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Andrew Haines, Chief executive officer and co-founder, TAP London

Path to power

 

I started as a computer programmer at Miller Starr after responding to a job ad in the Evening Standard at the time, if I recall correctly, Wednesday was IT job day back then. I bypassed university and went straight into work from college as I was always eager to be working. I then moved on to head-up team solutions roles at Swetenhams and then IT director at Adare Intellidata. I’ll be forever thankful to the late Peter Kempsey who entrusted me in this role at just 25 years old. More recently, my time has been spent focusing on building consultancy practices from scratch, majoring on marketing automation technology. First at Celerity and then at dbg (now Merkle) where, as employee number one in a new division, I was responsible for leading the growth and strategy of this area and I’m proud of the legacy this has left. Never shy of rolling my sleeves up, myself and my business partner started TAP London four years ago and we’ve never looked back. By putting clients first and working as an extended part of their team, the results of this ethos have been incredibly successful and rewarding. I’m looking forward to more of this to come in 2019.

 

What has been the highlight of your career in the industry to date?

 

I think being recognised to take the role of IT Director at such a seemingly young age has always been a proud moment for me personally. It was such a challenging time for many many reasons, but, genuinely, I think it influenced every decision I’ve made since. The success of TAP London and the positive reputation we are gaining daily among our clients and peers is probably on a par, given that we started out with just two guys in a Blackfriars pub with a prospect list, where we are today is proof that I made a defining career decision.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice about how to progress in this industry, what would it be?

 

Don’t accept mediocrity and challenge everything that doesn’t feel or sound correct. The only people you will upset are the people that feel threatened by positive change. Trust your own judgement, age is never a barrier if the person and the situation is right.I think many people probably expected GDPR regulation to deal a bit of a hammer blow to some areas of the industry, but, not unlike other similar major data events, it probably passed off a lot smoother than anticipated. Not without a lot of significant effort behind the scenes, I might add! Outside of that, the expected acquisition routes of software players in our market space matched expectation, which acts, if nothing else, to keep us very much on our toes.

 

What do you expect 2019 to be like for the industry?

 

I think the next 12 months could see a step change in the way brands use data and marketing automation to deliver messages to its customers. People are now fully awake to the ways in which the current generation want to consume content and it’s that method that will dictate the said content’s delivery. Data is integral to making this effective and that’s hugely exciting in my view. Everyone needs to get smarter quickly, the most innovative ideas will win out in a noisy marketplace jostling for attention.

 

Talent and skills are always a challenge to find - how are you tackling this in your organisation?

 

This is a particular area of success for TAP London. We always look for the right people ahead of the right list of skills on a CV. We take the approach that the right people can always be trained to skill-up in what you want them to be, but the wrong person with the right skills can cause a huge amount of damage to an organisation. This method of recruitment does carry a large time-consuming overhead, but that’s far more favourable than fixing the damage of a bad hire.

 

What aspect of data, analytics or their use are you most optimistic about and why?

 

I think we are particularly optimistic about clients putting their trust in analytics to directly influence their next marketing decision without the need for manual intervention or override. Trust the intelligence, artificial or otherwise. The software in play is more than sophisticated enough to interpret and act on this for you.Data and analytics technology/service provider

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