DDB Creates In-House B2B Unit

L.A. Shop’s Aim Is to Offer Entrepreneurial Spirit, Global Reach
LOS ANGELES–Responding to the Internet-driven explosion of business-to-business advertisers, DDB’s Los Angeles office has launched an in-house B2B unit that will assist clients with their on- and offline objectives and actively seek new business in the category.
The division is headed by Bud Gilson, whose background includes work on tech-driven accounts such as Xerox and AST Computers and stints at Team One Advertising, William Esty and Needham, Harper & Steers, among other agencies.
“From the industrial advertising of 20 years ago, it is incredible how sexy B2B advertising has become. The B2B client’s business has become so complex that it really takes a lot more time and resources for agencies,” Gilson said. “Many [Web-based B2B clients] are new businesses with a need to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. … Our belief is that most consumer-driven agencies aren’t prepared to deal with this and bring not only branding functions but integrated resources, like direct and interactive, to the challenge.”
The genesis of the division was a phone call between Gilson, who had been consulting with DDB Los Angeles, and Dave Park, the agency’s CEO. They were discussing the explosive growth of the category, Park recalled, and “when it occurred to me that the B2B idea was timely, we weren’t on the phone for five minutes before we had a deal.”
The key element in their thinking was that entrepreneurial enterprises like Web-based B2B companies demand entrepreneurial advertising partners, which is why so many of them opt for smaller shops. The key advantage DDB hopes to offer is that its dedicated team of specialists exists within an organization that can offer global reach and resources. “The difference between B2B, Web-based businesses and almost any other conventional business is they are instantly global and the brand has to work everywhere,” Park said.
The division is currently working with DDB clients Goto.com, a search engine; GOwarehouse, an online hub for logistics and supply-chain management; Medibuy.com, an online medical product marketer; and One Voice Technologies, a developer of voice-recognition technology.
Following DDB’s integrated marketing model, the new B2B division includes six dedicated staffers but will utilize agency resources in several areas, including the direct marketing, interactive, account planning, media and creative departments.