TagPoints is the new way for businesses to recruit and retain customers while generating valuable data. Using its mobile proximity marketing and loyalty platform, it delivers relevant content to shoppers' phones in real-time - whether that's push notifications based on their location or loyalty points awarded for completing various activities.
I invited Director and founder, Jessica Stephens over on YHP as she shares her story.
Hi Jess, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Hi Joseph, yes all good here thanks at TagPoints Towers.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
Of course - I've been in the Digital Marketing field since the beginning of my career. I worked as an employee in various companies from small agencies to household brands to cut my teeth in the industry. Then I took a leap and joined my first start-up which we ended up selling to a FTSE 250 company. TagPoints is my second venture and the culmination of all of my experience to date.
How did the idea for TagPoints come about?
My business partner Dave comes from the world of mobile and app development. We combined our knowledge and started talking about a mobile marketing and loyalty platform that could really change how bricks and mortar businesses communicate with their customers. That was about 20 months ago - fast forward to today and we have a robust and scalable platform built and already powering loyalty applications in the UK with the UAE, Europe and the US on the horizon.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
Honestly, the hardest part was limiting ourselves! We had 1001 ideas of how to use mobile in the retail world and we had to reduce the number of opportunities that we followed up with to get a few things done really well. Otherwise we risked not achieving anything meaningful.
How did you initially get traction?
As part of the stripping back exercise, we decided to focus on the shopping centre market as we identified there was a need for increased customer loyalty through mobile platforms. The response was great and by the end of 2014 we are on course to help hundreds of shopping centres increase footfall and understand more about their customers.
How have you been able to fund it so far?
We are self-funded and then any revenue earned to date goes straight back into the business, mainly into development. In 2014 we are seeking significant funding to aid our global growth.
What is TagPoints? And what are you trying to solve with it?
TagPoints is a mobile proximity marketing and loyalty platform - the new way for businesses to recruit and retain customers while generating valuable data.
Our Mobile Marketing platform delivers relevant content to shoppers' phones in real-time - whether that's push notifications based on their location or loyalty points awarded for completing various activities.
The growth of push notifications, mobile advertising and location-aware content creates a risk that the mobile marketing channels will be over-used and consumers will be bombarded with content. But consumers are happy to receive relevant content, so we call our platform a hyper-relevance engine that learns about shoppers… from the sign up, right through to the mobile payment.
We also wanted to make the solution cost-effective for businesses, easy to implement with immediate results.
The major goal is measurable value from data insights. There is significant value in this data and we ultimately want to pull shopping centres and high-streets out of the data dark-ages into a connected digital age.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
When we decided about a year ago to build a platform, rather than just going out there and creating apps from scratch for businesses. Of course you can tailor our system to your business, but the fundamentals are there and ready to go, a bit like email marketing software.
They are so many challenges that entrepreneurs go through trying to build a company or making it successful, can you share a challenge you faced and how you overcame it?
We have new and different challenges every day - that's the fun part, trying to solve them! A big problem for us at the start was that we had no marketing budget, so we were doing all this great stuff and weren't able to promote it sufficiently. Instead, over time, we've built up a good social presence and have used Guerrilla tactics to get noticed. As a result we've had some amazing coverage including speaking and exhibiting at industry-leading events for free.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Making our first sale was a real boost. Also being recognised by The Guardian as a leading tech start up.
How do you define success?
Number of happy clients
Number of engaged consumers
What should we be expecting from yourself and the TagPoints team in the coming months?
Our Q1 is all about iBeacons. We have schemes going in to retail and shopping centre environments and we'll be publishing the results of how this helps the retailer and engages the consumer positively in due course.
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Budget. Both in your personal spending and business costs. You'll spend more than you think.
2. Think giant thoughts. If you have a good idea, a genuinely good idea, there is potential that it could be even bigger than you currently imagine.
3. Enjoy it. Remember every day that you are your own boss! Surround yourself with the best people and take the time to discover how you like to work.