From the February 2002 issue of Entrepreneur

What a Deal!

You need some marketing expertise on your team, but you can't afford to hire a full staff. Now might be a good time to look into an interim marketing manager, or IMM-a professional you hire on a temporary contract basis for a specific project.

Independent contractors are nothing new, but the recession is causing some serious budget-trimming. With so many marketing departments feeling the cuts, there are more marketers freelancing. "This time last year, our demand [for IMMs] exceeded our supply, and right now our supply is robust," says Michelle Boggs, co-founder of McKinley Marketing Partners Inc., an IMM placement firm in Alexandria, Virginia. "We have more talent [available] because of the market shift."

That kind of superior marketing talent helped out during two recent product launches for Outtask Inc., an ASP also in Alexandria. Even with a full-time marketing department in-house, Outtask founder Tom DePasquale, 41, counts on the specific skills IMMs can bring to the table. "In the case of product launches, when you have an awful lot of stuff to do in a short period of time," he says, "you hire an IMM and get their skills and, in some ways, their Rolodex-so you get the best of both worlds."

Calculating Clicks

If you sell ad space on your Web site, take heed-new guidelines for counting the number of times an ad is viewed online were recently released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in New York City. These guidelines are meant to end count discrepancies between Web publishers and advertisers, a move that could reportedly affect hundreds of millions of dollars in online ad revenues. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study commissioned by the IAB, revenues for the online ad revenue industry are estimated at nearly $8.2 billion.

The voluntary standards are meant to streamline the counting process by outlining standards everyone can follow. They stem from the fact that methods employed by advertisers and Web publishers to measure "click-throughs" (the number of times users click on an ad) are not universal and can lead to contradictory results.

For the latest guidelines and measurement tools, check out the IAB Web site at www.iab.net. The site also offers tools, such as a glossary of interactive advertising terms, guidelines for rich media ad formats, and a master list of spiders and robots (programs to collect Web page data).

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