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We are working with ACCO Brands in their search for a world-class D2C Marketing Director based in Kettering, OH.

As one of the world’s largest suppliers of school supplies and office products, ACCO Brands prides itself on reaching the world on a daily basis with its products. Companies, students, teachers, parents and business professionals alike in more than 100 countries use ACCO’s products each day. ACCO Brands is proud of its long history of industry leadership and innovation, and it’s focused on delivering exceptional value for its shareholders and customers by providing unique, leading-edge, branded office products.

Now then, …

Mead Products is a subsidiary of ACCO Brands. Mead provides its customers with the means to “learn…imagine…and create” by providing school, office, and personal organization tools for every stage of life. The brand is an industry leader in trend analysis and combines a legacy of consistency with both basic and fashion-forward notebooks, folders, binders, planners, journals and more.

Mead Products is seeking a D2C Marketing Director to lead the eCommerce and Consumer Marketing team in its Kettering, OH office.

Position Summary:

The Direct to Consumer Marketing Director drives multi-channel marketing programs for all ACCO Brands’ Planning & Organizing brands including AT-A-GLANCE, DayRunner, Mead, and DayTimer. Responsible for increasing revenue and advertising efficiency. Key objectives include maximizing new consumer acquisition levels and maintaining high levels of consumer retention. Leads team with expertise in marketing channels, web merchandising and analytics.

This role will also drive and execute e-marketing tactics from initiation to implementation with emphasis on analytics, email, social, search, and content development for the web properties. In addition, they will be responsible for developing and implementing the direct/digital/online marketing strategy, manage product selection, pricing strategy, promotions and partnership opportunities that achieve and complement company goals and objectives.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: ACCO is the 800 pound gorilla in the school and office supplies space. At $2 billion in sales, the company has an impressive stable of beloved brands, most of which are sold through retail channel partners like Walmart, Target, Office Depot, and OfficeMax. The firm also has a robust office supply catalog business.

The US office supply stores industry includes about 9500 establishments with a combined annual revenue of $20 billion. The industry is concentrated; the 50 largest companies ACCOunt for more than 80% of the industry’s revenue.

Committed to Ecommerce

ACCO’s ecommerce business is several years old, and the firm is completely committed to the channel – not so much to compete against its valued channel partners like Staples and OfficeMax, but to add value to its existing planning brands like Daytimer, which cry out for digital offerings which would complement their product’s value to customers.

Indeed, the majority of ecommerce business involves paper planning products: At-a-Glance wall calendars; dated planners; and Daytimers — the refillable leather bound organizers with the binders for which users must by refills every year. Notetaking is also an attractive market, as is the market for leather bound cases for tablets and smart phones.

ACCO’s ecommerce customer is a working professional who is a SOHO. Sizing this market is difficult, because everyone uses planning products. It’s a huge space. according to, …

  • The US is in the midst of a major boom in self-employment.
  • There are 19.5 million Americans who are self-employed, and their numbers are growing.
  • Between 2003 and 2004, the number of self-employed grew by 1 million (about 4.7%).

Overall, these businesses without employees account for 70% of all US businesses and generate annual receipts exceeding $887 billion. Not too shabby.

And these folks don’t just want a stapler. They want fashion and style and effectiveness. It’s kind of like KitchenAid and what they did with toasters. How do you get people to buy a new toaster? It got to the new, better, more highly styled, etc.

Meet SALY.

Many of ACCO’s ecom customers are SALYs, which means the Same As Last Year. Think about it: You (like me) have a paper planner with 12-month refills. When the refills run low, you order the same thing as last year. Yet there are tons of opportunities to sell SALYs other stuff during the year. Which is basically what this role is all about …

Selling more stuff to more SALYs more often for more money.

CANDIDATES: This is one of my favorite kinds of searches to manage because if you are any good at all, then during the interviews we are going to be discussing REAL marketing; REAL channel agnosticism; and REAL marketing mechanics – How to construct an offer; How to leverage risk reversal strategies; How to combine analog and digital channels to sell to SOHO’s the way they want to buy. And much more.

Which means you’ll need to be well experienced in customer life cycle management. The new director of D2C marketing will need some experience in …

  1. Acquisition management, which encompasses all the efforts directed at attracting high-value prospects and turning them into first-time buyers
  2. Retention management, which focuses on two areas: 1.) Strengthening the relationship with existing customers by increasing value of ACCO’s products and services, and 2.) Identifying at risk customers in stabilizing the endangered relationship through active programs
  3. Win-back management, which includes all the efforts associated with recovering and building relationships with the lost customers.

Throughout the IR-500, most of the searches we perform involve positions in which it’s possible to succeed at customer acquisition without really knowing about one’s company’s retention and went back initiatives. Very frequently, these initiatives are siloed. That’s not the case with ACCO. At ACCO, the ideal candidate will see acquisition, retention, and win-back as one self reinforcing loop, where each initiative informs the others. For example, think about …

  • What retention can teach you about acquisition: Knowing which of your existing customers become loyal can help you sharpen your prospect targeting, thereby attracting more high potential customers.
  • What acquisition can teach you about retention: Knowing new customer needs enables you to better customize products and services to provide increasing value to customers.
  • What win back can teach you about acquisition: Knowing which customers have defected and why can help you sharpen your prospect targeting to avoid attracting prospects that are prone to defection.
  • What retention can teach you about win back: Knowing the customer’s past purchasing patterns and habits can help you more effectively segment lost customers according to future value potential.
  • What acquisition can teach you about win back: Comparing the profiles of high-value prospects against loss customers can be helpful for identifying those lost customers most worthy of win back.
  • What win back can teach you about retention: Knowing which customers have defected and why can help with early detection of at risk customers.

It’s all about developing customer intimacy, which is what market leaders like ACCO have been doing better than anyone else for decades.

Position Responsibilities:

  • Increase consumer acquisition through effective SEO, PPC, affiliate, insert programs, etc.
  • Oversee programs to improve consumer retention rates based on clear segmentation
  • Ensure a culture of testing, measurement and results is integrated through entire D2C team
  • Oversees marketing database including consumer segmentation
  • Gather, filter and share consumer insights on D2C within ACCO Brands
  • Oversee effective web merchandising to increase AOV, cross-sell, and up sell
  • Develop strategic direct marketing plans and programs for the direct business, both short and long range, to ensure the profitable growth and expansion of planning & organizing products in support of the D2C marketing business plan
  • Work with brand teams and e-commerce merchandising teams to grow revenue through direct chancels (including e-commerce, mobile, catalog, mail, and call center)
  • Develop strategies to grow revenue while enhancing the consumer experience across channels
  • Develop and maintains marketing strategies to build public awareness and increase sales/market share for each product category
  • Assure utilization of other organization resources (e.g. research, marketing, partner agencies, etc.) to support marketing efforts
  • Lead development teams including developing budgets for projects, monitoring costs, and providing status reports to management
  • Work with other departments in developing the product strategy/selection for the direct business
  • Identify, develop, and implement promotional opportunities that creatively and cost effectively generate new direct business; plan and oversee the direct promotional activities, including print, electronic, direct mail and call center promotions
  • Work with outside partners and vendors for ongoing miscellaneous projects to achieve departmental/company goals
  • Collaborate with brand marketing to maintain and communicate company brand, usage, and sub-brand strategies to ensure consistency, maximum consumer exposure and awareness via e-commerce channel
  • Provide leadership and supervision to direct staff.

Performance Measures: D2C Revenue, D2C Contribution (Revenue – advertising spend), New consumer acquisition targets, Retention rates, Website conversion rate …

Position Qualifications:

  • 7+ years direct response and e-commerce experience in an integrated, multi-channel marketing environment including e-commerce, catalog, call center, and direct mail
  • History of profitable channel management and driving business growth
  • Deep background in consumer marketing via online media sources including paid search, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing and social media
  • Demonstrated experience in consumer segmentation strategy
  • Management of membership, loyalty, subscription or continuity programs a plus
  • Track record of growing new consumer acquisition programs
  • Experience with digital, mobile, and apps a plus
  • Minimum five years of staff management; strong management skills; ability to motivate and lead direct reports and teams
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and presentation skills required
  • Must have experience with a company that has multiple lines of business and product categories
  • Bachelors degree required, Masters degree preferred


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