Talifhani Banks is the Founder and CEO of Analytics Advertising, a multi-disciplinary advertising, marketing, and brand building agency. He originally established himself in the actuarial and econometrics sphere, and then reinvented himself in the analytics industry by launching Analytics Advertising. We spoke to Talifhani about his entrepreneurial journey and the value proposition of his company Analytics Advertising.
Hello Talifhani and thank you for participating in this Q&A session. Please give us an overview of your background, career milestones, and most importantly, how you got into entrepreneurship?
Talifhani: I originally come from Louis Trichardt, A small town in Limpopo. Growing up, I had ambitions to be an entrepreneur, I fell in love with education and excelled in it. So, I decided to find my way to the top through education. I studied Statistics at the University of Pretoria and specialised in Econometrics.
When I graduated, I just needed to kickstart my career, so I applied for jobs as an Intern Data Analyst. It wasn't long after graduating that I got my first job as an Intern Data Analyst at a US Consulting firm. I learned a lot there and I believe that's where my love for entrepreneurship arose. Again, I knew I couldn't make a business out of that knowledge alone.
While working in my first job, I noticed I was undermined a lot and shown no respect. I learned that no matter how much you do, they just don't respect you. So, I tried to start an analytics business in 2014, but it didn't work because I only just started figuring things out.
In 2015, I moved to one of the largest retailer in SA as a Pricing Analyst. I had some money to invest myself in media production, and I used my analytics knowledge to assist some personal brands. I saw people becoming successful through my knowledge in 2016, I knew then that this can be a powerful business. I was signing huge partnership deals for some personal brands. This is what led me to create Analytics Advertising, which incorporated Analytics and Media together.
How much of your background and environment has influenced your entrepreneurial journey?
Talifhani: My background has been the backbone to my entrepreneurial journey. I started selling at a train station, I had to sell to assist at home. I learned a lot about people from that time, and I learned that selling was a skill that came natural to me. I didn't enjoy that type of selling though, but I loved counting profit. It even got to the point I had to sell at school. I never smoked or hung out with people who didn't take life serious, my life has been serious and intentional.
What key challenges have you faced through your entrepreneurial journey to date?
Talifhani: One of my biggest challenges was the mindset needed to change. Sometimes we have this different consumer mentality that we don't want to admit. To adjust and think like a producer comes with its own challenges.
Learning how to think like a producer, and be patience or faithful like a farmer, is what I would say was the biggest challenge. Many people want things now, they are not consistent and they just assume things should come to them fast. It is not always the case, great things take time and they require patience, more work and enough sleep. Consistency is key and I had to adapt to this.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders that are looking to launch a business in Africa?
Talifhani: Africa is rich and wealthy, but our mindset of wanting things quickly, wanting things to be given to us, dependency, and not working hard should change. We are dependent people and that mindset is what holds us back.
To become a thought leader in something, you have to have walked the road. Reading things and talking about them, doesn't mean you understand them. We are educated mainly with theories from a text book but now we need or should seek practical knowledge.
Nothing will be given to you. Be consistent and intentional, mind your surroundings and people you are talking to, because your words create.
When you spend time with people who don't believe in you, what do you think happens? It's all about living in the realm, creating things In your imagination that connects with the higher power. Learn as you act and be patient.
Where did the idea for “Analytics Advertising” come from, and what problem or opportunity is it addressing?
Talifhani: I had a vision to build a consulting company that would not only become successful but solve complex data analytics problems to create amazing campaigns for brands. I knew that I would need guys with coding skills, analytics skills and creatives. The Idea came from consulting, working with big retailers, and also getting involved Into media projects.
We are a digital transformation partner for emerging and large enterprises. We build digital products for large enterprises. We clean and build models that would assist large enterprises to understand their customers better. We create target campaigns that are influenced by internal and market Analytics.
What makes the value proposition of “Analytics Advertising” unique when compared to other advertising agencies in Africa?
Talifhani: Other advertising agencies are creatives that create amazing campaigns. We are a Data Science company that uses Analytics to understand customer behaviour. We build systems internally that help corporates understand their customers better. We create targeted campaigns that are influenced by Analytics.
Why does “Analytics Advertising” call itself Africa’s Silicon Valley?
Talifhani: We want to become Africa's digital transformation hub, assisting large enterprises to grow digitally. We are also building a product that will solve some of our problems including mobile money.
Who is the target market of “Analytics Advertising” and what is your current geographical reach?
Talifhani: We are targeting large enterprises that are big in Africa. We are starting to employ a team in each country that our clients operate in. In the future we should be dominating in Africa.
Before we end the interview, please tell us what the expansion plans are for "Analytics Advertising"?
Talifhani: We plan to build Systems that will solve some of Africa's problems, and this means we will continue growing exponentially in Africa .We are also looking at opening offices in New York and London.
We have come to the end of the interview, and would like to thank you for participating in this Q&A session.
Talifhani: Thank you for the opportunity. I plan to create a platform for the African Economy. Data is the new Diamond and I am running a Data Science company from Africa in Africa.