i.20: DoubleClick's Wenda Harris Millard

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Years of executive work in print publishing prepped Wenda Harris Millard to help lead one of the most formidable companies in the new, Internet-based economy: DoubleClick. "I like to think I was a student all those years," Ms. Millard says. The New York-based online ad network hired Ms. Millard in 1996 to establish the DoubleClick name and oversee the DoubleClick Network, which now represents more than 100 Web sites. She also heads the network's 200 person ad-sales force.

She's come a long way from her days as the 9-year-old editor, publisher, head writer and circulation director at the Archer Lane Scoop, her Lynnfield, Mass., school newspaper.

As it has with many ad sales professionals who cut their teeth in print publishing, the Internet and its promise of revolutionary communications and commerce lured Ms. Millard away from traditional media.

"When the Net came along, the idea that a medium could begin to answer some of the greatest advertising questions of all time made me realize I had to be in the middle of it," she says.

GOING 'INTERGALACTIC'

Those questions include how to reach a target audience, how to manage reach and frequency, how to control who you are reaching and when, how to test and change creative instantaneously, and how to measure advertising's accountability.

"The Internet has the ability to get closer to answering [those questions] than other media," Ms. Millard says, adding that her passion for marketing and for solving marketers' problems made it easy for her to embrace the Internet as a panacea.

"The way to frame looking at the future of the Internet is to understand that this is not just a medium, it is a marketplace," she says. "That said, we are all questioning what we do as marketers advertising on the Internet. Advertising is one opportunity on the Internet but it is a narrow descriptor; we are literally marketing on the Internet. [The Internet] has brilliant opportunities for branding, but it goes right down to the sale."

And what does Ms. Millard want for DoubleClick? "To see us go intergalactic," she says. "Our focus on media, technology and data--I see that as creating endless opportunities."

"I want to help everyone at DoubleClick understand marketers' wants and needs so we can continue to develop products for them."

Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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