Partners Swipes Open Market From TFA/Burnett

Change in Marketers Spurs Switch; Aim Is to Regain Momentum
BOSTON–Partners & Simons is gearing up to defend Open Market’s position as the top seller of e-commerce software.
The Boston shop won creative duties for the Burlington, Mass., company’s $3-4 million ad account after a two-month review of undisclosed agencies. Carat Freeman in Newton, Mass., handles media buying.
The account was previously held by TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group for more than a year. The Boston agency did not participate in the review.
Open Market split with TFA after a new corporate marketing director came on board. Former director Wendy Ziner left for Internet specialist Akamai Technologies in Cambridge, Mass. That company selected TFA as its agency of record this fall.
The new director, Jay Fiore, previously head of Open Market’s electronic marketing, said he chose Partners & Simons because of its technology marketing experience and belief in collaboration.
“They offer more client involvement than most agencies,” he said. “It’s a good thing as a client to be able to participate more.”
Partners & Simons principal Gib Trub said his shop was eager to work with an e-commerce leader. “If you look at who’s providing the infrastructure, there aren’t many players,” Trub said. “These guys are well-positioned to be a serious player for a long time.”
Founded in 1994, Open Market was an early pioneer in Internet commerce. Its financial transaction products are used by companies such as AT&T and America Online. The company’s market share, however, fell to 22 percent from 31 percent in 1998 on sales of $62 million, while market competitors such as Broadvision have made gains.
To help regain momentum, Open Market merged two months ago with Future Tense, a content management company in Acton, Mass. Print advertisements touting new capabilities are now running, and a brand campaign will break in first-quarter 2000.