Added value for the customer - at all levels

alfa Media has been incorporating HUP AG's subscription & distribution solution into its own product and delivery portfolio for about a year now. Jens Emmerich, CEO alfa Media, and HUP board member Dirk Westenberger on the next steps and what the integration of the most advanced solutions of both market drivers will really bring customers.

One year of strategic cooperation. Did you make the right choice? 
Jens Emmerich: alfa Media has traditionally offered its customers a distribution system, but our own was no longer state-of-the-art. Since there is a greater demand for an integrated sales system, we were looking for a partner so that we could continue to offer an optimal set-up in this area as well. After careful consideration and product testing, the decision for the sophisticated and flexible system of HUP AG was made ...

... and?
Jens Emmerich: Many of our customers are very pleased that we can give them a clear recommendation. The interest is there, but as you know, the decision-making processes in our industry are somewhat longer. Therefore HUP AG and we have to bring some patience along. However, the intensity of the discussions so far leaves us optimistic.

Dirk Westenberger: We at HUP AG are happy with the response and there is no reason for deep stacking. With the Siegener Zeitung, we have already won our first joint customer in 2018 and the next are already at the start. The combination of HUP and alfa meets attentive listeners. In addition, the performance of our products and the high level of integration in and for the future are convincing.

Where do you see the biggest advantages of this cooperation from the customer's point of view?
Jens Emmerich: First of all, these are soft factors. The chemistry between us is right. alfa and HUP - it simply works on a human and a professional level. The customers have great advantages and added value at all levels due to the combination of our systems. In addition, one or the other employee has already worked in both companies and thus developed a very good understanding.

Dirk Westenberger: Through the intensive and open exchange of information within the framework of such a partnership, we are able to supply our customers with the best product for them. It may sound simple, and in the end it is. The people who drive a joint project forward, their know-how and mutual trust are the key to success.

Jens Emmerich: Correct. In this way, we can offer the 360-degree service that many people talk about, but which in practice is not put into action.

Can you be more specific ...
Jens Emmerich: There are so many examples, I'll pick one out: If a customer places an ad in our online ad acceptance system, he can also be given a trial subscription at the same time, thus exploiting up-sale potential in one step, increasing customer satisfaction and generating additional revenue. We use these small but fine additional workflows for our publishing customers. In the end, these also make up the success.

alfa Media and HUP AG are two competitors who cooperate in sub-areas of their core business. That's not always easy now, is it?​ 
Dirk Westenberger: The choice of good cooperation and consequently the combination of the best assets from different worlds will prevail. The car industry, even the publishers, are showing us how to do it. Delivery masters are shared, software is shared - and there is no end in sight. This is also a good thing because it ensures quality. For HUP AG it is important to be a partner in this change process, a central contact for every publisher and every company looking for a solution within the scope of digitisation.

Jens Emmerich: I am convinced that the form of finding common solutions will be used more and more often and will be necessary in the future. The goal must be to find the optimal solution for all market participants, primarily of course for the customers. The power to bring these development steps onto the road in a timely manner on their own is not available to anyone..

Dirk Westenberger: alfa Media and HUP AG have had good experiences with cooperations and the exchange of knowledge. And HUP is already bringing the industry together in the HUP Customer Scrumbles, where the competence of all market participants is gathered operationally at one table.

Doesn't this conflict result in losing the focus or positioning that HUP AG and alfa Media stand for?​ 
Jens Emmerich: The customers have a good feeling for the strengths and expertise of a service provider. HUP AG is strong in sales and logistics topics, alfa is at the forefront of the advertising system. De facto, there will be no difficulties at this point.

Dirk Westenberger: In the context of a good partnership and the consulting mandate towards customers, it is fair and clearly defined that customers who might be better off with the partner are also referred there.

What are the next steps? In love, engaged, married?
Dirk Westenberger: Now slowly with the rumor formation. But we actually have plans for the future. This initially includes the permanent development of a highly integrated interface between the two system worlds. To this end, we have launched the UNITY Scrumble, in which customers meet with us and define where integration can best take effect operationally. This is basically how a system is created.

What do you think are the big trends in the media industry?
Jens Emmerich: At first there is still a lot of need for digitisation. In addition, AI (artificial intelligence) can give us an incredible boost to all companies active in the media business. We have already tested several products. This includes an automated layout machine with AI, which should strengthen our layout tool in such a way that it can make typesetting and also create content. The AI copywriters will accompany us into the future. I'm sure not everyone likes to hear that. Either way, the potential is huge.

Dirk Westenberger: For me, there are also two main areas that drive the industry forward: further qualified content marketing for the increasingly hybrid customer and everything that happens in the last mile in the area of sales/logistics. Media houses can either make up lost ground or even gain land.