MintM: Smartphone Based Loyalty System Hosted on the Cloud
‘Customer is king’, a corporate cliché now, has been etched into the fabric of every business so deeply that most of the talks dealing with marketing start and end with it. Customer loyalty is one more buzzword for which a brand craves. MintM- short for Mint Money (money for the advertiser/company and minting rewards for the customer), provides affordable loyalty systems hosted on the cloud.
“From a company perspective, it allows them to not only attract new customers but also retain them.” says founder Sachin Garg.” The best part is that it works for both, online and retail business in the same manner.” adds Sachin. On the other hand, for the user, MintM is a mobile reward system where they earn rewards for shopping, referring and visiting places.
Sachin Garg, a B.Tech from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU), started MintM after having worked in product companies like Motorola. Partnered by Vibhor Gupta, also from IT-BHU, he brings in the management skills on the table with his experience and an MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB). Owing to the complex nature of the technology, a few bright engineers were hired who quit well paying jobs at the likes of Nokia and Dell to work on MintM. The team size grew to 10 and constant efforts are being put in to add more features to the product.
Backing from the bigger Players
MintM has managed to get some big brands like HomeShop18, Cleartrip and Samsung on board. “The perception is that in India bigger brands don't pay a lot of attention to startups but I believe that is changing.” says Sachin. Moreover, companies are now open to newer ideas and are willing to experiment.
The Offshoot from sms2cash
MintM came into existence as sms2cash but has rebranded because of plans to enter international markets in a couple of months. Sms2cash is a reference based platform which had a reach of 4 million people within 6 months of its launch. MintM is its superset in a way because it has some additional features which makes it more exciting. “One of the reasons for a name change was going to international markets as the US doesn't use terms like sms, they call it texting. Mint is a term which has global appeal.” says Sachin.
The team at MintM believes their offering to be the next generation marketing and loyalty system because it veers away from Pay-per-click campaigns and brings in Pay-per-sale without a very tight integration with the merchant, be it online or offline.
While every company should aim to build loyal customers, loyalty is never so strong that customers can resist a competitor who shows up with a much stronger value proposition that gives customers everything they now have and more.
-Philip Kotler on customer loyalty