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We are working with Yankee Candle in their search for a Director of Ecommerce Marketing based in South Deerfield, MA.
The Yankee Candle Company is the leading designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of premium scented candles, based on sales, in the giftware industry. The firm has a 42-year history of offering distinctive products and marketing them as affordable luxuries and consumable gifts, with sales from continuing operations of $785.8 million dollars in fiscal year 2011. Having earned a reputation for superior, long-lasting fragrance quality, Yankee Candle is America’s trusted choice for fragrance.
A key contributor to Yankee Candle’s success has been its vertically integrated business model, which enables it to control most every aspect of its business, from product development to manufacturing to distribution to marketing and sales. This structure allows Yankee Candle to consistently provide high quality and innovative products, such as these 5 new fragrances for Spring 2013: Golden Sands, Black Coconut, Turquoise Sky, Paradise Spice, and Waikiki Melon.
HARRY’S COMMENTS: I just printed my notes and research for this role, and it’s 22 pages. Insane. Last week’s call with Yankee Candle’s President of Consumer Direct & Chief Marketing Officer, Brad Wolansky lasted 97 minutes. Long-time ecommerce careerists may know Brad from his extremely successful stints as VP of Global Ecommerce with Orvis and CEO of The Golf Warehouse. Last July Brad went to Yankee Candle and has been building the firm’s ecommerce team ever since.
You may be familiar with Yankee Candle in other, non-direct to consumer markets, whether that be the wholesale business with Kohl’s, Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Target, or its relationships with independent retailers which resulted ultimately Yankee Candle’s products being sold in more than 28,000 doors across America, or the retail business with which Yankee operates just under 600 of its own stores in 46 states and 1 province of Canada (Toronto where the client has 6 stores).
All the while, Yankee has also had a consumer direct business which was “percolating” along under the radar. But today, Yankee Candle has put a focused effort to do fantastic things in the direct to consumer space without jeopardizing its legacy wholesale or retail relationships. Think “pie enlarging” omnichannel commerce as opposed to “pie reaaranging” commerce. This role is a reflection of that commitment.
The overwhelming majority of Yankee Candle’s customers are female and there is solid reach across all demographics. The company has enthusiastic supporters in their early teens all the way through late retirement — all of whom are passionately crazy about the product. If you look at the company’s Facebook page, you’ll notice highly engaged 881,000 followers. And if you read their comments and look at Yankee Candle’s YouTube fan videos, you’ll be impressed by how enthusiastic their following is.
Perhaps this enthusiasm is tied to the fact that Yankee Candle is all about fragrance. People feel better about themselves when they spend time with the product, and the brand represents an escape for them.
Yankee Candle’s ecommerce business is already in fantastic shape: It’s traffic, average order value, and conversion rate are all in excellent shape. This is not a workout or a turnaround. The Company is savvy and well informed on the current business, products, and growth objectives. You’d be amazed at everything these guys are doing. At a high-level, what can be said publicly about Yankee Candle’s ecommerce marketing initiatives is that the firm is taking this channel to the next level in some of the following areas:
- Affiliate Marketing: This represents a potential growth area, and the new Director will need to know the ins and outs of finding and on boarding reputable affiliates whose promotional activities will be brand accretive for Yankee Candle.
- Email Marketing: Another high potential area for the company, which already has a very well-established email marketing manager onboard.
- Loyalty and Promotion Management: Certainly, the company sees strong potential here, particularly as it pertains to mobile CRM. The new Director will be involved in these discussions.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) / PPC: A critical opportunity for growth, no doubt. The new Director will be expected to get his/her hands dirty very quickly and make an impact in this area.
- Web Analytics: This is one of the primary areas where the new Director will be expected to make an important contribution to the team. Yankee Candle currently uses Coremetrics and the client would prefer a Coremetrics “Superuser” in this role, but even if the new Director has experience with other top-tier solutions like Omniture, it is essential that they understand how to pull out meaningful, important data to drive actionable insights to help create value for customers and grow the business.
Are you right for the job?
During your interviews, be prepared to discuss the quantity and effectiveness of your customer acquisition programs. Yankee Candle is looking for someone who is not afraid to try new things, fail fast, learn from their mistakes, and gets smarter about growing the business every single day. Additionally, they are looking for a candidate who has built, trained, and led successful acquisition teams. You will have 3 people initially, and they are all very good.
Now the question is: How can you leverage what they are doing? How can four people have the impact on a significantly larger team?
This is not just about working harder. It’s about working more efficiently on better ideas. It’s about thinking differently about who the customer is; What features and benefits are important to them in a fragrance solution; Where are they when they are most receptive to Yankee Candle’s overtures; When are they most receptive to these messages; and How do they want them to be delivered? Now, knowing that, what can you do about it?
As the leader of Yankee Candle’s ecommerce marketing team, this position is responsible for developing, analyzing, reviewing, and recommending strategic and tactical changes to internet properties to drive business profitability by increasing visitors, improving conversion rates, and manage margins for Yankee Candle ecommerce business. In specific, this position is responsible for:
- Directing the development, maintenance and execution of Yankee Candle ecommerce business strategy; ensuring business objectives are met through the delivery of focused programs across the multi-channel platform which reinforce brand positioning.
- Identifying and executing new marketing initiatives including blogs, contests, social networking and loyalty programs to drive site sales, assisting with the ideation, creation and execution of product launches and promotional calendar planning with internal team.
- Leading the creative development request for marketing programs with design and content teams, ensuring that all web-based marketing promotions are successfully launched across all channels.
- Collaborating with Web Merchants, Web Content, and Web Design to optimize sessions and conversions by landing visitors on relevant and highly converting pages; as well as internal and external teams to create and maintain analytics strategy for traffic-generating channels (display, email, social, search, etc) to ensure accurate measurement of ROI.
- Engaging in long range planning exercises to prepare for changing industry standards and consumer behavior. Identify investments areas: people, tools, etc. that will enable YCC to yield long term financial success. Ensure the delivery on time and on budget.
- Managing and mentoring staff, establishing clear goals/expectations; evaluating performance and providing a learning environment.
- Communicating complex ecommerce programs, business plans and results effectively and with clarity across the organization in a manner which is understandable and retainable.
This position has the responsibility to lead the ecommerce marketing function for the organization, pro-actively managing expectations, business needs and competing demands of internal stakeholders. This position is exposed to confidential information related to marketing, creative, product development and the strategic initiatives undertaken by the Company.
- Bachelors Degree or equivalent experience, with 5+ yrs experience in an ecommerce role with budget and/or P&L responsibility.
- Proven experience with multi-channel website and marketing efforts as well as hands-on experience with Google Analytics, Google Adwords and marketing reporting tools such as Business Objects and Coremetrics.
- Ability and prior experience engaging and growing consumer interest via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs.
- Advanced knowledge of ecommerce backend systems and operations as well as working knowledge of web platforms, technologies and development life cycle as well as strong technical knowledge and experience using marketing automation tools.
- Solid analytical skills, sound business judgment and the ability to provide direction to senior management.
- Superb communication skills, including strong oral and presentation skills with the ability to communicate and interact at all levels.
- Excellent management skills, with the ability to delegate and manage multiple priorities while generating positive relationships.
This position is subject to a criminal background check and potentially and an education verification as part of the application process. At the time of interview, internal and external applicants will be required to sign a release authorizing the company to conduct criminal background check and/or education verification.
Applications for this position are being coordinated by Allan Seibert. To apply, CLICK HERE. Candidates, please be sure to email Allan 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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