Buzz Marketing Group, Voorhees, New Jersey
Many big companies sell to the teen demographic, but most are blissfully unaware of what exactly resonates with their target market. Tina Wells, 30, founder and CEO of Buzz Marketing Group, delivers the truth straight from a small army of 9,000 kids, teens, and young adults, whom she anoints as buzzSpotters. That's good for Wells's clients (which include Procter & Gamble, American Eagle, Sony Music, and the like) but perhaps even better for these young people, who now know that they can change the way a company addresses them. "I used to think, Who am I to have an opinion that matters?" says Meghan Mahony, a buzzSpotter who last year joined Buzz Marketing Group as a part-time employee. "It's really cool that my opinion is something these companies care about."
That's not the only good thing to come from Wells's immersion in youth culture. She heard from mothers that their young daughters were reading trashy and age-inappropriate novels. That inspired Wells to begin writing a tween book series, Mackenzie Blue (also the name of the first book in the series), about an ordinary girl who has an extraordinary life because she has good values and surrounds herself with positive people. "I wanted to write an antidote to mean-girl culture," says Wells. "My character is really every girl. I wanted to tell tween girls that you are not alone in what you are going through, and you are great the way you are."