Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Mark Hubbard . Here’s that interview.
About the interviewee
Mark Hubbard, founder/CEO. With experience in both public and private companies, he has worked in general management, financial analysis, and mergers and acquisitions in several leadership roles. Formerly VP/Corporate Development at Clear Channel, Inc., and after that, Executive VP of Worldwide Networks and Services at security software provider Wave Systems. Hubbard also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and as Guest Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame in Entrepreneurship for the Colleges of Business, Science and Engineering. He is an Entrepreneur in Residence at both universities. He is the author of “Business Wise Guide, 80 Powerful Insights You Can’t Get in Business School” and other books.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
ZaaChing is literally a startup, with four people (partners) serving in development and advisory roles. The company’s pioneering next-generation approach to coupon delivery and management is being co-developed and evaluated at Martins Supermarkets, a regional chain in Indiana.
The company’s value proposition is this: Secure, anonymous, customizable, and hack-proof electronic coupon and promotion management. That’s a lot of claims, especially the one about hack-proof; a patent-pending “shopping avatar” is part of the picture (you can’t hack what isn’t collected). With smart cards now on the cusp of widespread use in this country, it will be even easier to replace paper coupons and all their baggage –fraud and cost being among the top issues. The idea incubated at the Innovation Park at Notre Dame; the company has filed two patent applications for its technology.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
The companies with the greatest pain (exposure) are the largest of retailers, whose paper-laden approach to promotional coupons is rife with inefficiency, cost, and fraud. As a startup, ZaaChing does not have reference customers, other than Martin’s (previous question).
What comes to mind when you see this topic?
A company that will make a difference in business, in ways that are not even contemplated today. When Martin’s told us “this is a game changer,” we knew we were onto something.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
Custom electronic promotions (coupons, either paper or electronic) that give the consumer only what they want to buy, based on past purchasing patterns and expressed preferences through push technology (The customer doesn’t have to work to get the discount).
Anonymity for the consumer, no hacking of personal information
Immunity from fraud for the product provider (no phony coupon redemptions)
Efficiency, customer loyalty, immediate response to electronic couponing (via loyalty card and/or smart-chip card) for the retailer.