Brian Swette's always wanted to work at a place where his three kids would say, "That's cool, Dad." Not only has he landed at just such a place, but Brian Swette, senior VP-marketing and international of online auction house eBay, has helped the company become a "natural part of pop culture," he says.
The 45-year-old has spent plenty of time marketing "cool" companies, including 17 years at Pepsi-Cola Co., where he was exec VP-chief marketing officer, and before that at Procter & Gamble Co. But Mr. Swette, who's been with eBay since last August, says that while the same principles of marketing apply in the online world as the traditional world, the "growth of the company and speed of decisionmaking is extraordinary and atomic" compared with that of brick and mortar marketers.
One of the few Internet companies that can boast profitability-$12.2 million in revenues in the third quarter of '98 alone-eBay touts 3.8 million registered users and sold $550 million worth of merchandise in the first quarter of 1999. It gets a percentage of each successful sale as well as a fee for listing the items.
The company, under Mr. Swette's direction, last May named Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, as its ad agency and plans to soon launch a national branding campaign that's targeted to various affinity groups the site represents.
"At the end of the day, the winners of the Internet space will be just like the winners of traditional space, in that they create brands that are trusted," he says.
In addition to traditional advertising, eBay also builds partnerships with companies that enhance people's experience on the site and facilitate more effective auctions. Eastman Kodak Co., Lloyds of London and Mailboxes Etc. are all marketing partners of eBay.
"It's all about creating relationships to support the service and the brand,"