Darian SR Heyman planned to become a teacher before he got involved with the Internet.
But in 1996, Heyman joined Wolverine Web Productions--with its lone computer atop a mini-fridge at the University of Michigan's Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house--and teaching fell by the wayside.
That startup became media planning and buying agency Beyond Interactive, and the 24-year-old New Jersey native is using his position as vice president of business development there to return to his teaching passion.
Now a featured speaker at industry seminars, Heyman belongs to San Francisco's Society of Internet Advancement and the FAST professional development committee. He is also a columnist for ClickZ, an interactive marketing newsletter.
"I love teaching. It's something that I'm good at," says Heyman, whose co-workers call him "Mr. Internet" due to his knowledge of interactive advertising and the Web. Heyman says he always has a stack of materials to peruse at home. "I get made fun of for all the reading I do."
He hopes this focus will help the Ann Arbor, Mich., shop reach a 1999 revenue goal of $5 million from clients like Data Recovery Labs, Better Homes & Gardens and NextCard Visa.
Heyman believes the Internet is being underutilized as a branding tool, and that cost-per-click and cost-per-transaction revenue deals don't necessarily work best for publishers. "The medium has really been relegated to a direct response role to date because it's so damn accountable," he says.
By focusing on direct marketing, the industry "tunnel visions." "What about the other 99 percent who are not clicking?" he asks. The key, according to Heyman, is "micromarketing on a mass scale, not mass marketing."
While "nobody's been fired for buying on Yahoo!," Heyman says his shop encourages clients to make small, short-term buys, identify successful sites and allocate resources to just those sites.
That method began when the agency worked for Mom and Pop shops. "Every dollar was justified," he says. "Every dollar was stretched as far as it would go."
The agency tracks effectiveness beyond the click, to see if a banner ended in a sale even after a long period of time. "There's a tremendous potential to optimize clients' efforts during a campaign," he says.
And that's lesson No. 1 from Mr. Internet himself.