June 23, 2017
As many Bahamian companies struggle to market their companies through digital channels, a new start-up aims to transform the sector by providing digital media platforms with the greatest potential to move a business forward.
"We're on the cusp of something big," says Marc Hohnstein, co-owner of TAHM Management and Marketing Consultants, a company that recently inked a three-year deal with Aliv for advertising on their digital media platforms. The transit digital platform allows for electronic advertising on select buses and along key heavily trafficked routes. For its part, Aliv will power the buses with free wifi.
"The point of digital marketing is target group oriented," Mr Hohnstein explained. "If I'm a Mercedes Benz dealer I know a client from a middle class area like Carmichael Road is a rarity. They are not my target group. So where do I advertise, in areas like Lyford Cay and Paradise Island. In blasting the masses you are wasting 70 percent of your advertising budget since those people aren't your target market.
"In digital marketing we have digital platforms, or monitors that we purposely place in selected areas for the selected client. Digital advertising allows the mom and pop store to have the same level of exposure as say a Honda dealer, even if they're on a lean budget."
TAHM currently provides two digital media platforms to its clients, transit digital media platforms located on 30 buses and free standing digital platforms at various locations throughout New Providence.
Digital ad monitor placement, that is, an electronic billboard, allows businesses to display animated commercials and announcements on a flat screen placed strategically on their premises. It's popular in the United States and elsewhere for being an effective and cost efficient means of engaging with consumers.
TAHM's clients are able to update their digital promotions or change an ad display in real time at no additional cost.
Once the digital ad monitor is up and running TAHM's clients could offer other vendors the opportunity to digitally blast their media message to the public, thus the client makes a return off of their investment.
It's all about making their clients' brands and businesses stand out from the crowd, according to Arthur "Ray" Thompson, who oversees the management side of the firm. TAHM also focuses on increasing a company's efficiency.
For instance, Mr Thompson is currently working with two prominent Bahamian shipping agents to develop an online web control database that would allow customers to track their vehicle shipment in real time, in addition to being able to assess and pre-pay fees. The second phase is linking that online database directly to Bahamas Customs saving the companies thousands of man hours.
"On the marketing side we aim to improve the visibility and popularity of our clients' businesses. If you don't keep up you'll get left behind," Mr Thompson warned. "On the management end, we help clients improve efficiency and profitability."
Following a successful career spanning 25 years in the shipping industry, Mr Thompson, an accountant by training with a strong background in business, spent the last decade engaged in private consultancy work for various international companies, including the preparation of business plans for new and existing companies, and reviewing the viability of proposed business acquisitions.
In another life, Mr Hohnstein, who has a Master's degree in finance, worked in the financial services sector in the United States holding key positions at Bank One (now Chase Bank) and Wells Fargo.
He got a taste for digital marketing when it came under his portfolio during a stint serving as a member of the Economic Council to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Economic Council represents the interests of thousands of small and medium-sized firms. Its members are drawn from all sectors of the German economy.
In 2013, Mr Hohnstein co-founded an international consulting company, LCA Global Consulting, specializing in public relations campaigns for international brands, digital marketing and most importantly, creating digital advertising platforms throughout seven cities in Germany.
Mr Hohnstein also served as the vice president of German development for EVO Payments International, a company which processes ATM, mail order, telephone and point of sale transactions, according to its website. Mr Hohnstein built up five teams in Dresden, Köln, Hamburg, Munich and Berlin, providing training on how to utilize multiple formulas and tactics to achieve success in the sales industry.
Upon discovering his friend's interest in returning to The Bahamas to take up residency, Mr Thompson broached the idea of a business partnership to Mr Hohnstein.
"With my managing experience and his marketing experience we felt the integration into a consulting firm would be perfect," said Mr Thompson.
Earlier this year TAHM rolled out its transit advertising platform on 30 buses that collectively cover New Providence. Expansion plans to bring more buses on stream are in the works.
The buses are equipped with 18 inch TV monitors. Daily looping on the bus monitors allows for continuous advertisement streaming for TAHM's clients.
According to the company, the average bus operates from 6am to 7pm. Each bus accommodates up to 28 riders at a time, making anywhere from seven to 10 trips per day.
Each ad is slotted to run every four minutes in the present six-minute loop. Most ads are 35 seconds. Each advertisements runs 15 times an hour or 195 times per bus. That is 5,850 times per day for the 30 buses.
The transit advertisement platforms are currently on buses servicing South Beach, Cable Beach, Carmichael, Palmdale, Fox Hill, Blair and Montagu.
Early adopter clients have already locked down free standing, electronic billboards and bus spots with TAHM.
The company is also in talks with a few trendsetting parliamentarians who view the technology as a means of keeping their constituents abreast of their work, relevant community news and national emergencies alerts in real time.
"It's all about being competitive in your niche market, whatever that market may be, said," Mr Thompson. "We want to ultimately digitize the entire archipelago from Grand Bahama in the north to Inagua in the south."
For Mr Hohnstein, it all boils down to where an enterprise wants to be in a year's time with their business. "You want to be known everywhere," he said. "Standing still and complacency is the enemy of prosperity."
Messrs Hohnstein and Thompson. Photo by Dante Carrer for TAHM Management & Marketing Consultants