[Startup Interview] Josephine Pretorius, Founder, Consolidated Marketing Services, South Africa
Josephine Pretorius is the founder and CEO of Consolidated Marketing Services, CMS, a South African startup offering marketing and PR services to clients predominantly in the energy and power infrastructure sector.
Introduce your company
Consolidated Marketing Services (CMS) is a South African based marketing and communications company located in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
As a business-to-business company, we work closely with corporates in the energy and power infrastructure sector by proving services like events management, graphic design, media bookings and liaisons, photography, compiling and implementing marketing plans and organizing corporate social responsibility events by working closely with the communities affected and more.
CMS was founded in 2018 by a Josephine Pretorius, a vibrant black woman who has a passion for marketing and business. Since the inception of the business, we have worked with companies in South Africa, Mauritius and Namibia. We have launched a solar project in Namibia, Shell gas station in South Africa and various substations across Gauteng region in South Africa where we worked with the then Johannesburg Mayor, Mr Herman Mashaba among others.
Tell us a bit about the professional background of the founder
Josephine worked in the energy and power infrastructure sector for 10yrs, she worked as a junior divisional secretary for a few years prior to being promoted to being a training coordinator for just over a year within the same company. She started working as a marketing associate in 2013, this is where the marketing passion was ignited. While she was studying (BBA Marketing) she continued to grow within the same company. She reported to the Commercial Director from whom she learnt many skills among them how to conduct business.
Who are the owners of the company and how is it financed?
CMS is owned and financed by the CEO Josephine Pretorius
Why did you start CMS? What opportunities did you see?
I had a dream and in the dream, I was the owner of this business and my bigger customer was the company I used to work for. I then had a chat with my then boss about it and he encouraged me to do it. This was in 2018 during a period where the company was retrenching people and I was one of them.
Our very first opportunity was to project manage an event that was to take place in Namibia and since then, I never looked back. Other opportunities were to work with Shell SA and other companies within the energy sector.
What problem or problems does your company solve?
CMS provides services to companies that do not have marketing departments, we act as a mediator between our customers and suppliers, sometimes we work with our customer's customer by standing in as if we work for our customer. For example we worked with City Power to organize a launch event for a prominent substation in South Africa. This substation was the largest ever built in the last ten years (Sebenza Substation), City Power was CONCO's customer.
What gives your company that competitive edge?
We are a one-stop-shop for marketing services. We understand that we are not "the know it all" hence we work with knowledgeable suppliers of services we cannot offer our customers, like printing services, we are not printers nor do we own printers but our customers see us as printers because we offer those services (printing letterheads, business cards and large printing of wallpapers, aluminum logos and more).
Who are your customers?
Majority of our customers operate in the energy and power infrastructure sector. These companies build high voltage substations, overhead lines, solar parks, wind farms and more. The list that forms our clientele base include Shell South Africa, CONCO Group, Consolidated Power Maintenance, City Power, Mergence and Tiro.
What are the dynamics shaping the marketing and PR industry?
Faced with much competition, CMS had to look for other ways of pricing and negotiating with suppliers in order to make the customer happy and still make a profit from deals. It hasn't been easy but we are continuing to focus on what we do best.
What does your company need in order to grow?
We need funding in order to employ more people like sales personnel and marketing administrators. Our vision is to see us having additional offices in Durban and in Cape Town.
What is your growth strategy?
Some of our customers are based in the Western Cape which is why we want to have an office in Cape Town. Having offices in metropolitan cities will enhance our business growth and brand image. In the far future, we see ourselves having offices in Namibia and Mauritius. We have laid the foundation already and this is only to set up those offices and start attending to our customer needs and remain closer to them.
Where else do you want to have a footprint?
We are exploring Durban, Mauritius, Namibia, Kenya and Ethiopia
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
To continue doing what we do best and grow into newer markets. We have been in contact with DuPont and have presented on a few projects.
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