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We are working with BloomsToday.com in their search for a VP of Marketing based in Haymarket, VA.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: BloomsToday.com allows consumers to place orders online or by phone and have flowers delivered the same day, or any day in the future, to just about any location in the United States. The company is networked through 1-800-Flowers, FTD, and Teleflora to thousands of independent florists, and its orders are delivered by the florist closest to the recipient.

BloomsToday can handle local needs as well as national needs, and it prides itself on being a one-stop shop for its customers, regardless of where they live. For example, using BloomsToday.com a woman in Boston can send flowers to her sister in Virginia, her mom in Seattle, or her brother-in-law in Sacramento.

It’s a huge market. The US floral industry includes about 20,000 retail flower shops with combined annual revenue of about $5 billion. No major companies dominate the industry, which is highly fragmented: The 50 largest companies account for less than 10 percent of revenue – and this has created a growth opportunity for BloomsToday.

BloomsToday is a sales organization that makes its money on commissions, fees, and rebates. Despite the fact that the US floral industry is well established, it is far from staid, and the pressure for companies like BloomsToday to continually innovate is intense. For BloomsToday, promising innovations have involved both its operating model and its marketing. For competitive reasons, there is a limit to what I can disclose here.

However, I should mention that the company has a new gift box program which allows BloomsToday to better control its product quality by offering a branded customer experience. For the first time ever, BloomsToday customers are able to take delivery of flowers in a BloomsToday box.

Additionally, BloomsToday seeks to expand its Blooms Rewards continuity program, which offers a new member a 50% savings on their initial flower order. Also, a member receives deep discounts on repeat orders as well as discounts through a network of national and local merchants.

Wanted: World-class VP of Marketing

For the last six years, BloomsToday’s former VP of Marketing was instrumental in helping the company get traction online. By all accounts, this individual did a fantastic job of growing the company, yet recently, he stepped down for personal reasons. It will be up to you to leverage the former VP’s successes in paid search and CRM with your own accomplishments in email, social media, organic search, online merchandising, and mobile marketing.

There are a lot of quick wins to be had — but there are also some positioning issues to clarify. The strategic-yet-tactical nature of the job mean that, very quickly, you’ll need to set about …

  1. Getting to know BloomsToday’s customers: Like, really getting to know them. We’d expect you to think deeply about this. For example, suppose you were invisible and could shadow BloomsToday’s best customer for one week. Who is she? What is she like? What does she like? Dislike? Resent? Etc. And why does she do business with BloomsToday? Suppose you could ask her “What is BloomsToday doing right that we should do more often? What is BloomsToday doing wrong that we should stop doing right now? And what is nobody else doing that BloomsToday should do?” What would she say? You’ll need to find out.
  2. Improving the BloomsToday brand image by digging into questions like “What do my best customers think of BloomsToday? What key attributes come to mind when my hyper-responsives think of BloomsToday? Is that helping or hurting the company? What can BloomsToday do about that?”
  3. Inspiring those around you at BloomsToday to put excellence into everything they do. (Otherwise, how will BloomsToday be the envy of its competitors??)
  4. Establishing the marketing cadence for BloomsToday: You must tell others at BloomsToday what’s happening when. And why. And how. And how much it will cost. And why. You must help everyone understand what these things mean in the total scheme of things. This goes well beyond simple promotional calendaring. It’s about weaving the brand into the company’s culture.
  5. Laying the groundwork for differentiated storytelling: What’s the brand about? What does it stand for? What does it stand against? Does the content back it up? Does it reaffirm how your best customers feel about themselves when they are at their best? How can your team tell the brand’s story online in a graduated, emotionally compelling way? And through direct mail? And in the call center? If authentic storytelling relies on trust and credibility, then it will be your job to refine BloomsToday’s narrative, making sure that it’s related consistently across every customer touch point — so that your best customers can (… and will …) repeat it to their friends.
  6. Bringing a parsimonious mentality to marketing: Is BloomsToday getting the most out of its promotional dollars? What were the dollars resulting from the dollars spent in each promotion through the year? What were the measured results in each of the media used? And so on. Remember, there’s nothing is devastating to an opinion as a number. 😉

This is an interesting time for any company in this category. Given the pace of change in the industry, any marketing misstep can easily become 3 steps back. BloomsToday needs a forward-thinking marketing leader who can quickly dial into the beliefs, feelings, and attitudes of America’s most responsive floral enthusiasts in a way that allows them to develop an emotional bond with the company.

UPDATE: This search is now closed.

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