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We are working with Maclaren in its search for a VP of Marketing based in Norwalk, CT. Maclaren is a world-renown manufacturer of baby buggies and strollers, founded in 1965 by Owen Maclaren, the inventor of the first umbrella-fold stroller. Today, strollers based around Mr. Maclaren’s original design are sold in over 50 countries under the Maclaren brand.

As Maclaren’s new VP of Marketing, you will be responsible for the vision, strategy, and execution of the firm’s strategic marketing initiatives worldwide. Additionally, you will collaborate with Maclaren’s ecommerce team in the creation of all digital content in order to drive consumers from all channels to ecommerce site.

Moreover, you will be responsible for leading the development of Maclaren’s strategic digital roadmap, and you will see to it that there is a seamless brand image regardless of the channel.

In concert with Maclaren’s ecommerce team, your marketing team will create relevant content to support high-quality customer acquisition and drive revenue. Additionally, Customer Experience and After Sales Care will fall in your bailiwick, as will Sponsorship and Events; Trade Marketing; and Retail Programs including POS and collateral development.

You will drive NPD program management, competitor benchmarking and analysis, while overseeing line and competitive reviews to develop range assortments and spearhead key new product initiatives in all product categories.

Clearly, the overall objective will be to develop and grow Maclaren’s global business in line with budgeted sales and margin targets.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Last December, Maclaren hired one of the most talented VP’s of Ecommerce I have ever placed. In just four short months, he has accomplished a great deal. Now Maclaren seeks a VP of Marketing to propel the company, which is the preeminent global parenting lifestyle brand, into the forefront of strategic brand messaging.

Maclaren has been busy getting itself firmly into the digital age through a major eCommerce build set to launch in September. The company has a 50-year history of producing and marketing world-class products, and its best days are ahead of it.

But there’s a great deal of work to be done on the marketing side of the business. The company’s brand guidelines need to be revisited, and the marketing department is in real need of a tough, energetic, charismatic A-player to drive and manage positive change in the organization.

We absolutely cannot have an average player in this role. Period. Right away, we need someone to get traction on five critical goals:

  1. Getting a handle on the Maclaren brand. The company designs and manufactures the BMW of baby strollers. Certainly there’s no debating that. However, the company recognizes the need to reignite its brand proposition to center around all things that are uniquely Maclaren. Essentially, the messaging needs to be “This is what Maclaren stands for, and this is what we stand behind.”
  2. Putting into place a strategic plan for integrating and positioning Maclaren brand across all of the company’s marketing channels, especially ecommerce.
  3. Reviewing Maclaren’s entire mechanism of trade marketing and the way the company interacts with its key retail accounts.
  4. Locking into place the company’s promotional calendars for 2012 and 2013.
  5. Gaining clarity on team structure and reviewing the marketing organizations talent needs.

On this last point, the focus will be on building the team around a small team of incredibly talented a players. To quote Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, the company plans to “Hire 5, pay them like 8, and work them like 10.” This is not to say that you will be overworked and underpaid. You will be completely challenged and VERY WELL compensated accordingly.

If you are a star, then this probably sounds like heaven to you. If not, it probably sounds like hell. I’m just being honest here. Talent wise, the focus will be on quality rather than quantity.

Finally, there is a lot to be said for process in an environment like Maclaren’s. For example, when the company launches a new product, suppose there are 5 to 10 things that must be done in order for the launch to be successful. Everyone in marketing must understand those things, chapter and verse, and be able to execute around them immediately, no questions asked. In fact the need for marketing process is as important at Maclaren as the need for marketing thought leadership.

But that can be said of any organization, not just Maclaren.


  • Strategic Marketing: Providing global marketing leadership regarding key brand objectives and all consumer-oriented communication and initiatives with a particular emphasis on digital channels.
  • Marketing Operations: Leading and managing the marketing team ensuring that global strategies are implemented across digital and all other channels and are unique and relevant in all territories.
  • Editor-in-Chief: Developing compelling content and awareness across relevant channels. You will assume complete responsibility for increasing brand standing as thought leader through editorial content.
  • Branding: Ensuring that Maclaren’s brand image and style guide is consistently conveyed globally in all initiatives.
  • Sponsorship and Events: Management and support of all brand sponsorships with the objective of leveraging all activities into dynamic and cutting-edge digital content for online channels. Oversight of the worldwide event calendar.
  • Retail Services and Trade Marketing: Ensuring a consistent global approach to retail services, showrooms, merchandising and points-of-sale. This will include all trade marketing and channel specific initiatives.
  • Public Relations: Planning and management of PR and Press Office, plus planning and supporting all initiatives, new product launches and strategic objectives. Moreover, your team must increase brand awareness through strategic online relationships.
  • Crisis Management: Leading the crisis management team and Rapid Reaction team. This means ensuring that all cases are closed out by implementation of effective corrective action policies and procedures.

BOTTOM LINE: This is an extremely big job spanning multiple markets, multiple categories, multiple channels, multiple functional areas, in multiple time zones. (Expect some early mornings and late nights.) You will need to be strategic in the way you approach this job, as well as highly organized. Beyond that, you must be crystal clear in how you manage your team.

Each one of the above functional areas represents a full-time job for several people, yet all of those positions will roll up to you personally.

You won’t have time to do the same job twice. Your direct reports must be well trained, know your philosophies, and clearly understand your instructions the first time around in order to execute your directives with a very high degree of precision. Your staff must know what you value and how you operate and be able to anticipate what you would do in almost any given situation.

To apply for this role, please email your resume to Harry.Joiner [at] Candidates, please be sure to email me directly for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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