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Doremus & Co., the premier b-to-b ad agency within the Omnicom Group, has a single-minded focus: understanding how executives and corporate investors make business decisions, and creating campaigns that directly target their needs.

The agency achieved its fifth straight year of more than 20% revenue growth in 2000 and has doubled billings since 1996. Its 2000 revenue was $46 million, virtually all of which was b-to-b, with the exception of about $1 million in consumer advertising for Guardian Insurance Co.

"So much of what’s done in business is about the very important decisions that affect your life, your legacy and your business," said Lou Rubin, chief marketing officer at Doremus. "We come up with a unique and differentiating positioning platform for clients to transform the entire enterprise," he said.

Most of the campaigns Doremus creates for clients use fully integrated media, but the company is particularly dedicated to using the Internet as part of the overall marketing mix.

"I have been extremely impressed with the strategic way they have approached the Internet for the b-to-b advertiser," said Rudy Grahn, analyst at Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. "Their sophisticated understanding of the interactive space makes them absolutely uniquely positioned to exploit the dynamic capabilities of the Internet for the b-to-b advertiser."

Humble beginnings

The agency, which was founded in 1903 as the in-house ad agency for Dow Jones & Co. Inc., was spun off in the 1930s as an independent agency. It was acquired by BBDO Worldwide in 1982. When Omnicom was formed in 1986, Doremus was made an independent agency as part of the group. Recently, it has produced several award-winning campaigns for b-to-b clients such as ITT Industries Inc., Hitachi America Ltd. and Saba Software Inc.

For a campaign repositioning ITT, which garnered an Addy Gold Award in 2000, Doremus created the theme "Engineered for life," to communicate the relevance of ITT’s industrial products to life. The objective was to raise awareness among users of ITT’s vast product line, which ranges from industrial pumps to computer switches. The campaign launched in the spring of 2000, including TV, print, online, an extensive Web site, events and PR, and included everyday scenes of people at work—from farmers to doctors—using ITT’s products.

"It gave the company a soul," Rubin said. "It gave everyone at the company a fundamental pride and an understanding that no matter what they did, even making a miniature switch that goes on the back of a computer, or night-vision goggles, it all meant something."

"It helped break us out of the mold of being a traditional industrial advertiser," said Tom Martin, senior VP and director-corporate relations for ITT Industries. After ITT’s relaunch, the company moved from No. 9 on Fortune’s list of most admired companies in 1999 to No. 2 in 2000, and No. 3 in 2001. "Doremus has a high level of proficiency in strategic work, creative development and account service," Martin said. "They’re very good at focusing on b-to-b."

For Corning Inc., Doremus was challenged with creating a repositioning campaign for the manufacturer of glass and fiber optics products, which had not done any b-to-b advertising since World War II, when it manufactured glass lenses for warships. When Doremus pitched for the account, those antiquated print ads were still hanging on the company’s walls, Rubin said. "They had a real perceptual problem," he said. "People still thought of them as the company that made Pyrex dishes."

So in December, Doremus launched a fully integrated campaign for Corning that included TV, print, online, PR, direct mail, events and an intranet site for employees. The message was that no matter what happens in the future, Corning would play a role in it through its fiber optic networks and optimal networking.

"We wanted to find an agency where our account would get the focus, attention and care we felt it deserved," said David Caplan, a Corning spokesman. "They have just been great in terms of understanding our needs and understanding what we’re trying to accomplish," he said.

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