How would I go about starting a marketing business and what are...

How would I go about starting a marketing business and what are the types of services or marketing options that I can offer?


How to start a marketing company

The first step to take is to decide under what kind of business entity you want to operate the business. Registering a company might seem like an administrative headache but it’s an important step in the birth of your new venture, and one that can have a significant impact to the future of your business.

To start a business you must decide if you are going to operate as a Sole Proprietor or Private Company. If you are going to register a PTY then you have to register the business through Companies Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro). Once this is done, register the business with the South African revenue Services (SARS).


Mentorship and support is a crucial element in setting up a new business and there is plenty of support out there for starts-up. Some mentorship and support programmes are offered free and others charge a fee for their expertise.

What is a business mentor?

A mentor is someone with entrepreneurial business experience who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period.

How to choose the right mentor

Choosing the best mentor is a personal decision. You must feel comfortable with the mentor and have a good rapport with that person, who must also have the best interests of your company as his or her goal. Because of their expertise, they have the knowledge to implement a series of proven systems and strategies designed to help your business grow.

Associations to join

By joining associations, you will give your business credibility. Clients will feel more comfortable doing business with you as there is an industry watchdog that they can turn to if something goes wrong.

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa

The advertising and marketing industry is self-regulated in South Africa. The marketing and communication industry voluntarily regulates the content of advertising. The advertisers who pay for the advertising, the advertising agencies responsible for its form and content, and the media, which carry it – work together, to agree advertising standards.

The ASASA has set up a system to ensure that advertisements, which fail to meet those standards, are corrected or removed.

The Marketing Association of South Africa

MASA protects the credibility of marketing by improving the way marketing is perceived and practiced in South Africa. MASA is a Section 21 company that works as an ‘anchor’ in the industry.

The Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA)

The DMMA is a voluntary, non-profit association focused on growing and sustaining a profitable digital industry within South Africa. The DMMA currently represents over 70 local online publishers and over 25 creative, media and digital agencies, between them accounting for more than 10 million local unique browsers and 330 million page impressions.

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What to Specialise In

How to start an outdoor marketing company

The first thing that you have to do is to sign up contracts for potential sites. This is done through meeting with landlords and coming to an arrangement. Once the contract is signed between yourselves, you need to obtain permission to advertise at the sites you have selected. This permission is provided through the town planning department of local municipalities’.


Ensure that you comply with all relevant legislation regarding billboards, posters and any other form of outdoor advertising that you are planning to use with the local municipality. You must obtain written approval from the council.

Take note of the address, stand, street name and crossroad that you would like to utilise. Click here for a complete list of local municipalities where you can apply for permission. Permission can take anything from three to six months and in some cases it can take up to five years.

Outdoor advertising methods

Billboards are the most common method used by outdoor marketers and they continue to be one of the worthiest techniques to mark a branding imprint to hundreds or millions of targeted minds.

Other outdoor mediums

Do not limit yourself to thinking that outdoor media, is only billboards. There are a myriad of alternative outdoor mediums. These include vehicle and building wraps, posters, moving billboards and digital signage.

Hit the right target

Outdoor media is a robust form of advertising. There are many reasons for this. Traffic is slow along certain routes, allowing time to read.  If a pedestrian wants to read an ad, he or she can simply stop walking and take notice. You can also better target your message to consumers who will be most receptive to it because everyone goes somewhere at sometime.

Networking can be most useful

By joining the Marketing Association of South Africa they can provide access to a network of credible business and marketing professionals as well as enhanced personal credibility to your business as a marketing professional.

How much capital is needed to start a digital billboard business?

The capital required to start a business should be determined through the preparation of a business plan.


One of the biggest suppliers of this kind of equipment is Polycomp. They offer over 700 products ranging from R2 500 for the smallest sign which measures 650mm x 115mm while the biggest billboard ranges in price from R856 000 and measures 44.2 square meters. This is the type of billboard seen in soccer stadiums.


Ensure that you comply with all relevant legislation regarding billboards. Legislation and by laws differ from municipality to municipality. If you intend broadcast on a digital billboard you will need to obtain broadcast rights as well. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will be able to give you more information regarding broadcasting rights.

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