But to Jay Fiore, eBay Business senior manager of marketing, this is just a good start.
"It's a huge, barely tapped market for us," Fiore said. "Right now 75 million people in the U.S. use eBay ... and about one-third have made some sort of business purchase." Still, he said more could be done to reach additional business users and entice current users to make more business purchases.
EBay Business' marketing efforts for 2005 included an ongoing emphasis on large capital investment equipment, an expanded marketing program to include both buyers and sellers in messaging, and changes to the both the buy and sell sides to make using eBay Business easier and more attractive.
The focus on capital equipment not only generates big-ticket revenue but also offers a subtler trust message. If eBay is a reliable seller of large and expensive items-such as farm equipment, metalworking and welding machinery, and restaurant equipment-that spills over to a reliable, trusted seller of smaller business items, Fiore said. In fact, office equipment and supplies was one of eBay Business' fast growth categories in 2005, he said.
A new ad campaign featured "split-screen" print ads, in an extension of eBay's buyer testimonial ad. The campaign, created by Slack Barshinger, still features one item sold but from two perspectives-with the buyer's story on half of the page and the seller's on the other. The campaign ran in print specialty publications, online and in direct marketing pieces.
In the past year, the eBay Business Web hub was also relaunched, a move that included the addition of an eBay Business link on the ebay.com home page. Fiore said this link not only gives the business side more traffic but raises its visibility and profile as a serious eBay venture.
Behind the scenes, eBay Business changed the way it pays affiliate Web sites, now offering a percentage of its profit to sellers, versus a flat fee for new customer sign-ups and clicks. Fiore said the change offers an incentive for affiliates to advertise and link to higher ticket, but still popular, items.
Fiore joined eBay in 2002 from Constant Flow, where he was VP of marketing. Before that, he was director of corporate marketing for Open Market. Before Open Market, he worked at Lotus Development Corp., where he was a Lotus Notes evangelist and manager of partner marketing for Lotus Notes.
-Beth Snyder Bulik