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One of the coolest ecommerce jobs around!

This is a spectacularly cool retained search for a President of iboats.com, one of the largest online retailers of recreational boat parts and accessories and boating forums on the planet. My intake calls with iboats’ board of directors spanned two marathon sessions of 1 hour, 45 minutes each. The volume of information I can share with qualified candidates far exceeds anything I have pulled together in the past.

For competitive reasons there’s a limit to what I can share here.

Based in Draper, UT (20 minutes from Salt Lake City), the primary responsibility for this role is to grow sales at an established ecommerce company. Before I get cranked up, Salt Lake City rocks:

Honestly! Who wouldn’t want to live there??

Anyway: iboats has been around for 20 years and has been profitable the entire time. The firm enjoys some of the most-trusted relationships with OEM and after-market brands in the industry — so it’s vital the President continue to nurture these supplier relationships.

The President’s job will be to develop a broad marketing approach targeting boat parts and accessories consumers as well as the larger sporting goods market on the water. The challenge with this search is that I’ll be looking for a President who’s not only excellent at business strategy and marketing, but also understands how to develop a world-class online customer experience to drive customer repeat purchases and lifetime value.

Expect a grilling during our phone screen!

You’ll need to understand not only SEO and paid search — but also affiliate marketing, direct response, email, and comparison shopping engines as they apply to 1.) driving sales, and 2.) strengthening iboats’ thriving online community. You’ll also need to select, develop, and integrate new technologies to achieve yours goals — so you can count on a good quizzing there, too.

About iboats’ online community: Currently, it’s the largest online community of boaters on earth – with 500,000 registered users and hundreds of thousands of posts every day. That’s what you’re inheriting, so you’ll need to understand how to nurture it and leverage it for profitable growth.

Combining content, commerce, and community.

Can you do that? Show us how! We’d like to see evidence of your success of in driving revenue and cultural change across every area of an online retail business of up to $100 million in sales. Truly, there’s a great deal of work to be done by iboats’ new President, particularly in Marketing, Operations, Strategy, Technology, and Organizational Design.

But the market opportunity for iboats is huge.

According to iboats’ board of directors, the U.S. market for recreational boating products and services is a whopping $37 billion. There are 16 million boaters in the United States and 88 million boating participants. Sheesh. Who knew?

The market for boating supplies is $5 billion, excluding complementary apparel and outdoor accessories. iboats board estimates that the industry includes 35,000 businesses and 350,000 employees. Every year, more than 500,000 used boats are sold, in addition to 1 million new boats. As usual, …

I’ve pulled my own market research which is every bit as bullish as iboats’.

The company’s current strategy calls for a fair amount of business model innovation and online product development. Again, I’d love to share it with you — but I won’t here.

Suffice it to say: You’ll need to build upon the board’s vision for the business (which is totally sane but ballsy) and bring it to life. That vision draws on multiple digital revenue models, possibly combining elements of advertising, ecommerce, subscriptions, peer-to-peer, transaction processing, licensing, data, and mobile.

Obviously, it takes a special team to make that happen.

The organization will need to be able to metabolize that kind of innovation and change. We’d expect you to be able to map out and drive change in clear, relatable, reality-based ways that are hard on the issues and soft on the people.

As a seasoned ecommerce leader, you already know that “people fear what they don’t understand and kill what they fear.” Your first order of business will be to establish trust and credibility with the team and help them understand that where iboats is going is better than its historical best – but believable. It’s up to you to help the team understand what they can do to close the Marketing Performance Gap.

Lately, when considering a search assignment at this level, I find myself asking myself “How would I feel if this client paid their executive search fee in stock? Would I invest many thousands of dollars of my own money in this company?”

Here the answer’s YES. The company is profitable and has plenty of working capital. Additionally, there’s a HUGE opportunity to expand the market while grabbing low-hanging online marketing “quick wins.” I spent 3.5 hours on the phone with these folks discussing their margins; inventory turns; growth rates and forecasts per category; and much, much more.

Nothing makes me work harder than a transparent client.

To reiterate: The role is based in metro SLC and you absolutely, positively must relocate for this job. If you’d like to apply for the role, please click here now. I’ll follow up with you by phone and if we both agree that your candidacy has legs, I can share additional information about the client on the phone.

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Harry Joiner

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