Big information vs. big data | #BizInsight with TMARC’s Nick Terry

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Mobile is growing twice as fast as the Internet; three times faster than social media and an amazing ten times faster than personal computers. So how can you take unique advantage of this in the FMCG market?

Mobile is destined to dominate the business and marketing landscape in the foreseeable future but we need to remember sound marketing principles as we climb on board this exciting platform.


nick terryBizRadio chats to Nick Terry, CEO of TMARC, firstly about his personal journey to where he is today and then we move onto the topic of Big Information vs. Big Data

BizInsight-on-BizRadioNick Terry in covnersation BizRadio’s Grant Jansen
Podcast | Click HERE to listen

Terry says: “Around R100 million pre-paid airtime is downloaded in SA every day. At least 90% of our market runs on pre-paid.  It’s a currency.  If I gave you an option of a R5 coin and R5 airtime, which one would you take?  R5 airtime.  This gives you an option of what you can do on your phone and more than anything it keeps you connected to the world.”

Now when you haven’t got any money and you need to stay connected but you’ve also got to buy groceries and one of the brands is offering you free airtime, which brand are you likely to buy?

This is the basis of TMARC’s unique proposition that offers instant gratification and frictionless entries for customers and massive volume growth and extensive databases for clients.

Terry explains: “Take for example the Nestle Choc Fest promotion. You go into Checkers Nicolway, you buy a Bar One.  You open your Bar One and inside is a unique code supplied by TMARC. You walk out and open it.  It says dial *120*2462*unique code#.  You enter the competition and the second that your system connects to the system, we’re able to validate that code and identify that it was issued to a Bar One 40g.

“We determine if that code is a winner and if it is, there will be dominations of airtime – R5, R10, R20, R100, R300.  It picks up one of those, takes another code, encrypts it with that amount of airtime on the correct network and sends it back to you – in seconds.”

That is instant gratification because consumers receive real-time feedback on their entry status, no more SMS’s waking you up at 4 in the morning to say ‘Thanks for entering’. It’s also ‘frictionless’ – a term TMARC uses frequently:

“To us that’s frictionless because you’re walking through Nicolway and you experience that instantaneous moment of joy by winning R50 airtime by dialling a number on your phone. By delivering it instantaneously your reaction is to purchase again, so I’m going to go back and buy another Bar One.  But I’m also going to tell five of my mates.  The TMARC platform is able to deliver immediate feedback not the normal promotion standard of 48 hours; we’ll get back to you; we’ll let you know or you are in the weekly draw.”

People fatigue of delayed gratification and lose interest so winning and delivering the reward right now delivers purchase and reference benefits.

TMARC is able to provide this service because they have direct connectivity to the networks and offers amongst other prizes (cash,apple products, movie tickets, magazine subscriptions etc.), instant variable denomination airtime for any network.

This shopper proposition runs every day in Shoprite called ‘Airtime Topup’ which TMARC introduced as a first to the South African market in August 2010. The brand manufacturer negotiates with Shoprite to put guaranteed airtime on their products. For example Tastic Rice will go to Shoprite and say I’m going to put R1 on a 2kg Tastic.  Purity says 50c on variants of Purity.  Pampers will go ahead at R20 on nappies.  Baked beans will be 50c.  Axe deodorant R5.

At the till, as barcodes are scanned, the airtime offers are calculated and printed on the till slip. This happens in 3 seconds or less.

Terry says: “Your till slip has just become pure cash because that R27 (for example) that’s recorded there is valid for all networks in South Africa.  You can activate right there in the store, or later if required or even transfer that airtime to a family member or friend”

The airtime offering sells product and proves that this incentive is an effective model – reaffirmed by the consistent and repeat participation in the programme by brand manufacturers.

In additionTMARC developed their own database  platform system called ‘Mineshaft’ to profile shoppers using the mobile channel.

Every time you enter whether you buy through the individual brand promotion or you get the airtime through Shoprite, TMARC has the ability to profile you with a single question. The question changes every time you engage with the TMARC platform.

“For Tiger Brands alone, over two million people have been profiled and we have that information. They want to know all about their identity first, then the demographics and then by category and then what other brands they buy,” Terry says.

He believes you CAN send a bulk message for one: “Mineshaft allows for profiling to infinite levels so that a marketer can send a detailed communication to (for example) 18y-24y males in Gauteng who live alone, enjoy soccer and indulge in confectionary countlines as an afternoon pick me up. This is a powerful reality for our customers.”

The data is exclusively owned by our clients so we don’t sell, share, rent, borrow or use the data for other uses. Some of our customers use us exclusively for all of their promotions enabling an internal ecosystem to be created. This means that a company can now understand within their total database which brands are being bought by their consumers but much more importantly who they are! Of course the TMARC system can now deliver a direct research model so that companies can now dive into the database of consumers and conduct research via the mobile device. The speed and efficiency of the TMARC research is phenomenal as it is cost effective and allows for direct consumer feedback on usage and attitudes towards the brand delivered within a 72 hour period. Now that’s (1) really smart and (2) valuable information that allows for informed tactical and strategic decision making.

Clients of TMARC include – Nestle, SABMiller, Tiger Brands, Simba, Danone, Shoprite, Checkers, Dairybelle, Jetmart, Western Union, Provantage, Entyce Beverages, Snackworks, Edgars, Colgate Palmolive, Playtex, Fruitime, Adcock-Ingram, General Mills, Kelloggs, etc. – all significant brand and category leaders.

With a total database of more than 23m, TMARC’s clients are already engaging in the new frontier that is Big Data and creating serious competitive advantage for their brands.  As TMARC looks north of the border, its clients can rest assured that they will have the same competitive advantage in their developing African markets.

Visit TMARC's website

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eBizRadio is a live multi- platformed social media service providing an online forum to the business community for holding conversations on the key issues related to specific businesses as well as availing a space for cross-business collaboration in response to key issues affecting the world of business. The place to go if you want to know about business and lifestyle

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