CONSULTANT TO MARKETERS MARKETS A CONSULTANCY: TECH NEWBIE DUBOFF WILL SPREAD WORD ON ERNST & YOUNG'S E-PROWESS

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Robert s. duboff is getting wired. On his second day as director of national marketing for Ernst & Young, he passed a technological milestone.

"I learned how to do e-mail today," said Mr. Duboff, fresh from computer training. "I think I know what I'm doing."

That's good since a lot of Ernst & Young's future growth is built around technology, and Mr. Duboff's new job is to spread the word.

Mr. Duboff's responsibilities include overseeing all marketing strategies for North American operations, a post in which he succeeds Stephanie Shern, who moved on to head Ernst & Young's consumer and retail practice.

His job will be to set apart Ernst & Young's services, which are expanding beyond traditional management consulting to activities in information technology and other tech-related fields. It also is expanding its marketing efforts; last year the company moved its $13 million ad account to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York.

In his new post, Mr. Duboff said he plans to use all possible communications channels-including public relations, forums and conferences-in his marketing efforts, not just advertising.

But D'Arcy can rest easy. In spite of the "not just advertising" talk, Mr. Duboff said he likes the current campaign, which broke in March.

'FROM THOUGHT TO FINISH'

He said the new tagline, "From thought to finish," really expresses Ernst & Young's strength of generating strong ideas and implementing them successfully.

For now, Mr. Duboff plans to remain based in Boston, where previously he worked for Mercer Management Consulting as a VP specializing in strategic marketing services. He also was that company's first director of corporate marketing.

He initially trained to be a lawyer, earning a law degree from Harvard, but said he found the field too confining because of the need for individual specialization. By contrast, marketers can be general practitioners, and he "liked the idea of being a generalist."

Still, legal training can be helpful for a consultant who has to solve varied problems, including marketing ones, Mr. Duboff said.

"Lawyers tend to think of all sides of every issue . . . marketers can fall in love with their sizzle," he said.

Sizzle-loving or not, he remains a member of the Massachussets Bar Association and jokes that "I even like some lawyers."

Mr. Duboff joined Mercer's predecessor 23 years ago and helped found its marketing practice and litigation support business. During his career there, he worked with a client roster that included Sprint Corp., Walt Disney Co. and E*Trade, among others.

The switch from dealing with consulting clients to marketing consulting services is not as hard as it might seem, Mr. Duboff said. Technology is driving many of the changes in business today, particularly in the rise of e-commerce and the Internet, he noted, and these factors will affect consulting as much as they affect consultants' clients.

The only difference is that "now, all my clients work for Ernst & Young," he said. "There's a pretty broad variety [of activities] here and many changes

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