The FINANCIAL — Marketing Centre Terra Media, based in Tbilisi, has 8 years of experience in providing marketing research in Georgia. The company underwent re-branding twice, the first time when it became Sarke Research, and the second when the company was re-named Terra Media.
Terra Media offers different services for its clients, monitoring of information, media monitoring, moreover, together with information centre 09 and analytic group Gesomar, Terra Media conducts daily tracking research on topics about banking services, media and advertising effectiveness, GSM operators, and oil products.
The marketing methodologies are different for the specific projects including focus groups, retail audit, and mystery shoppers.
“So as to get valuable outcomes we have mixed techniques, while quantitative research provides the answers for What? And How Much? The qualitative research, such as focus groups or experimental interviews, provides answers for Why?,” says Valerian Gorgiladze, the General Director of Terra Media.
At present under the request of NATO Information Centre the company is actively engaged in conducting field research throughout Georgia.
“We are interviewing people about whether they share the country’s views of striving toward joining NATO, and whether they see a guarantee of security in being a NATO member.
Moreover, two months ago we conducted research for the EURO Commission, about free juridical service and the quality of people’s rights protection,” says Gorgiladze.
Gorgiladze, by profession a sociologist, has been working in the research and consulting sphere since the year 1994.
“From 2003 I worked for Niccolo M representation in Georgia and was appointed as head of the company. After some time together with my partners we formed Sarke Research where I was appointed as Director.
At present the company has undergone re-branding and is now known as Terra Media, marketing analytic group, of which I am General Director,” says Gorgiladze.
In his exclusive interview with The FINANCIAL Gorgiladze speaks about the role of marketing development and consulting in Georgia.
Q. What is your vision of Terra Media development in Georgia?
A. Our strategy should be based on an innovative programme, an exclusive web-portal through which we provide our clients with information, as created by our analysts in the bowels of our company.
Q. What are the specific and unique features the programme offers?
A. What is unique about this programme is that this is an information terminal that incorporates all media means: TV, internet, radio, as well as print media. Our clients can easily find the relevant information concerning their spheres as this programme provides the vast opportunity of orientation in the information system.
This programme has the ability to process statistical information, the programme processes the frequency of the mentioning of the person, company, brand. Moreover, with the help of the programme the connection between different variables is evaluated, how negative or positive the concerning message about the company or brand is. This is all registered by the company, and our clients who have access to our portal can follow the dynamics of the figures.
These results are quite important when you are conducting reputation research in the media or in evaluating PR campaign effectiveness.
Moreover, the clients can construct up to 50 types of diagrams and schedules, they can choose different variations and configure the diagram and graphic according to their wishes.
Furthermore, this programme has different terminals, where we count the frequency of advertising, clients can find the effectiveness of the advertising, see their advertising budget and also their rivals’ spending.
The programme has already raised interest from a company based in Estonia. There is also high interest from Armenia and Israel.
Q. What kinds of changes are expected at Terra Media in the near future?
A. Our local mission is to improve our informative portal, this is actually a permanent process. Over the years we have had four versions, and the programme’s resources have yet to be exhausted. IT technologies are developing and this gives us the stimulus to implement high tech changes in this programme.
We are also thinking of increasing the media market of monitoring. In 1 year, we will offer an English version of this programme so that we can serve the international market.
In the future we are thinking of entering foreign markets, similar products can be created in Russian and other languages for example.
The monitoring of the Russian press is easily possible in Georgia if we consider that the expenses and remuneration are lower in Georgia than in Russia. The fact that print-media in Russia has electronic versions also makes the work easier.
In Georgia everything is different, there does not exist a complete electronic base of print media news and 90% of newspapers do not have an electronic version, we need to subscribe to them and conduct monitoring in that way.
Q. In your opinion, what is the potential of internet media development? Will people soon switch to reading news online rather than watching TV or reading newspapers?
A. Actually, I do not think that the internet will replace print media. For example when Cinema first appeared, everyone predicted that it would replace Theatre.
In my opinion, everything has its own segment, at present in Tbilisi, more than 50% of the population has switched to internet-based services.
The fact that more consumers are entering the online world has its advantages, as an information agency provides day-to-day operative news with daily updates these are quite flexible for those people whose jobs are most concerned with daily information.
Q. At present, who are your major clients?
A. 80% of our clients are from the business sector, the spheres of communication, the banking sector, advertising segment, oil products, beverages, and insurance sector.
Q. You are actively involved in conducting researches. Those already published in The FINANCIAL include the statistics overview of the cell phone advertising markets, research about oil product consumption and Georgian Bank advertisement on broadcasting channels. Why did you choose The FINANCIAL as your partner?
A. We are aware that our target market is largely the same as the readership of The FINANCIAL. In the English language media segment The FINANCIAL is the leading media means. It is competent, qualified, and reaches the business segment, which is an important aspect for us.
Q. In your opinion, which sector has the highest potential for development? And at present which sector is the most developed in the country?
A. Everything related to communication is perspective, the fact is that over the past 15-20 years the most dynamic sector has been communication.
This fact is proven by the following: we have 3 GSM Operators in Georgia, which have more than half a million subscribers, about 15 TV channels, daily newspapers and magazines, and internet information centres. If we compare this country’s statistics with those of, say, the Baltic countries, the capacity of information is 3-4 times more.
In the region we are the leading country in advertising agencies, research groups and media consulting.
The development of small and medium size businesses and rural economy has crucial importance for the county.
Small and medium size businesses should be mostly oriented on production, production that has all the potential to be developed in Georgia.
Development of the rural economy is a natural trend and has vital importance for the country’s development by implementing new technologies.
Q. In your opinion, what is the potential for the banking sector’s development in Georgia?
A. The banking sector in Georgia is the backbone of economic development. At present the sector is quite stable, we can freely name 6-7 banks that have high awareness and provide security.
Q. In your opinion, has company spending changed in terms of research and consulting? What influence has the economic crisis had? And do companies pay more attention to research and consulting now than before?
A. Companies reduced their marketing spending, conducted optimization of staff and offices. And this has all been reflected in our profile companies. Our main strategy was oriented on sustaining our regular clients.
From the beginning of the year 2010 we have seen some positive changes in the environment, we have acquired new clients and have regular practices to conduct 2-3 serious projects.
Q. During the crisis, the companies first dismissed their marketing staff. Did the companies switch to outsourcing their marketing departments?
A. During a crisis companies should not lay off marketing staff, instead, management should be more interested in their advice on how to overcome the crisis, what the company should concentrate on, develop communication means or rather, respond to the concrete needs of consumers.
Still some companies do not recognize the necessity of their marketing departments. Moreover, they think that the majority of consulting companies do not provide qualified services in Georgia.
Our consulting and marketing centre is one of the leading ones in Georgia.
However, in large-scale companies, marketing divisions are formed, and companies have PR managers. The fact that both government and private sectors have PRs outlines the communication priority for the companies.
Q. In your opinion, what conditions should govern the success of your company?
A. The major factors are internal stability of the country, economic development that is in correlation with the development of our sector. The more dynamic development of the country the more budget companies have for marketing and advertising.
As for company internal factors we should strive for innovations, implementation of new technologies, offering new products and improving our services.