Carsten Petzold – Interview about Marketing Costs and Raw Data


1. Can you describe Applicata in three sentences?

Applicata is a software-as-a-service company which deals with business intelligence and online marketing. Based on actionable insights we can help our clients to grow faster and more profitably. Additionally, we offer special business intelligence consulting services.

“In my previous company I analyzed data by myself in Excel. That was unreliable, slow and inconsistent.”

2. Why did you incorporate Applicata?

My co-founder Sebastian Rieschel incorporated the company and I joined in later. I spent my entire career with e-commerce start-ups and and first hand experienced the struggles that we now solve for our customers. I know how it is to run complex marketing campaigns across several channels.

In my previous company (, I built a solution to analyze data by myself in Excel. With the help of macros, I established dashboards and evaluated reports in Excel manually.

However, this self-built Excel solution was unreliable, error-prone, slow and I never had the consistent data basis, I wished for.

Applicata offers exactly that: quickly available and correct data of all key figures in the company. See the tremendous benefit of Applicata I joined the company with great excitement shortly after the incorporation. But there is also a personal side of the story. With Sebastian I found the right partner with whom I want to build up Applicata on a long-term basis.

“Companies should be willing to invest more upfront and determine the “customer lifetime value” to optimize the long-term relationship.”

3. From your experience, which are the most common mistakes made in online marketing?

  1. In most companies, there are experts working only on their marketing channels, optimizing their channel individually as if they were independent of all other marketing activities. However, this focus is insufficient for an overall optimization of all marketing campaigns. The mutual interference of the individual channels should be taken into consideration in one consolidated Multi-channel marketing approach.
  2. Often the focus of companies is not set on return on investment (ROI) or return on adspent (ROAS) but rather on “Vanity KPI” (i.e. key performance indicators that are nice to look at but really do not matter in the end), such as web site visits, revenue and bookings. This mainly stems back to inconsistent and manually aggregated data. Lacking automatically aggregated marketing costs and margins companies often fail to achieve full cost control. But without cost control companies cannot manage their marketing activities by ROI of every advertisement and contribution margin per customer.
  3. Another problem is that many companies lack a concise view on every individual customer due to missing raw data. For example: Many companies simply use data from Google Analytics to analyze web site visits. Google Analytics however does only provide sampled data (at least in the free version). That means, you never know exactly which individual user clicked on what advertisement(s) before visiting your website. Good raw data both about offsite and onsite behavior and an individual buying history of every customer, however, is the basis for efficient online marketing.
  4. Companies often only invest as much money in their customer acquisition as they immediately return in form of a net contribution margin of the first order. However, companies should be willing to invest more upfront and accept a negative contribution margin for the first order If they can determine the “customer lifetime value” (CLV) of every customer. Applicata’s clients achieve growth and sustained profitability by accepting losses on the first order while optimizing the long-term relationship with and boosting the customer lifetime value of every new customer.

“Deploying a scalable and flexible 3rd party BI solution is always cheaper and faster than a self-built solution.”

4. What should start-ups consider when they seriously want to come in touch with business intelligence?


Firstly, they should get in touch with industry experts to get a feeling for the opportunities of a BI investment. A vision for corporate growth through business intelligence and a data-driven culture needs to be derived. Due to a lack of experience, founders often do not know and grossly underestimate how much can be achieved by using a BI solution.

Furthermore, start-ups should map out a corporate growth strategy. A BI software-as-a-service by itself is insufficient. Online companies need to establish teams and acquire skills to exploit the full potential of business intelligence solution.

Additionally, I recommend that every online start-up should make a detailed cost-benefit analysis of an external software solution versus a self-built solution. One should not be blindsided by the efforts and hidden cost of an inhouse business intelligence solution. Considering all direct and indirect cost, deploying a scalable and flexible 3rd party BI solution is usually 7 to 10 times cheaper and faster than a self-built solution.

5. What does your perfect free day look like?

My perfect day starts with sport – going jogging. After having a nice family breakfast, I spent the day with my family on an adventure playground or at a lake away from Berlin. In the evening, I savor great conversations with my friends and a glass of wine in front of a fireplace.


Sebastian Rieschel – Interview about BI and Online Marketing


1. Can you describe Applicata in three sentences?

Applicata is a cloud-based data warehouse which is specialized on online marketing. We do not only offer technological support but also service and consulting. That’s why we work together with our clients at eye level.

“We built a solution in which we could combine all the data for the analysis”

2. Why did you incorporate Applicata?

I spent my whole career in digital companies.

15 years ago, I worked at Jamba in the insurance business. We tried to measure our key performance indicators (KPI), because we wanted to improve our efficiency. Thereby, I made the experience that the development of good IT-systems can help to do so. Back then, it was about KPIs such as throughput times and approval rates.

At smava we met the challenge to widely merchandise a B2C product (consumer loans), whereby the product had a multi-stage conversion funnel. Our main goal was to achieve a profitability of costs per piece. For the measurement, we needed data from various sources: marketing systems, our online analytics tool and our own CRM-database. The precursor of Applicata has thereby been established: a self-developed solution with which we could combine all the data for the analysis. However, many processes were still manual and error-prone.

With my gathered experience, I firstly consulted other start-ups (Digital Performance, Groupon, Unimall) establishing their own business intelligence centers and afterwards I used my expertise as the Head of BI at Project A. There we followed the approach to provide every portfolio company with a central developed technology stack. This should spare them long-term acquisition of knowledge and provide them with best-of-breed software, so that they can concentrate on their business.

The next logical step for me was then, to put my expertise into my own business. Applicata was born!

“A company-wide usage of standard guidelines for tracking is very important “

3. From your experience, which are the most common mistakes made in online marketing?

  1. No setting and measurement of multi-channel performance goals.
    A culture of success cannot be established across teams when SEM is optimized by CPC and affiliate by CPL, but in the end the CEO only cares about CPO.
  2. Small eagerness to experiment with new channels
    and thus a big dependency on few channels, mostly google. Thereby, the scalability in the marketing can also be negatively affected.
  3. No consistent concept for tracking and campaign tree through all channels and markets.
    The usage of tracking tags is often free to choose by the departments. As a result it is very effortful or even impossible to create a consistent picture of the campaign performance in a later analysis. This can be avoided by a company-wide usage of standard guidelines for tracking.
  4. No consideration of the customer lifetime value.
    Too often when optimizing, only the acquisition value is looked at, because it is either too costly or technically impossible to integrate all customer interaktions. Normally, this leads to an understatement of the customer value and as a consequence to a limitation of the potential for growth caused by too narrowly defined acquisition cost goals.
  5. No technology budget reflecting the company growth phase.
    The question is, which tracking tools are needed and how much automation is useful. This depends on the size and complexity of the company. It is not reasonable to introduce a bid management software when there is only one target market, e.g. Germany, and only a few keywords advertised. In the same way, it is inappropriate to use Excel sheeds when there is a big marketing team handeling ten thousands of  advertising materials in five countries on ten domains. Internal know-how increase and a permanent screening of the technology market should always be an issue in the company buildup.

“Sustainable growth requires that data driven decisions are as reliable and valuable as the own product.”

4. What should start-ups consider when they seriously want to come in touch with business intelligence?

Firstly, sufficient personnel resources should be available. Business intelligence should not only be left to a trainee. Furthermore, the topmanagement commitment is a decisive factor for the success of a data driven culture.

An appropriate provider fitting to the budget and technology can be found through market screening and comparison.

In the course of a make-or-buy decision the absorbed costs should always be recognized. That means not only technology costs but also personnel expenses, learning and recruiting costs. It should be considered that an instantly available but imperfect solution can be of more worth than the perfect solution available in a year.

Generally speaking, Business Intelligence is no second class IT one should be content with makeshift solutions and semi automation processes. Sustainable growth requires that data driven decisions are as reliable and valuable as the own product. There should be a high claim on automation and reliability.

5. What does your perfect free day look like?

This day would have at least 60 hours and I would spend most of them with my family, delicious food and playing basketball. But there should also be lots of time left for gaming and crafting countless new software ideas that still hurry-curry in my head. That would be a perfect day!

About Business Intelligence and Online Marketing


Welcome to Applicata’s Blog! On this blog we want to share our knowledge about business intelligence, online marketing and performance marketing with you. We strive to actively exchange ideas, thoughts on development and the latest and best solutions here. Come and visit regularly to check on tips and tricks about how to handle large data sets with the objective to maximize corporate growth and profitability. You can expect interesting blog posts about issues, such as:

  • Correct tracking of website visitors
  • Multi-Channel Marketing
  • Partner & Campaign Management
  • Performance marketing in general
  • Customer segmentation and deep dive customer analyses
  • Optimization of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • And much more.

Additionally, we want to share case studies with you showcasing how we have helped our clients to improve their revenue and profitability with our SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and data warehouse and business intelligence consulting services.

Have fun!

The Applicata Team