June 15, 2020

Interview with Mark Kaslatter and Rainer Friedl: Emakina offers all solutions from a single source

Posted by Luc Malcorps

Combining creativity and technology with little known approaches in Austria

— Translation of the article by Georg Sander

This interview with Rainer Friedl and Mark Kaslatter, co-MD’s of Emakina CEE, appeared in the Austrian medium Medianet.
You can read it here in German. Georg Sander collected some interesting insights in the agency’s approach and mindset. And some answers on why companies looking to improve their digital marketing should talk to Emakina!

Like many success stories, this one started over lunch

Rainer Friedl and Mark Kaslatter, today’s Managing Directors of Emakina CEE, met in this classic way: “When I was at k.section and he was at diamond.dogs, we kept bumping into each other over and over”, Mark Kaslatter tells Medianet. “So we met over lunch and realized our two companies could create high added value in the market.”

So, one and one made three.
The strengths of both companies had to be combined – diamond.dogs for the agency side, k.section for the technological part. Since the beginning of last year, the two men for the management tandem of the company now called Emakina, and work on what they’re both about: ‘Empower your Relations’.

It is the right path to strengthen the relationship between Emakina’s clients and their customers, followed by more than 1,000 experts in 13 countries in the Emakina Group. And in Austria, Kaslatter and Friedl lead the way.

The mindset of every one of us counts

“Empower your Relations is not only
Emakina’s strategic orientation, it’s also
the mindset of every colleague in the company.”

The claim means that when working for your business clients, you primarily focus on taking communication and the relationship with their customers to a new level. And in this context, the strengths of both former companies can flourish.

“There are a number of ideally integrated instruments for serving customers digitally,” explains Rainer Friedl. “Besides a website, they include Customer Relationship Management, e-commerce shops, mobile apps, marketing automation systems, social media monitoring, and more. Building and connecting these systems is our strength, and only by creating all the connections our customers receive a complete and holistic view on their customers.”

Rainer Friedl: ‘The customer is always at the centre of our attention’

It’s very clear: At Emakina, agency services
and technology solutions come from one source.

This can be described by the customer journey: a customer develops the idea of a need, researches information, asks for offers, makes a decision, makes a purchase, and comes back for more.

Emakina has developed services and solutions for all steps in this journey, based on the most innovative technologies. As Rainer Friedl explains: “We don’t just make a website or a CRM. We want to answer the question what added value the customer achieves by combining all solutions. And what the most efficient tools are for each specific end customer.”

Added value is worth more

A website integrated in a CRM system and an automated marketing suite – that’s what adds value. E-commerce, apps, digital marketing and social media complete the picture.

All services are externally oriented; the focus is not on costs, but on potential. “With us, the customer is always at the centre of our attention,” says Friedl. “There is a single view of each client, instead of one from the web, one from the POS, and another from sales.

There is no room for silo thinking.

“We understand customers holistically and serve them. The processes have to be integrated and that is only logical if you observe our daily life. Something is bought online, then physically returned. Until now, this has been separated far too often.”

“Important when choosing a partner is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time,” Kaslatter explains. “This gives a much higher level of security of your investment, more stability. When solutions for different customers are developed on the basis of well-established tools, our experience as a service provider grows, and success rates of projects increase.”

Mark Kaslatter: ‘We have the best product and can guarantee the date we go live.’

Emakina wants to work with partners on a long-term basis.

This is confirmed in the agency’s partnerships with technology market leaders like Microsoft and Salesforce, but also to challengers like Kentico, and rising stars like Bynder and inRiver.

“A small technology provider can never react as quickly to innovation waves as a large player: When innovations are implemented, we are the first to be able to deploy them for our customers; AI and Machine Learning are an example of this.”

Why do companies choose for Emakina and a tailored version of a standard product? Kaslatter answers with a customer quote: “We have the best product and can guarantee the date we go live.”

But how exactly does the company manage to achieve this positive result?

Among other things, “co-creation” is part of the answer. The process is the classical series of steps, from pitch to development, presentation, adapting and finalizing the project.

Co-Creation is a concept developed in the group
and adapted to our context in Austria.

In development, we work intensively and closely with the customers. It’s a process that takes about six weeks.It begins with understanding: Emakina analyses the company and its business model. The team works to understand the customer and its end users, how they perceive the client, the real strengths, and the ones the client believes? This exercise clarifies what added value can be created for the end customer. In this process, the team asks critical questions and discovers fantastic things, which often remained hidden by operational blindness. The next step is a design sprint.

The value of design sprints

A design sprint is about incorporating the full potential and all the ideas of the company.

These elements are shared, moderated, and further developed. Feasibility checks follow, and Emakina critically scrutinized everything. All key departments in the company are involved – from marketing and sales to POS when necessary. Within a week, a prototype is ready. It has already been tested with real customers and optimized with their feedback.

“At the end of each design sprint, every participant
knows exactly how we came to the result,
and every decision is justified and comprehensible.”

“Nothing is delivered to the company from outside, we really develop something new together with the client.” The feedback from customers confirms that this form of collaboration is the right one.

The prototype is transformed into a complete design, while in parallel the technical architecture and strategy are developed with the customer. The whole process is based on decades of experience in the business: “We don’t stop with the creative work; we ask ourselves what data and process flows are needed to achieve the perfect implementation. Creation, design, usability, then technical solutions from a single source – this way of working creates added value,” adds Kaslatter.

On top of this comes scalability, mutual trust and the prototype.

“This is the essential difference with a classic pitch, where you get a briefing, have three or four touch points with the customer and then present a solution. That approach can go well or not. Our method is flexible, and not every project has to take six weeks. Our approach remains similar, depending on the size of the project.”

Applied?

This approach works in a wide variety of industries.
For example with the retailer Kastner & Öhler. “The premium fashion house and sports specialist Gigasport is a traditional family business; in recent years, we realized various projects. CRM, for example: As the central and only source for all customer data, the solution is the hub for customer service, analysis and, of course, personalized marketing.”

“We know a lot about the customer because of our loyalty program, the PlusCard. We know preferences, interests and purchasing behavior, and from this we derive pinpoint digital marketing actions. The combination of on- and offline allow us to apply analytical tools with precision, resulting in a significant improvement of service at the POS and online.”

In a completely different industry, Emakina works together with the Vienna Tourist Board. “In the B2B sector, they wanted to understand the journey for the journalists writing about Vienna. A clipping engine examines how they behave. This valuable information is then used to improve the relationship.”

Customer loyalty is a big issue in the retail sector: last year, a new loyalty campaign was conducted for Rewe in their digital channels.

“For Brau Union the team developed a comprehensive ordering system for domestic customers across Austria. This system not only allows ordering or confirming sales. Digital asset management is also used to update the image material for logo relaunches.”

#Done

You can clearly tell that ‘Empower your relations’ is not just a slogan, it is implemented. The hashtag of the agency confirms this idea:  #Done is the claim that indicates that something has been delivered to the satisfaction of all involved.

“It’s in our DNA – we get things done.
When a customer starts to work with us,
we go on this journey together.”

“At Emakina, there is no room for ‘It can’t be done’,” concludes Kaslatter.
“We do what it takes, and we do it successfully. Together we find the right digitalization strategy for each company. Co-creation workshops are a very good start, especially design sprints deliver fast, tangible results. This way, end customer relations become the true focus.”

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