Best & Brightest Media Strategists: Kevin Arsham

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For Kevin Arsham, the way in which corporate America has embraced b-to-b marketing validates his pitches to clients during the past 13 years.

"I live and dream b-to-b," said Arsham, associate media director, business-to-business specialist at OMD, New York. "To me, it's what makes the world go round."

Arsham's modus operandi is to educate himself about a product and the potential marketplace, and then find creative ways of generating interest in it through placement.

"You want to have a tangible definition of the product," he said. "For GE [Transportation], I may not be able to hold an aircraft engine but I want to know about it. I want to see the sales force and know what do they see their customers doing. It [also] means going to the Internet and picking up magazines."

Arsham extended the marketing reach of GE Energy, another division of key client General Electric Co., by looking beyond turbines and placing ads for its digital, computer-aided and testing services in market-specific trade books.

He remains a big believer in vertical markets, using specialized business publications, digital and direct mail instead of a 30-second spot during a major sporting event.

"We're not going to reach as many people," Arsham said. "You're talking about a Super Bowl versus a publication with 100,000 circulation at most. But you're going to know who you get. And if we're lucky, we may be able to generate leads that have not been generated by the sales team."

Almost any company, he said, can break into the b-to-b marketplace. Recently, Arsham was approached by a cruise ship company that was looking for the best way to reach corporations that might use cruises as sales incentives for their employees.

Arsham's newest initiative is promoting the use of white papers as a marketing tool. The papers would focus on a problem in the marketplace and discuss solutions that include the client's own products. The papers themselves would build credibility for the client, while also branding and selling its products, he said.

-Mary Ellen Podmolik

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