Reading time: 4 minutes
Digitalization is causing a rapid change in the publishing industry. Standstill here means retrogression. Good publishers, therefore, rely on new strategies and go on the offensive.
An example of this is the Ferdinand Holzmann Publishing Company from Hamburg. Since 2016, the editorial team has identified specialist events as a suitable instrument and has also founded an event department. And this is where Matthias Janz comes into play. He leads this department and is therefore responsible for all specialist events.
And what should never be missing from a good event? An event app of course! In this interview, Matthias talks about the role of events, his experiences with event apps and the use of LineUpr. Another great customer story. Really worth reading. 😊
LineUpr: Hello, Matthias. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and the Ferdinand Holzmann Publishing Company.
Matthias: My name is Matthias Janz and I manage the event department at the Ferdinand Holzmann Publishing Company in Hamburg. Since 2015, the publisher belongs to the Vincentz Network, a medium-sized publishing house in Hanover, which is active in different markets. The publishing house in Hamburg publishes a total of four B2B specialist magazines for the furniture industry – for furniture and kitchen dealers (Furniture Culture, The Kitchen Profi), interior architects (Arcade), and for furniture manufacturers and their suppliers (Furniture Manufacturing). Since the end of 2016, there is an event department that works together with the editorial staff on demanding industry events.
LineUpr: What role do events play for you? Which target group do you want to address and what added value do you offer the participants?
Matthias: As a specialist publisher, we are well networked in the industry; we know what the current issues of our target groups are and also have access to solution providers and industry leaders. At our events, we inspire our participants and present them with tangible best practice examples. Also, our events offer many networking opportunities and interactive elements.
LineUpr: What strategies and tools do you use in addressing this target group? Do you attach particular importance to something special?
Matthias: As a publishing company, we have a relatively easy time to get to our target group because we are read regularly (online and offline), and so we primarily use our channels for the event promotion. Besides, we also use Google Ads, Xing, and LinkedIn.
LineUpr: You have already used LineUpr twice. How did you learn about LineUpr and what added value does an event app offer you?
Matthias: An editor of ours came across LineUpr at another event. She told me about it, and then I researched it.
I had already designed an app for a trade fair when I worked as a project manager, but the hassle and expense were huge, so I never considered an app for smaller events.
LineUpr: Have you used event apps in the past?
Matthias: Yes, but only for larger fairs, because to deliver an app for iOS or Android, they always need to be programmed. Then a few € 1000 are quickly gone for agency services and a lot of working hours are needed until the app is ready and actually available in the store.
LineUpr: Did you present your speakers with individual profiles in the event app?
Matthias: Yes, we basically collect pictures and CVs from our speakers and we use this information in the event app. We have not added any contact data or external links as yet.
LineUpr: What information did you use in the location profiles?
Matthias: The congress “Efficient Furniture Production in Practice” takes place predominantly in a hotel, and here we “only” give the room names. Additional information is provided at the evening event, here having the address cannot hurt.
LineUpr: Did you also use the survey features?
Matthias: Yes, we use interactive elements in almost all events to get the participants involved. Usually, we use Sli.do so that we get an answer directly for questions to the audience. With a work-around in PowerPoint, we also managed to use the survey function from LineUpr in a similar way. If there was a feature from LineUpr that I missed, then it’s this one.
LineUpr: What hurdles and difficulties did you experience in launching an event app for your event?
Matthias: Normally, participants today no longer feel like installing an app from the store, especially if they only use the app for a few days. You now have so many apps on your smartphone that it gets confusing. The concept of a web app is not known to everyone, but it meets all the requirements: Temporary availability, no installation required, and thus less privacy-related problems – in some companies, installing apps on the company phone is prohibited.
LineUpr: Looking back, did you save more time with the LineUpr app and optimize your planning and execution, or does the app give you new ways to communicate with attendees?
Matthias: Currently, I would not say that we can save time or communicate better with the participants, but instead have more work. Why? At our events, we aspire to use the technical possibilities which are at the height of time. We offer live streams, live surveys, web apps, and more. On the other hand, we also have classic and high-quality conference documents: colored conference proceedings in a folder with a pad and pen. This sometimes seems a bit “old-school”, but our participants regularly rate the documents as good to very good. Also, it’s because the web app is not so much in demand- if I have the process on paper in front of me, I do not need a smartphone that provides me with the same information. Nevertheless, our medium-term endeavor is to slow down the proportion of analog conference documents. Until we achieve that, we will continue to travel in two tracks.
LineUpr: Thank you, Matthias, for the great interview. I was able to gain an excellent insight into your events and also the whole planning. You have really been a role model for the entire industry by being on the offensive and using new technologies and opportunities.
Of course, the Ferdinand Holzmann Publishing Company also has its website. Another better idea is to visit a Holzmann event. We are already looking forward to the next events.