James Wilson, CEO of Tiger Systems a digital marketing partner tells us about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
James Wilson: We are well, thanks. Very grateful to have stayed healthy throughout, and our thoughts are with all those impacted. We welcomed our first child at the end of last year, so there have also been significant changes to home life as well as work.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Tiger Systems.
James Wilson: I studied Law at the University of Southampton with a one-year Erasmus at Oslo University, followed by a Masters in International Business at Aston University. I worked in several start-ups before co-founding a Market Research and Communications Agency, working with companies like General Mills, Diageo, and Microsoft. After exiting at the end of 2015, I wanted to try something new. I, therefore, founded Tiger Systems, a boutique digital marketing, and data agency, in 2016. I wanted Tiger to be much more than just another agency. We work with companies looking to grow fast and want a strategic partner rather than just a supplier. We have since worked hard to develop an agile and flexible methodology to support our clients in an increasingly dynamic and changeable environment.
How does Tiger Systems innovate?
James Wilson: The key for us is staying up-to-date, both with our industry and our clients’ needs. The marketing industry moves so fast that we spend much of our time keeping up with the latest developments and testing and researching new approaches to current problems. We invest heavily in our team’s personal growth and encourage them to continually challenge what we are doing to drive constant, iterative improvement. Innovation is, therefore, heavily embedded in our culture.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business finances?
James Wilson: We had to work hard to support our hardest-hit clients in the early stages, including retail and shopping centers. However, as the pandemic developed, we worked with both new and existing clients to re-align their marketing and communicating strategies to reflect changing consumer behavior (in some cases, moving to 100% digital). We helped several clients launch entirely new products and services. We have since seen our revenues grow steadily through the year and expect to exceed our pre-Covid targets.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
James Wilson: We were lucky enough not to have to let go of any of our team. We closed our office and had to manage the transition to working remotely. This was an incredibly steep learning curve as we continued to recruit and onboard new staff members (we doubled the team over the last 12 months). We have always relied on fast, in-person communication and team-work and so had to quickly learn to adapt and make better use of technologies and find new ways to support each other.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
James Wilson: Technology-wise, we have largely continued to use the same tools, including HubSpot, Notion and Slack. Zoom is the exception, shifting from an occasionally used tool to one we use every day as we significantly increased the frequency of our strategic and tactical calls with clients.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
James Wilson: We benefitted from a rates Grant at the start of lock-down that was very welcome in an uncertain time. It helped give us the confidence to keep pushing and take risks.
Your final thoughts?
James Wilson: We are incredibly excited about 2021. We have worked hard to develop technology and strategic partnerships over the last year and have ambitious growth plans in place for the next 12 months.