Jan Biedermann – the former marketing force behind Stadtkultur und Kommunikation Feldkirch GmbH – is one of the most vocal, hands on customers we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
Stadtkultur und Kommunikation itself, is the city of Feldkirch’s leading marketing organization that also runs Austria’s renowned Art & Cultural Center, Montforthaus Feldkirch.
Together, they’re a dynamic duo.
When we approached Jan a short while ago curious about the year and a half he spent with the Center and their successful roll out of Mediatool, it came as no surprise that he’d offer us a bevy of helpful insights and feedback.
Whether you’re shopping for software solutions to streamline your business processes or you’re already committed to Mediatool, Jan’s insights are worth the read.
MT: Jan, tell us a bit about your professional background – where were you before you headed to Stadtkultur und Kommunikation Feldkirch?
JB: I’m from East Berlin originally and during the 90s and 2000s I was actually very active in Berlin’s creative Techno, House and Electronic Club Music scene. “I suppose I’ve always had a burning desire to be involved in the Arts! Back then I’d started my career as a graphic designer and quickly moved into web and digital design. After I earned my BA and MA in Integrated Communications Management I completed a postgraduate study in Austria in Media Economics with a focus on social media. As a road cycling enthusiast, I transitioned into the bicycle industry as an integrated marketing and brand manager for some of the top cycling brands in Europe and Asia.
Then 2017 hit and I found out that Montforthaus Feldkirch GmbH wanted someone to help implement a new content strategy and set up a department to operate like a newsroom. The timing was perfect as I was looking for a new challenge and my Swiss partner and I had wanted to settle down in that area of Austria to raise our young daughter.
MT: How kismet! Wonderful when a plan comes together so fluidly. Now, for those reading who aren’t familiar with Stadtkultur und Kommunikation and Montforthaus Feldkirch, can you give us a bird’s eye view?
JB: The organization is actually an offshoot of the City of Feldkirch. It started as a small tourism and destination marketing company but we knew it’s potential far exceeded that. We’ve now developed Stadtkultur und Kommunikation Feldkirch GmbH into one of the leading businesses for arts, culture, events and music as well as urban-and-social development and business development initiatives in our city. Our portfolio of activities encompasses a variety of venues and locations; the Art, Congress and Cultural Center, Montforthaus Feldkirch, is just one of them.
In short, the organization’s vision is this: to create “A Great Life in Feldkirch” with a mission to actively engage in and promote the lifestyle of Feldkirch’s inhabitants and visitors. Because the Feldkirch lifestyle is one that deserves to be told with compelling narrative and commentary, the organization has become a content provider (to the media for example). As such, the need for a content strategy is clear. And that’s why I came on board as the Head of Content at the start of 2018.
MT: Managing content is no easy feat. We know that. What kind of issues have you experienced in past positions where content hadn’t been managed effectively?
JB: In past positions, I’ve found the usual suspects when it comes to integrated communications management and let me just say, the first issue is that overloaded, day-to-day operations have restricted many businesses from effectively planning their content for decades! As a result, media plans have become direct reflections of disorganized processes with failed communication activities rather than helpful, strategically integrated efforts.
Secondly, when I’ve asked for media planning information in the past, my respective teams have presented me with an overwhelming mix of inconsistent and unreliable information through a variety of channels – email, meetings and personal notes, media booking confirmations, invoices, different versions of Excel sheets, the list really does go on. I imagine most everyone reading this is familiar with these dilemmas. Needless to say, upon recognizing these inefficiencies, I find that many of our first reactions are: “OMG, let’s get away from that!” And that would be an understandable response – trust me! For me though, coming to the art center, I recognized certain inefficiencies and decided: “This is ok for now, but how about we steer ourselves away from this unproductive trajectory rather soon?”
MT: You’re preaching to the choir! Inefficient media planning is the cry heard round the industry and it’s why we created Mediatool. Can you share with us how using Mediatool has alleviated some of those past issues?
JB: It’s as simple as this: To get ourselves moving away from disorganization we went looking for a service that would provide full, intuitive, and easy-to-use access to all of our media data. We were looking for a software that would let us plan, analyze and manage our media plans and data, anywhere, at any time. I’m neither a technocrat nor a technology pessimist but the momentum of the marketing industry is such that we must adopt a change of mind. Planning, analysis and total content control is now a necessary part of a business’s daily management. I knew we’d need our software to cater to me and my team, where we were. It had to be accessible, and our search led us to Mediatool.
MT: And how has your overall content planning process been optimized with Mediatool?
JB: Changing from a destination marketing organization to a content provider has been our organization’s biggest change since it was founded nearly 20 years ago. We are moving away from an almost entirely advertiser approach towards an integrated content mindset. When we started with Mediatool a year ago we lacked reliable records of data of our overall communication activities. Thus, a lot of our analysis has been measuring performance from scratch. Mediatool has done a great job of laying out that performance in a visual and easy-to-understand format. As a result, in Q3 we are building on the analysis of our content and ramping up our communications planning for 2020. Mediatool has already helped us a lot with implementing an integrated content and communications management approach.
MT: Is your team saving much time by using Mediatool?
JB: I’d get suspicious if we were not already saving time using it! We’ve been spending as much time as is necessary implementing Mediatool to help improve our strategic processes. We’re building the future of our business now by setting up new processes, collecting data, analyzing it, etc. That deserves time. We’re very confident that the benefits of Mediatool will scale as we collect data from our operations over time. Amount of time-saved aside, there’s no denying that Mediatool is optimizing our processes.
MT: We’re glad to hear it. Can you tell us a bit about your favorite Mediatool features for content planning and organizing campaigns with influencers?
JB: Content needs to be unique to each media channel yet also consistent and cohesive across channels. Being able to plan for those messages to be communicated in the right forms and in the appropriate timeline is imperative. For example, when you’re talking about managing huge and diverse amounts of data, the Search and Filter functions in the Calendar View of the tool guarantee direct access to media data for our specific needs. This alone is worth a lot. Another benefit of reviewing our timelines in the Calendar View is that questions like the following are answered with ease:
What are we doing here?
A third – and quite simple but very effective feature – is that Mediatool is a web-based SaaS that I can access anytime, anywhere via different devices. All of these features optimize integrated planning and are at the core of Mediatool. And for that reason, they’re my most favorite.
MT: We’re so glad you’ve been enjoying Mediatool so far.
JB: Oh, we have been! In fact, I’ll tell you a little story. As I mentioned, I’d wanted to enlist the aid of Mediatool very early on in my time with this company. The need was so obvious to me. But, understandably I had to hold back from implementing the software too soon as employees were already experiencing significant change and I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone. But come May 2018, we signed up with Mediatool and have been happily using it since. In that time, I’ve delved into the tool and discovered that it’s intuitive to the point that I often find myself calling it our “Media God” to other people. Its ability to offer immediate insights for all of our media operations has been invaluable. Let me put it this way, during the beginning stages of using Mediatool, a long-term employee of our organization – and one of our media managers who’d been using the tool – looked at me, smiled, and said: “Jan, it’s so good! I can see a bright future for us now!” We both laughed optimistically.
Many thanks to Jan Biedermann and Stadtkultur und Kommunikation Feldkirch GmbH for offering their time and insight.
If you’re not already using Mediatool but would like a chance to see what it could do for you, your business, or client, schedule a free demo and we’ll happily show you.