Go into most Tiger Mart convenient stores across Tennessee and there may be a life-size cardboard cutout of a blonde-haired, female comic character holding up a smartphone and asking you to opt-in to receive discounts and alerts from Tiger Mart via text message.
That's Bethany Burnham. Or, that's Bethany Burnham's likeness.
Her mother, Susanne Burnham, is the developer and CEO of Click, Click, BOOM!, a Chattanooga-based mobile marketing firm. The company is settling into its new digs on East 11th Street and prepping for a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting today.
Bethany Burham is in town for the event, taking a break from studying in New York City. Her mom jokes that using Bethany as the model for the ad campaign is "kind of cheesy."
But on this end of the business - the starting up side of things - it was a great way to get a trained actor to model and save some money.
The way Burnham explained it, mobile marketing is really mobile device marketing. It's a technique that plays on modern society's love of immediacy and its devices. She calls it "the future."
Burnham cited statistics that say over 90 percent of people on the planet have a cell phone. And that the average cell phone user checks a text within three minutes of receiving it.
The idea to put a company's name and product in the palm of consumers' hands isn't a new one.
Mobile marketing also allows companies to "cherry pick their customers," said Maura Lambert, director of public relations at Click, Click, BOOM!.
But until recently, text message marketing was clunky, simple and sort of ugly.
Burnham and Lambert said President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign helped change that. On the biggest stage, the Obama campaign "shed the light on text marketing in the campaign arena," said Lambert.
Following the technique's new popularity, Burnham wanted to start a mobile marketing company of her own in Chattanooga. She turned to The Company Lab, an idea and entrepreneurial think-tank and incubator, in July and took part in its three-month accelerator program.
Successfully off the ground, Click, Click, BOOM! is moving from Co.Lab to office space in the old Fleetwood Coffee building at E. 11th Street.
Burnham hopes the roughly 1,500-square-foot facility will someday be expanded. And she's dreaming big, hoping also that Click, Click, BOOM! will be as ubiquitous as GoDaddy.com.
If all goes to plan, she said the company hopes to create 50 local jobs in sales, IT and customer service within the next two years, all while the drive to national recognition is on. She thinks Chattanooga is the perfect breeding ground for growth.
"I think this is the Silicon Valley of the South," Burnham said. "But even better."
Contact Alex Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 as a region business reporter. He is a native of Dayton, Tenn., located 35 miles north of Chattanooga, and he is a fifth-generation Dayton native. Alex came to the Times Free Press as an editorial intern in July 2013. He was previously a correspondent at The Herald-News, located in Dayton, through college and editor-in-chief of the Triangle, Bryan College's student-led media group. Alex was ...