USWeb kicks marketing efforts into high gear

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In a move to accelerate its already rapid growth, USWeb, the San Rafael, Calif.-based Web site development franchiser, has purchased its affiliates in Orange County, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington.

The company, which has its sights set on becoming a $2 billion to $3 billion company within five years, is in the middle of a $10 million branding campaign and sources say it wants to own up to 30% of its franchises. It currently has 54 franchises, more than halfway to its goal of 100 franchises covering every major U.S. market .


"There's the brick-by-brick method of building a company, or you can build a brand quickly through traditional marketing techniques," says Toby Corey, USWeb's exec VP of marketing.

USWeb has chosen the latter path, according to Mr. Corey.

Last December, USWeb announced an agreement with Microsoft Corp. to build applications around Microsoft's Active Platform software. In addition, USWeb is pursuing strategic alliances with several telephone companies under which the telcos would refer their business customers to USWeb affiliates.

While suggesting that a public stock offering is a possibility, company officials refuse to give any timetable.


The company's $10 million branding campaign will include a 100,000-piece direct mail effort designed with help from the Martha Feldt Group, Salt Lake City.

Late last month, ads touting the Microsoft alliance began appearing in trade magazines such as PCWeek, NetWeek, InfoWorld and Web World.

As part of USWeb's brand-building campaign, Mr. Corey also plans placements in general business and marketing publications. Additional co-op funds will be made available to affiliates based on sales, says Mr. Corey. Local ads may consist of everything from radio to print. Online components will include C/Net's, Pointcast, The Wall Street Journal Interactive and ZDNet.

USWeb also participates in about 100 trade shows annually.

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