TargetMarket Interactive has chosen Tony Gauthier to spearhead its move into the South.
TMI, a Los Angeles agency that specializes in business-to-business marketing, opens here this month. It hopes to capitalize on the void created by the dissolution of e-commerce shops like iXL and marchFirst.
"There have been a significant number of agency closures, mergers and retrenchments that are leaving business with few choices for their interactive marketing needs," said Michael Rice, president and chief executive officer of TMI. "We believe Atlanta, like many other markets, is extremely underserviced."
Locally, TMI will go head-to-head with established e-commerce shops like Macquarium Intelligent Communications, agency.com and 360i, competition the 33-year-old Gauthier said he welcomes.
"We get paid for performance," said Gauthier. "A major point of difference with the competition is our ability to integrate multi-channel marketing solutions for our clients—everything from e-mail to traditional print advertising."
TMI will staff up over the next months, Gauthier said, allowing the Atlanta location to offer a range of marketing services including advertising and media planning and buying. Work will be based on pay-for-performance and other results-driven metrics.
The company will also handle interactive promotional services such as sweepstakes contests and product giveaways.
Gauthier arrived in Atlanta from Syracuse, N.Y., two years ago as director of advertising productsat The Weather Channel's weath-er.com site. He left to become director of business development at e-commerce consultancy Answerthink's Southeast office, a position he held for eight months.
Last fall, in a job interview with Rice, a former iXL executive, Gauthier made a convincing case for opening an Atlanta outpost.
"I said, 'There's a lot of opportunity in the Southeast for interactive services, especially targeting b-to-b companies,' " recalled Gauthier. "[It is] not necessarily designing banner ads or large Web sites trying to reach consumers."
In Los Angeles, TMI has done marketing work for AltaVista, BMC Software, Cheap Tickets, Virgin Megastores and Microsoft Home Advisor, among other clients.