Client insights

How pilot, ranked the number 1 media agency in 2019, works

As one of the largest owner-run media agencies in Germany, pilot has always ranked among the country’s industry leaders. Over 400 media experts work at the company’s six locations to create and implement effective communication concepts. pilot is aware that the media landscape is always changing and becoming increasingly dynamic, digital and fragmented. With “moving into the future today” as their core principle, pilot implements campaigns that give its clients a significant advantage in today’s ever changing market.
We are thrilled to be able to help them on their way to success as their long-term partner. Our clients use our platform to manage campaigns worth hundreds of millions of euros.

Martin Mittelstädt, media expert, innovator and Director of Media Operations Consulting, joined pilot in 2014 and has been working with the Mercury media management platform for over four years.
Denis Scollie, TwentyFive.
Martin Mittelstädt, Director Media Operations Consulting
pilot

Agencies that don´t use a media management platform have to deal with a long list of problems.

Martin Mittelstädt, Director Media Operations Consulting, pilot
Gunnar Neumann:
Martin, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Getting insight into how one of Germany’s best and most innovative media agencies works is very exciting for our readers. But let’s start with you. You’re the Director of Media Operations Consulting at pilot. What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Martin Mittelstädt:
As Director of Media Operations, I’m responsible for the entire process involved in running digital campaigns. I support our teams when they have questions or are facing challenges. We focus on optimizing processes in order to counter the increasing pressure to manage costs, in part through efficient implementation. I also help prepare pitches and work on other client projects.
Gunnar Neumann:
Many media agencies are still working with excel-based macros. pilot moved away from this approach as early as 2016 by introducing Mercury. What do you think are the major challenges faced by agencies that have not yet made the switch when it comes to staying relevant in today’s increasingly dynamic media landscape?
Martin Mittelstädt:
It’s true, at pilot we used to use excel-based macros to create media plans. We would manually compile campaign results, analytics and benchmark lists. That took a lot of time and was extremely prone to error. Agencies that don’t use a media management platform like Mercury have to deal with a long list of problems:
  1. Editing media plans with the risk of not being able to clearly identify which version is the most up to date
  2. Access to media plans via VPN only, which makes working from home difficult
  3. Not having a way to create revision logs
  4. Running and evaluating analytics takes a lot of time
  5. Multiple users cannot edit a document at the same time
  6. Slow document access and loading times
  7. Files are hard to find, sometimes requiring time-consuming searches of the file server
Gunnar Neumann:
Sounds like you spent a lot of time on administrative issues.
Martin Mittelstädt:
That’s right. In general, we and the industry have relied too much on manual workflows. That takes up valuable time and can also lead to mistakes, which is only human. Agencies work with large media budgets and want to deliver high-quality service to their clients. At pilot, that’s our top priority! And Mercury helps us achieve that goal. 
Gunnar Neumann:
What did you need your media management platform to be able to do at pilot? And what features should other agencies look for?
Martin Mittelstädt:
First of all, the platform should address the workflow weaknesses we have already discussed. We also needed the platform to be browser-based and to provide secure access from anywhere. It’s important that our staff can work from home or when they are visiting a client without having to make any compromises. In general, we were hoping to become more efficient by automizing some of our workflows. That is definitely a goal that all agencies should pursue.

Our staff were able to use Mercury within just two weeks.

Martin Mittelstädt, Director Media Operations Consulting, pilot
Gunnar Neumann:
In other words, you wanted to establish a future-oriented media workflow in line with your principle “moving into the future today.” How did implementation go?
Martin Mittelstädt:
Implementation was very smooth and fast. Our staff were able to use the platform within just two weeks. With the MVP approach, we didn’t initially have all of the features that we at pilot specifically need, but we were still able to respond agilely to meet new demands. Thanks to internal training courses, good customer support and a knowledge base integrated into the tool, it was very easy to onboard new staff. 
Gunnar Neumann:
That’s great! Moving on to what is certainly most exciting for our readers: What does your workday look like now that you’ve implemented Mercury?
Martin Mittelstädt:
Most of the weaknesses that our previous system had have now been addressed. Mercury has been able to meet our requirements. I use Mercury every day. The platform forms the basis for the planning and implementation stages of our digital campaigns. Mercury allows me to run analytics on price developments as well as budget and KPI targets across all clients and campaigns. Dashboards offer automated reporting features. And Mercury is really fast.

We spend half the amount of time on manual processes, which has also caused our error rate to drop significantly.
Martin Mittelstädt, Director Media Operations Consulting, pilot
Gunnar Neumann:
Your workflows and those of your team have changed a lot. A number of manual processes have become obsolete since they’ve been automated, which is also makes everything much faster. Can you quantify how much time you’ve saved with Mercury?
Martin Mittelstädt:
We now spend half the amount of time on manual processes, which has also caused our error rate to drop significantly. Both impact the time required by our media planners. I would put our time savings at between 30% and 50%. We can use that freed-up time to offer our clients more comprehensive consulting services. As data is readily available and integrated into our reports and dashboards, we also save an additional 70% in time spent creating media plans. This data transparency and the additional resources available allow us to focus more on streamlining our campaigns.
Gunnar Neumann:
We’re so happy to hear the good news! That’s why we developed Mercury – to enable our clients to experience top performance. Media planners should be spending their time advising clients rather than wasting it on manual, often very repetitive tasks. That benefits everyone – agencies as well as their clients. Do your clients also use Mercury? If so, has it helped improve collaboration?
Martin Mittelstädt:
Yes, my clients also use Mercury. We’ve used Mercury to digitalize the entire planning and implementation process. The media management platform forms the basis of our campaign-based collaboration, which has become very smooth and beneficial for everyone involved.
Gunnar Neumann:
Martin, thank you for taking the time to give our readers some insight into your fascinating job. We’re glad to hear that Mercury has contributed to your success and to that of your clients. We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with pilot.
We hope that this interview with Martin Mittelstädt from pilot has given you an idea of how we work at Mercury Media Technology. Maybe some of the aspects discussed remind you of your own business? I’d be more than happy to arrange a personal call to go over any issues that your company might be facing and show you how our leading Mercury MMP can help.

Gunnar Neumann
CCO

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