Lieber Levett's Goal: Create a Buzz for Client

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Lieber Levett Koenig Farese Babcock, New York, has been awarded the integrated marketing communications account for Productbuzz Inc., a Web-based business-to-business destination providing industry-specific product information and e-commerce partnering and marketing opportunities.


Upon making the announcement, Productbuzz chairman/CEO Bob Lieber said the company had identified a core business need for which the Internet is ideally suited: providing rapid and easy access to product information and to purchasing capability.


"What's special about the Productbuzz business model is that it benefits not only the industry professionals who are its audience but also the wholesaler and manufacturer affiliates whose products are available via the Productbuzz sites," Lieber said.


The company's initial two Web sites -- homehealth.productbuzz.com and pharmacy.productbuzz.com -- serve the home healthcare and pharmacy industries respectively, and there are plans to expand into additional vertical business segments later this year, which will mean more work for Lieber Levett.


The agency, which was founded in 1996, currently works for clients such as JP Morgan, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Red, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoWellcome.


Mallory Kates, vice president of marketing at Productbuzz, Boulder, CO, said the company selected Lieber Levett because of the agency's ability to help build the new brand while executing a strong, focused business strategy. "They bring the big agency thinking and experience we wanted but proved themselves nimble enough to produce the type of break-through-the-noise creative that Productbuzz will demand," she said.


The assignment, launching with a budget of $7 million to $10 million, includes branding and positioning; advertising online and offline; and direct marketing to drive awareness, site traffic, membership and activation.


Loreen Babcock, president of Lieber Levett, said the agency initially will focus on building a communications model based on a brand platform that can solidly support Productbuzz's first two vertical groups as well as additional sites expected to launch in the coming year.


Kates acknowledged that traditionally "there are not major brand names offering what we are offering, so we don't have a situation where we are competing with others in a defined space."


But she said that the other companies offering similar services are not known to users any better than Productbuzz. With the help of Lieber Levett, Kates said Productbuzz would focus on getting its name recognized among pharmacists, rehabilitation therapists and managers of long-term care facilities.


"They all buy products from companies that we host on our Web sites," she said. "But what's interesting is that we are the ones bringing the Internet convenience to these professionals. We are not replacing the brand names that they know and trust. We are simply aggregating the customers and bringing them to our Web site for manufacturers and distributors."


According to Kates, the key to turning the company's name into a household word among the right people could be accomplished only by "hiring an agency that understood direct response-oriented marketing."


She said many of the prospects Productbuzz was going to pursue still may not be familiar with the Web, especially in a purchasing setting.


"A lot of these people are late adopters. They are cautious, but when they find us, they'll find it's smart, easy and convenient," she said. "I thinks it's going to be hard for somebody to come along in six months and steal any of these people away from us."


Lieber Levett's first targeted direct mail effort for Productbuzz begins next week, followed by a trade print campaign. In July, a corporate image campaign will run with direct mail, collateral and advertisements in Forbes and Red Herring.


Neither Lieber Levett or Productbuzz would characterize the exact industry segments being targeted, the number of pieces being mailed or the geographic regions of the country on which they will focus.
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