Ali Behnam: Early on as we got engaged in our analytics practice, we realized that there is a big need for help with tagging. A lot of customers were unsatisfied with their analytics implementation. The number one cause of that dissatisfaction was the fact that their implementation was not done in a proper way and that has to do with tagging. Tagging is basically putting a piece of code on a website that allows you to capture the right data and send that data to the analytics solution. A lot of customers had challenges associated with that. We realized that there is a big need for streamlining the tagging work that customers need to do.
As we got more and more to that practice, we realized that problem is universal – not just analytics but all sorts of digital marketing solutions that use tagging for data collection. It could be an advertising tool. It could be an affiliate tool or a paid search tool. A lot of customers just had challenges associated with tagging. As we were doing consultancy, we realized their need for, what we call, universal tag at that time. Now it’s taken the name of tag management. The idea is that you can actually go ahead and replace all of your tags that are used for data collection with a single universal tag and then provide a way for marketers, business users, and analytics users who don’t necessarily know Java Script or don’t have the technical expertise to be able to make changes on their own. That’s the genesis for Tealium IQ, which is our tag management system.
Sramana Mitra: When you started the company, you said you were doing analytics consulting. You identified that this was a problem by working on these analytics consulting projects?
Ali Behnam: That’s correct. As we were doing our consulting projects, we realized that there is a big need for streamlining tagging and that’s how we came up with the idea of universal tagging. That’s the genesis for the product that we have today.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s get a few specifics here. I imagine that you started this analytics consulting business without any external finance. You were getting paid to do your consulting work.
Ali Behnam: That is correct. We didn’t do any type of financing until more than three years later. For the first three years, we were just doing consulting. In early 2011, we decided to make the switch from a consultancy to a product company.
Sramana Mitra: At the time you decided to make that switch, did you have the product already?
Ali Behnam: We had the foundation of the product, which came from the consulting days, but the product itself wasn’t ready until 2011.