 50 million in turnover in 2022. OMR is now aiming for even more growth
Philipp Westermeyer, 44, is the founder of Hamburg's Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR) festival. A native of Essen and of Hamburg by choice, he studied business administration and media management and was later Executive Assistant at Bertelsmann AG. Eventually, he became an entrepreneur and founded an online marketing agency, which was sold to Gruner+Jahr. Westermeyer later founded an advertising technology company and sold it to Zalando. As a sideline, he began establishing OMR as a conference and series of seminars.
Ukrainian start-ups taking part in OMR
Hamburg is backing 12 Ukrainian start-ups via the Startup City Hamburg platform this year. The start-ups will present their innovative business ideas at a joint booth during the OMR Expo to raise their visibility and give them even more opportunities to make contacts and network with potential investors among others.