A Q&A with Tealium co-founder Ali Behnam. The San Diego, California–based company was founded in 2008.
SUB: Please describe what Tealium is, and the value proposition you offer to the enterprise.
Behnam: Tealium is a provider of tag management solutions for the enterprise. Over the last decade, as online marketing has matured, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of web page tags that digital marketing vendors—web analytics providers, affiliate marketing companies, etc.—require customers to embed on their web sites. Over time, these tags have grown out of control. The average enterprise web site today has 30-to-40 different vendor tags on their web properties. Deploying and managing these tags have become a huge burden both for marketing and IT. Tealium provides marketers with a simple way to add, modify and edit these tags on their own through an easy-to-use web interface. No longer do they have to rely on overburdened IT departments to implement their online campaigns. The benefits are huge across the organization: reduced IT costs, increased marketing agility and performance, improved site speed, and better privacy protection.
SUB: What are your target markets?
Behnam: Our target market is really any company for which the web is an important channel. Given our methodology, we excel at handling high-volume sites and brands that have multiple web properties. We see a lot of interest from ecommerce, news and media, travel, and financial services sites. We have customers across the board, including Citrix Online, The Finish Line, Inc., Fox Networks Group, Lincoln Financial Group, US Auto Parts, Big Fish Games, and many more.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Behnam: The number of tag management players has really increased over the last year as people begin to understand the real benefits of tag management. Here in the U.S., our competition is primarily TagMan and BrightTag. Oversees, we see competition mostly from local companies such as TagCommander in France and ExactTag in Germany.
SUB: What differentiates Tealium from the competition?
Behnam: We understand that enterprises today are serving a global market. As a result, we’ve invested in a platform that’s truly global and is optimized to handle website visitors worldwide, not just in any given region. For example, if a site visitor is from Belgium, we make sure that our application is running from a server farm in Belgium or at least close by. Our differentiators are our massive scale, high performance, a deep feature set and an intuitive user interface that is designed specifically for marketers.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took to establishing it?
Behnam: Tealium was founded in 2008. We have a background in web analytics consultancy. It was during several consulting engagements that we realized the tremendous pain that many enterprises had when it came to tagging. One of our early customers was in the process of deploying Omniture SiteCatalyst on their web site and the internal cost estimate just to add the Omniture page tag amounted to 12 months. We built an early prototype of our solution for the customer and deployed them in two weeks via a single universal tag. That was the genesis of our product and entry into the market.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Tealium? Was there an “aha” moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Behnam: We knew there was a tremendous pain point among companies actively engaged in digital marketing and analytics. When we saw how much time and value our solution provided, we knew we had something special. Today, the tag management market is in full swing. We expect 2012 to be the year that tag management really captures the attention of online marketers and ecommerce professionals. It’s become one of those solutions that makes a lot of sense to everyone across the organization.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Behnam: As with any business, finding talented people who can contribute right away is always a top priority. We have been fortunate in that respect. A big challenge really has been educating the market. Tag management is new and at first, people really didn’t believe it. Now, we get a lot of people coming to us and so the education process has become easier.
SUB: You recently raised $1.1 million in Series A funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Behnam: The funds will be used in several areas: product development, account management, and sales and marketing.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
Behnam: We have no immediate plans for additional funding.
SUB: What are your goals for Tealium over the next year or so?
Behnam: The market for tag management is red hot and still relatively new. Enterprises are starting to see the great value that our solution delivers across the organization. Our goals have not really changed from last year: to create the best tag management solution possible for marketers and business users. Measurement is a marketing function whereas up to now, tagging has been owned by IT. We plan to help eliminate that disconnect and continue our success into the new year.
Tealium – www.tealium.com