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CUBE [ON THE SQUARE]: Luisa Mazinter & Winnifred Knight

A ‘pay it forward’ strategy pays back dividends for a marketing solutions company that establishes a local and international reputation as a thought leader.

Juliet Pitman

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Luisa Mazinter & Winnifred Knight

When Luisa Mazinter and Winnifred Knight, co-founders of integrated marketing solutions company CUBE [ON THE SQUARE], launched theMarketingSite.com in 1998, one of their key objectives was to share their knowledge with the marketing community about which they are so passionate.

Between them, the partners have more than 50 years’ worth of marketing experience. While Knight is recognised as a leading specialist in direct marketing, Mazinter is known for her digital marketing expertise.

“We set up theMarketingSite.com as a ‘pay it forward’, to give businesses of all sizes strategic advice, guidance and access to relevant information related to marketing and sales,” explains Mazinter. It turned out to be one of the best investments they could have made for CUBE [ON THE SQUARE].

Launched entirely at their own expense, without the benefit of the usual advertising revenue which keeps such sites afloat, and offering invaluable information free of charge to users, theMarketingSite.com continues to deliver significant benefits to their business, generating leads and firmly establishing their reputation as thought leaders in their sector.

The site has between 50 000 and 60 000 unique users a month, with 15 000 subscribing to theMarketingSite.com’s monthly newsletter.

Deriving other business benefits

The knowledge-sharing philosophy extends to the rest of CUBE [ON THE SQUARE]’s business. “When we are involved in writing strategy for clients, we believe in transferring skills. “It’s an uncommon practice among consultancies and agencies but we feel very strongly that it allows the client to see a direct return on their investment.

We know we’ve been successful when we make ourselves redundant,” Mazinter explains. The company’s track record speaks for itself in this regard – Deloitte, MTN, Hollard and Absa are just a few of its most recent clients.

While the marketing industry in general suffered a significant dip during the recession, CUBE [ON THE SQUARE] enjoyed its best year ever in 2009.

“Keeping our ear to the ground both locally and internationally has been important, because it allows us to foresee tough times ahead and plan accordingly. And because there are only two of us and our business model is to outsource certain things to our long-term suppliers, we were agile enough to adapt in response to the changing market conditions,” she says.

The long-term relationships established with clients by virtue of the company’s willingness to pass on skills and intellectual property also played a key role in ensuring the business continued to flourish at a time when competitors were floundering.

Thinking global

“Investing in keeping up to date with the latest international and local industry trends benefits not only the content on theMarketingSite.com but also our core business at CUBE[ON THE SQUARE],” says Knight, who has the esteem of the global marketing community.

She was the first woman and only person from Africa to have been elected onto the Global Advisory Board of the American Direct Marketing Association (DMA). This association, together with the partners’ reputation for establishing a truly useful marketing portal in South Africa, recently led to CUBE [ON THE SQUARE] signing a joint venture partnership with the DMA to develop a global portal for direct, digital and interactive marketing.

“The portal will become a central resource for marketing practitioners from around the world, sharing current trends, thought leadership, best practice, case studies, industry awards, the latest research, DMA accredited eLearning courses, a global suppliers directory and job board.

The idea is to provide a platform for networking, debate and discussion amongst a global network of marketers. Marketing associations around the world will have the opportunity to co-brand and customise the portal, update it with local content and then offer it to their own membership bases,” Mazinter explains.

Needless to say, the JV offers CUBE [ON THE SQUARE] significant opportunities to entrench its reputation as a leader on the world stage, and develop international relationships for new business. Both Mazinter and Knight were also invited to be judges for the 2010 USA DMA Echo Awards.

Recognised as the most prestigious direct and interactive marketing awards world-wide, judging for these took place in New York in June. “This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for us – and we mean to make the most of it,” Mazinter concludes.

Company: CUBE [ON THE SQUARE]
Players: Luisa Mazinter & Winnifred Knight
Est.1998
Contact: +27 82 575 9922, +27 82 654 4021
www.themarketingsite.com

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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