The company delivered another steady performance for the f inancial year ending June, with revenue and earnings per share advancing 10%, while the dividend jumped by 71% to 12c/share.
The hike in dividends was done on the basis of strong operating cash f lows and a very healthy bank balance. At f inancial year end, the company sat with R120m in cash with minimal debt (R4.8m), meaning that every share (trading at R2.60 at the time of writing) was backed up with R0.83 in net cash.
The c ompany c omprises t wo operating divisions: Mediaworx, which provides targeted media campaigns across a range of electronic platforms, and Bizworx, which operates fax-toemail services that transmit over 50m images a year.
But the company is embarking on a new initiative called Knowledge 350, which with t he forthcoming promulgation of t he Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), will provide the opportunity to offer clients a more rounded marketing and data collection solution.
Foneworx CEO Mark Smith believes that POPI will affect every organisation that has a database with consumer information. “It’s going to change the way databases have been built over time. The legislation will require companies to have explicit permission from an individual to hold their personal information – which includes things like names, ID numbers and phone numbers. They will also have to communicate with consumers in the channels stipulated by the consumer – be it SMS, email or in writing.”
The t hrust of Knowledge 350’s proposition is to give companies a much better picture of their clients. This will extend databases from holding purely demographic information to include things like Living Standard Measures a nd ps y c hographic i nfor mation (lifestyle preferences). “It’s a 15-step business process that helps collect the data and provide far more detail on the consumer than they currently have, all in compliance with POPI,” says Smith.
This will t ransform marketing campaigns f rom mass marketing exercises to more one-to-one, targeted marketing. For example, to a consumer that has expressed an interest in trail running and has granted consent for an apparel company to send them marketing information, Foneworx would be able to send an electronic voucher for running shoes to the person and provide feedback as to if, and where, the voucher was redeemed.
This will entail longer relationships with clients as Foneworx will consult, design and deliver a l l aspects of data col l ection, management and t he execution of campaigns. “Our clients have typically used us for short periods, but in anticipation of doing more consulting work, we have acquired minority stakes in consumer research firms like BMI and Living Facts. And we will look to do more in the related fields of customer relationship management and social media,” says Smith.
The i nit i at i v e has j ust been launched, and investors will be eager to see how well it progresses over the next financial year.