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We are working with PETCO Animal Supplies in their search for a Digital Marketing Manager, Email based in San Diego, CA.

Reporting to the Director, Online Marketing, the Digital Marketing Manager, Email will lead strategy development, production, execution, and analysis of Petco’s email marketing programs.

In this role, you will leverage a large scale database, both independently and through the Analytics team, to develop insights that will lead to effective and profitable email strategies. Additionally, you will collaborate with key business partners (marketing channel managers, merchants, etc.) across the organization to create effective strategies and integrate digital programs with traditional marketing plans to deliver 360-degree communication models that build awareness, acquisition and retention, thereby maximizing the performance of Petco marketing programs.

This position partners with a variety of departments/functions (Advertising, CRM, Ecommerce, Email Management, Social Media and Marketing) to build, manage and analyze customer contact strategies and maximize Petco’s digital footprint, as well as cultivate cross-channel opportunities. You will provide in-depth and hands-on leadership for digital acquisition and retention marketing programs and agency resource management in order to continuously evolve, refine and improve the effectiveness of Petco’s digital marketing programs.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: A great deal has been written about the attractiveness of the pet market, and essentially, from an ecommerce standpoint, there are only two companies on the leading edge: PetSmart and Petco. This is our first time working with Petco, and so far I have been very impressed.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are roughly 78 million pet dogs in the USA, and approximately 86 million pet cats. In the United States, a 2007-2008 US Census survey showed that dog-owning households outnumbered those owning cats, but that the total number of pet cats was higher than that of dogs. In 2013, The Weekly Standard reported that pets outnumber children four to one in the United States.

The US pet supply store industry includes ~8,800 stores with combined revenue of roughly $12 billion and is expected to enjoy moderate-growth in the next two years. Key growth drivers include rising income levels, steady inflation rates, as well as increases in “pet humanization” (or treating pets like family members). Nowadays if you own a pet, you’re a “pet parent …”

Competitive Landscape

Because pet ownership drives demand, consumer spending tends to resist economic volatility. The industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 70% of revenue. Competitors include grocery stores, warehouse clubs, mass merchandisers, Internet retailers, and some veterinary clinics.

Industry-wide, major retail product categories include pet supplies, pet foods, aquarium products and fish, and pets. Pet food accounts for 40% of revenues, pet supplies for 40%, aquarium products and fish for 10%. Pet care and pet services each account for about 5%. The food segment primarily consists of dog and cat food, and pet supplies include pet collars, toys and leashes, habitats, vitamins and supplements. Types of pets sold include cats, dogs, fresh and saltwater fish, reptiles, birds, and small animals (mostly hamsters and gerbils).

About the Role

Petco had an incredibly strong person in this role for approximately 4 years. She was highly technical and did a great job of setting up trigger-based email campaigns and building a fairly complex integrated email marketing ecosystem. The basic idea was to have email support the stores as well as the website. This role is an opportunity to pick up where she left off.

This will be a high-impact role with very high visibility.

Without getting into specifics, you will control a significant portion of Petco‘s total online sales. Naturally, we must insist that you have deep experience in email marketing, ideally with a large multichannel retailer. Travel industry experience might suffice, but we are really looking for someone with multichannel retail experience given the integration issues involved with this position.

In terms of your technical experience, you must have a strong understanding of HTML and email marketing best practices, including database management, direct marketing strategies, list hygiene and segmentation, and CRM. Petco has a CRM team who will help create content and contact strategies, but it will be your responsibility to take their work and integrate it with deliverables from ecommerce, marketing, and merchandising to create a 360° email marketing program.

Given the high profile nature of this position, you must be able to present very well, as you will find yourself in meetings with Petco’s CMO and other senior executives.

In the words of Kosmo Kramer, “Poise counts!”

You must be able to work across the organization with people who have different goals, which means you must be politically savvy without being a political animal. The company is growing very quickly, and email is a key engine of that growth. Petco needs a composed, well-spoken, highly reliable, and deeply expert email marketing professional in this role.

In my 90 minute kickoff call with Petco’s Director of Online Marketing, I took several pages of notes regarding the types of problems that exist due to the position being open; the top 3 clearly defined initiatives you must complete in the 1st hundred days; specific information on the client’s total online business in addition to specifics on Petco’s email channel; plus a recap of a frank discussion about the evolution of Petco’s unique selling proposition in the marketplace and how its USP is might evolve in the future.

Competitive issues prevent me from being too specific here, but this is a fantastic job opportunity for the right email marketer. Petco is a world-class organization selling to an established, reachable, hyper-responsive and very deep market. Frankly, it’s an email marketer’s dream. Not to mention that the job is based in sunny San Diego.

We are happy to share all of our research for this position with qualified applicants. Please apply below.

Essential Job Functions

  • Develop proven digital marketing plans to extend awareness and reach of the brand through strategic marketing campaigns, build engagement and drive sales utilizing e-mail in conjunction with SEM, SEO, display, video, mobile, and social media.
  • Create campaigns that align with Petco’s overarching multi-channel marketing strategy and work with internal Marketing, Creative, CRM and Merchandising teams to formulate compelling content and unique design that drives customer engagement.
  • Formulate communication cadence and testing strategies that increase lifetime value (LTV) from email subscribers.
  • Establish and define processes, documentation, and standards for the development and execution of email marketing campaigns.
  • Manage email marketing production schedules from conception through development and execution with 300+ campaigns and 1B emails sent per year.
  • Forecast email campaign results and opt-outs.
  • Analyze results, on both an event and longitudinal basis, and use insights to inform and develop future strategies.
  • Investigate and evaluate the development of email personalization capabilities by leveraging external vendors and/or internal IT staff.
  • Champion best practices and educate key stakeholders through regular campaign dashboard reporting and analytics.
  • Prepare annual budgets, manage expenses, and evaluate project bids from email vendor and other service providers.
  • Function as a subject-matter expert and email resource for other business owners within the organization, helping to develop comprehensive communication implementation plans that support Petco’s marketing program.
  • Manage the agency relationship with Petco’s email service provider (ESP), including leading integration projects and managing vendor performance.

Other Duties and Responsibilities

  • Partner with and manage internal Creative Team/ External Agencies to develop compelling creative assets to increase engagement with Petco campaigns: evaluate 3rd party vendor relationships to ensure performance, service, and support are being delivered in accordance with agreements and department expectations.
  • Research and closely monitor competitors and retail leaders to develop creative, unique, and effective promotions including messaging and design.
  • Maintain a focus on innovation, bringing to Senior Leadership opportunities to deploy emerging technology and/or leverage existing technology in new and exciting ways.
  • Perform other related duties, tasks and responsibilities as required, assigned and directed.

Nature of Supervision:

General instruction is given on program and project objectives, and work is reviewed during development or implementation phase. Results of analyses are used in marketing and advertising and therefore have the potential to affect the company’s sales and profits negatively if data reporting is not accurate.

Supervisory Responsibility:

You will directly manage a small staff. Consequently, you must possess the ability to administratively supervise and evaluate the performance of associates. You’ll be responsible for directly managing agency resources responsible for media and content development and/or marketing channels and processes. Also, you’ll develop partnerships with and across various departments and teams in the organization to accomplish Petco’s digital marketing objectives. This means that you must be able to clearly articulate and present strategies and results throughout the organization and manage by influence in conjunction with your direct supervisor.

Education and Experience:

This position normally requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, preferably in marketing or advertising. We’d also like to see eight years experience developing and executing marketing programs is normally required, including a minimum of five years experience in online marketing, preferably with a major multi-channel, business-to-customer retailer. Experience with Cross-Channel marketing is preferred. Regardless, you must have in-depth database marketing knowledge along with a proven track-record of developing and growing profitable Online Marketing Programs via e-mail.

Experience with web analytical tools such as Coremetrics, Webtrends, Omniture, and Google Analytics is preferred, and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously is a must. Also: Experience managing outside agency resources is highly desired, as is experience managing large-scale e-mail programs, specifically working with an industry-leading ESP. Strong interpersonal communications skills are necessary due to the nature and level of interaction with senior management and other department personnel as well. An equivalent combination of education and relevant experience may be substituted for a degree.


  • Demonstrated Adaptability and Desire to Learn — Works productively in the face of ambiguity or uncertainty. Demonstrates flexibility and resilience in response to obstacles, constraints, adversity, and mistakes. Constructively and resourcefully adapts to changing needs, conditions, priorities or opportunities. Seeks out opportunities to learn from new discoveries, innovations, ways of looking at things, knowledge, and ideas. Invites and incorporates feedback, without becoming defensive.
  • Perform Professional Analysis — Integrates information from a variety of sources to arrive at a broader understanding of issues (e.g., company reports plus in-store observations). Defines issues clearly despite incomplete or ambiguous information. Identifies the key issues in complex or ambiguous problems. Approaches problems or issues systematically, looking for connections, trends, and potential causes. Probes and looks past symptoms to determine the underlying causes of problems and issues.
  • Plan and Execute — Develops realistic plans (e.g., action steps, timelines) to accomplish objectives. Acquires and leverages resources, processes, and tools to achieve business goals. Prioritizes and balances time, actions, and projects to ensure accomplishment of results. Holds him/herself and team accountable for outcomes (e.g., achieving goals and complying with policies and procedures). Anticipates and addresses obstacles, redirecting efforts to accelerate the work or improve quality.
  • Produce Results — Initiates decisive, timely action to address important issues. Demonstrates a strong sense of ownership and a commitment to achieving meaningful results. Sets challenging, clear goals/targets and expectations for achieving business results. Drives initiatives/efforts to successful completion and closure. Takes personal responsibility to make decisions and take action.
  • Satisfy the Customer — Identifies and anticipates customer requirements, expectations, and needs. Seeks feedback from customers to identify improvement opportunities. Follows up with customers to ensure problems are solved. Continually searches for ways to improve customer service (including the removal of barriers, and providing solutions).
  • Use Professional Judgment — Makes logical, rational, and integrative decisions, and arrives at sound conclusions. Chooses the best alternative(s) based on a review of pros, cons, tradeoffs, timing, and probabilities. Evaluates the consequences and implications of alternatives, actions, or decisions (e.g., impact on sales, returns, customer loyalty). Makes timely decisions, balancing analysis with decisiveness.

Work Environment:

The majority of job duties are conducted while seated indoors at a computer terminal, with little or no exposure to hazards. Occasional travel may be required for financial presentations or training.

Contacts: Will interact with all levels within the company – including senior and mid-level management in Marketing, Ecommerce and Merchandising. There will also be some interaction with outside parties such as media and digital marketing agencies.

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Allan Seibert. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, 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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