If you are an entrepreneur struggling to brand and market your business, I can help.

Are you here because (tick all that apply):

… you are worried – you have no leads coming in and your competition are stealing all your customers?

… you have no clarity about what you need to be doing to go from break-even to profitability?

… you have no idea how to package yourself and your business in a way that makes you stand out?

… you are tired of spending money on marketing materials that don’t bring qualified leads into your business?

… you suffer from ‘website shame’?

… you have no clue what your company should look like visually?

… you are a entrepreneurial business that is wanting to grow?

… you are in need of a marketing makeover?

If any (or all) of these apply, then you’ve come to the right place.

It is our goal to help win clients for your business by giving your marketing message muscle. How do we do this?

… by getting you to nail down what makes you unique and who exactly your ‘delightful’ customers are

… by writing the copy for all your marketing materials in a way that is authentic to you and that turns interest into action and readers into customers

… by designing accountable marketing campaigns – print and digital – including your website, that generates leads and revenue and ultimately pays for themselves

… by designing and developing your website with a planned strategy, professional copy, killer headlines, and irresistible calls-to-action

… by putting together eNewsletters and auto responders that engage and delight your clients and help set you up as their ‘go to’ person

… by writing and designing all your marketing materials (from a logo right through to your website) in a way that cohesive and enhances the professional image of your business

Karen, graphic designer

I started my career in graphic design while working for Sun International. A colleague and I initiated a magazine targeted specifically to the VIP gambling fraternity. We wrote articles, chose photographs and loved every minute of it. I then worked independently under an experienced designer to design and layout the magazine. It was a huge success and we brought out a few more issues. I was hooked!

Dumping my corporate cubicle to venture out on my own, I opened my graphic design company Images with Impact in 1991. Talk about jumping in the deep-end while barely knowing how to swim. I loved it—doing work for companies like Avroy Shlain, Volkswagen SA, Sun International, Pizza Hut, Coopers & Lybrand and Kelloggs. I also freelanced occassionally for some cutting-edge Ad Agencies including Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and DMB&B.

After three years of flying by the seat of my pants I decided to join a company as their Design Studio Manager. I needed the experience. This is where I gained invaluable experience working with dynamic companies such as SA Breweries, SABMIller, Barloworld, Coca-Cola Africa, Nampak, amongst others.

Although I stayed with them for 14 years, the entrepreneur in me ached to go back out on my own. I already had Tracker as a private client for a number of years so, again, I bit the bullet and Tiara Publications was born. I continued to work with Tracker Connect, ADT Security and Compass and added FNB Branch Banking, Absa Capital, the Banking Association of South Africa, and more to my list of regular clients.

During the past three years I have been working together with Bradley to offer more comprehensive marketing and design packages to existing and new clients. It’s been an exciting time for Tiara!

It’s been 26 years now since I made the decision to do what I’m passionate about – graphic design.  This experience can be leveraged in your business.

Bradley, marketing alchemist

I started my work life qualifying as a radio electronics engineer. Schooled, trained and qualified in detailed electronic systems design and troubleshooting. Time passed and my entrepreneurial DNA started looking over the fence. It didn’t take too long to spot an opportunity. Desk Top Publishing (DTP) was in it’s infancy. I’d used the technology to write up and print my final year paper on lasers in medicine. That, while all my colleagues were queuing up for typewriters and drafting tables to produce their papers. I scored 92% for that industrial electronics paper.

Nissan trucks were redoing their illustrated parts catalogs. This project involved mechanical drawing and technical writing skills. Something I fitted into comfortably. So I took a leap of faith and took on the project. A buddy and I got together doing all the work on Macintosh personal computers. The rest of the industry were using darkrooms, typesetters, illustrators, photographic negatives and light tables to achieve the same. Our turnaround time was measured in hours and days, whilst the big Repro agencies were measuring turn-around in days, weeks and months. Our bill was a fraction of the Repro houses. Our quality, streets ahead.

It wasn’t long before the demand for our skills and techniques overwhelmed us and we flipped that business into an Apple distributorship. Importing Macintosh products, establishing and training the old style Repro houses in the new way. I’ve consulted and worked hands-on with companies in the forefront of digital media. From DTP to commercial digital photography and printing. From digital sound recording, editing and mixing to full blown digital video and multimedia productions.

All this exposure to the myriad of businesses servicing the ad agencies, gave me an in-depth and hands-on insight into the inner working of international ad agencies.

Fast forward another decade and I’ve worked my way up the ranks to being the GM for a company that worked hand-in-hand with Hewlett Packard to design and manage all of Vodacom’s billing systems. The beating heart of their business alongside their mobile network. In this role I worked with big data. Worked on teams tasked to massage that data into mobile products that consumers bought over the counter. Systems used in-store to sign up and provision new customers.

Parenting of two teenage boys launched itself upon me and I decided it was time for a change of focus and lifestyle. I decided to move back to the country and build a business where I could work remotely. My experience in importing Apple products from China in the late 1980s and early 1990s had me partnering to introduce an unheard of product range into South Africa; bamboo flooring and timber boards.

Procurement and the marketing challenge was left in my hands. Introduce an entirely unknown product into an established market. I drew on all my experience from the ad industry for this task. Problem was… very little worked effectively. Marketing was a black hole, with over a million spent on marketing using traditional methods. I was feeling a tad dazed and lost. I looked to direct marketing for inspiration, rolled up my sleeves and started from scratch.

Three years later, I had generated a database of over 3,500 qualified leads from that tiny niche market for R20.57 per lead. That’s 3.2 leads a day, 24/7/365. A marketing success in anyone’s book.

But while I was focusing on product procurement and marketing, the systems needed to support that market were neglected. When the marketing delivered the goods, we were unable to deliver reliably through the distribution network that had been built. Add that fundamental oversight to the 2008/9 recession and we were never able to recover the company to worthwhile profitably. I put it into hibernation.

The birth of Business Marketing Alchemy.

Taking the myriad of lessons from one successful business, one failure and pressing all my other industry experience into a marketing sandwich, proved to be an offering that scratched a big itch.

The internet brought competitors from all over the world to local business’s doorsteps. Local business was competing against Mom & Pop stores from all over the world. This global village also provided new opportunities to reach an international audience. Previously the domain of larger businesses with deep pockets. The modern business owner has been left feeling totally overwhelmed in this global village of ever speeding change.

The ‘new marketing’—Google AdWords, proved to be a difficult-to-tame 100-pound gorilla. Vacuuming entire marketing budgets out of unsuspecting business owner accounts with reckless abandon. Business owners stared, mouths agape, as some businesses were propelled to overnight, stratospheric success, whilst others simply paid Google stupidity tax. It is these, otherwise very successful business owners, that I came to find synergy with.

After providing ad-hoc ‘modern’ marketing consulting for over a year, I started consolidating my offer to fit businesses such as yours. I now service multiple clients concurrently, at staggered stages of their marketing roll-out.

Using a fixed retainer, it has been possible for me to establish tested, strategic partnerships with other like-minded and complementary companies. These partnerships enable me to achieve the results of a much larger team. A team that would not be cost-effective if all the costs were born by a single company or project.