By Aiko Müller
15. Januar 2021

Masterplan media uses MMT Mercury as central planning tool

Masterplan media uses MMT Mercury as central planning tool

Hamburg-based media agency masterplan media develops customized, holistic, effective, and efficient media and communication solutions in the digital age. From strategy development to advertising impact research - masterplan thinks in terms of digital, analog, and everything in between. The agency is a pioneer for advertisers and their brands in an increasingly complex communications landscape and stands for the seamless transformation of media expertise into omni-channel marketing and communications strategies. The company’s focus is always on advertising impact measuring that impact - no campaign is run without proof of impact!

The agency has relied on MMT Mercury since 2015. Thanks to the ongoing advancement of the media management platform, Mercury serves as the agency's central planning tool.

Carsten Riemann-Kafsack, Managing Director at masterplan media, works with Mercury on a daily basis. For him, having a holistic view of the customer journey is at the heart of every strategy and consultation.

Processing large amounts of data and running the initial interpretation is one of Carsten’s key activities, but also one that should ideally not fill the main part of his day. 

"The engine room runs thanks to Mercury. This allows us to take care of crucial topics strategically and conceptually, including holistic optimization of touchpoints, smart use of data and even new topics."

Carsten Riemann-Kafsack
Managing Director, masterplan media

Aiko Müller in interview with Carsten Riemann-Kafsack from masterplan media:

Carsten, masterplan media has been using Mercury since the very beginning. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for relying on us and going with us on the journey to data-driven media planning. Today, we want to provide some insight into your collaboration with us and our tool MMT Mercury. Let's start with you. What makes your work stand out? What is your vision for future marketing communications?

My vision, or rather our vision at masterplan, is to develop holistic, high-impact communications for individual customer goals. At the same time, this communication should really help the customer instead of annoying them by providing maximum relevance. All of our master planners have internalized this vision and incorporate it into their daily work.

The decisive factor here is looking at and analyzing the entire customer journey and its impact on the ultimate goal. We are dealing here with a highly complex interplay of diverse channels, measures, KPIs and impact contributions, all of which need to lead to a clear recommendation at the end.

In this context, we not only focus on digital channels and how to best measure them, we also look at offline channels as well as sales channels, which in some cases have a significantly higher impact on customer success than a purely online view.

2020 has brought many new challenges to the advertising industry in addition to rapidly advancing digitalization. What is your assessment of the current market situation?

We find that optimism is on the rise, even though the situation could revert to uncertain or even difficult once again in 2021. Who is going to manage to regain their footing after post-Covid-19 and who won’t? By the end of 2020, many advertisers will have again invested more intensively in communications. One thing is certain: it’s better to maintain the level you have achieved (e.g. brand awareness) than to have to rebuild it later.

At masterplan we are looking ahead to 2021 with confidence. None of our customers are active in sectors that have been hit by the crisis. Thanks to our strict orientation, we have even been able to acquire new customers in recent months and weeks. And things are looking up for us in terms of personnel, too, so all is well.

Where do you see the trends in 2021?

Definitely topics to which we are currently attaching great importance like being able to measure and optimize the entire customer journey - from online to offline sales, from media to creation and from strategy to optimization.

Not a new topic, but no less relevant, is the intensive advance of digitization, which has received an extra push with the crisis. Here we are very well positioned with our agency services and our digital DNA and can offer our customers effective measures.

We, too, are focusing on advancing digitization through our agile IT structure and digital work processes. "New work" is already "old hat" for us.

The communications landscape continues to become more complex with the digital transformation. What challenges is masterplan facing and how are you addressing them?

Time is probably the biggest challenge in terms of increasing complexity. Complex issues require a certain amount of time to be addressed and dealt with. So, we take the complexity out of the basics, like reporting and detailed planning. That’s where Mercury helps us. We invest the time we save in consulting and holistic optimization of relevant touchpoints. In other words, in areas where we really see a significant increase in impact.

How were you working before you started using Mercury, and what prompted you to look for a media management platform?

We were working, as many still do today, primarily with Excel. As I mentioned before, we decided to start working with a media management platform to reduce complexity and because of increased security in data and processes. 

What were your requirements for a media management platform, and what would you advise other agencies to look for in terms of features/performance?

The most important criteria are data security, flexible connectivity to other tools and systems, a direct line to a contact person who brings expertise and has a vision. The same applies to a willingness to continue to optimize and keep up with the times. We give this advice to other agencies as well. 

Mercury optimizes the entire campaign process from strategic planning to reporting. It allows all peripheral technical systems to be securely connected via a unique ID system. Data is better aggregated and visualized so it can be worked with optimally. How are you using Mercury? 

The tool is a relevant node throughout our data warehouse. We use it to plan and report on campaigns and get digital approvals from clients, and we have connected our accounting systems to Mercury. 

A smooth implementation process is close to our hearts. We know how important it is to get all stakeholders on board so that we can make using the tool successful from the start. What was the implementation process like for you?

The in-house implementation of Mercury itself went smoothly. When it comes to connecting other partners, like ad server service providers or, even more difficult, large US GAFAs, you have to rely on the support of those partners. On this side, there is certainly still some need for clarification regarding the tool and its advantages. 

"MMT Mercury is the central tool in which all campaigns and measures are mapped with, and this is probably the most important point – their true ACTUAL status"

Carsten Riemann-Kafsack
Managing Director, masterplan media

What does your day-to-day work with Mercury look like?

We open Mercury when we get up and close it when we go to bed. It is the central tool in which all campaigns and measures are mapped with, and this is probably the most important point - their true ACTUAL status. 

Thanks to comprehensive rights management, everyone involved always has exactly the information they need about the campaign at a glance. How do you work with your customers and other partners? How does Mercury help you with collaboration?

Mercury is an important interface towards technology and creation, because our booking and production schedules are created centrally via Mercury.

It is also our interface to the customer, because as I mentioned earlier, this is where plans and reporting are located. Our customers get their own access and are able to give approvals digitally. 

Of course, Mercury is also the central tool that we use internally for all of our jobs from campaign implementation to agency management.

Can you quantify your success? How much time do you save by reducing manual tasks? How has your error rate dropped, or how often do errors still occur? Have you been able to reduce costs? 

The advantages are hard to express in hard numbers. However, if you just add up not having to search for final media plans or constantly checking and readjusting reports, working with Mercury saves us a lot of time. And along with that, it also significantly reduces frustration levels since it only takes a few clicks to find what you are looking for. 

What do you do with the time you save?

We use the time we save to advise our customers and other fun activities like continuing education.

Do you let your customers know that you use Mercury? Has Mercury improved your collaboration and do customers see the benefits Mercury brings, like faster reporting capabilities?

Of course, we rely on completely transparent communication. At the moment, our reporting for customers is still based on Excel and PowerPoint. We are currently in the process of accessing the advantages of the online dashboard.

How do you rate our support? What has been your experience?

Most of the topics are self-explanatory and can be solved by ourselves. So the good thing about support is that you don't actually need it ☺.

But if it is needed, it is there and you get help directly and quickly. 

Finally, a question about your current situation. Have you found it easy to change the way you work from home, and to what extent has working with Mercury been able to help there?

The switch to remote working was quite easy for us, as we had already changed everything about our IT structure beforehand. So our processes didn't change much, they were actually accelerated. Tools like Mercury and other project management tools are a tremendous help when it comes to getting organized and keeping track of things even outside the office.

Carsten, thank you for taking the time to give our readers some insight into your exciting work at masterplan. We look forward to many more successful years of collaboration.

We hope that the interview with Carsten Riemann-Kafsack has given you some insight into the way Mercury Media Technology works. Perhaps you found yourself remined of certain aspects within your own company. Feel free to contact me to set up a personal meeting to discuss your individual challenges and learn where we can support you with MMT Mercury, our leading media management platform.

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