Gateway pursues business PC users

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Gateway wants customers to know it means business--literally. The No. 2 direct seller of computers this week launches a $50 million marketing campaign targeted at business computer users.

[email protected], a multimedia effort created by McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, is designed to boost Gateway's mind share in the business computer world. Although half of Gateway's total sales--almost $7.5 billion in 1998--are to business customers, the company is perceived mainly as a consumer PC company. Gateway split itself into separate consumer and business divisions in September 1998.

"This is a unifying and repositioning of Gateway Business," said Tom Hume, director of marketing communications for the unit. "While we've done advertising over the past year, this is designed to get our message out to the business community in a tangible way."

He estimated the company will spend more than $50 million in total marketing--including advertising, direct marketing, Internet and sales promotion--on the effort. That represents about a 60% increase over 1999 spending, he said.

The first [email protected] ads are print, appearing in business and computer publications such as Business Week, CIO, Forbes, Fortune and PC Week, and in local newspapers in large markets.


The first seven Gateway print ads feature one-liners that point up a Gateway solution. "Gateway wants to go one on one with you" alludes to the computer maker's business account representatives, while "You can have your desk back now" demonstrates the benefits of Gateway's thin Profile PC. New print executions are already in production and will roll out continually through the year.

TV will be used, Mr. Hume said. That work will be tested in the second quarter, with plans to roll out on a bigger scale by the third quarter.

The concept [email protected] is intended to have several meanings. One is that Gateway is a great computer not just for home use but for work, Mr. Hume said. Another translation is that Gateway is the workhorse for businesses, with its hardware and services.

"We want to take our reputation as friendly, straightforward and as a company that gets things done to the business customer and say we're serious about business, too," Mr. Hume said.


The new Gateway campaign comes as its chief rival seeks to revamp its own image. Dell Computer, the No. 1 PC direct marketer, is on a reverse track--trying to expand its reputation in business computers to the home PC market. About 70% of Dell's total sales--more than $18 billion in 1999--are to large corporations and government organizations. Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, handles Dell.

In the business arena, Gateway competes not only with fellow direct marketer Dell but also Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp.

Copyright January 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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