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One of the coolest marketing director jobs around.

We are working with Guitar Center in their search for a Director of Marketing for its Music & Arts division based in Frederick, MD.

Music & Arts is the largest music education company in the country with 110 retail stores, 300 retail affiliates, website operations and a road rep force servicing students and music teachers nationwide. The company also rents hundreds of thousands of musical instruments and teaches nearly 1.5 million music lessons per year.

Industry Overview

The US musical instrument stores marketplace includes about 3,400 stores with combined annual sales of $5.2 billion. Major competitors include Guitar Center and Sam Ash Music. The industry is somewhat concentrated, with the 50 largest firms accounting for roughly 50% of revenue.

Competitive Landscape

Consumer income plus changes in musical tastes drive primary demand for musical instruments. The profitability of companies can depend on effective merchandising. Large firms have economies of scale in marketing and purchasing, while smaller competitors compete by specializing in personalized service or high-end instruments. Primary products include pianos, guitars, drums, sound equipment, parts and accessories, and sheet music. Other revenue sources include equipment leasing and repairs.

Full-line stores include national chains (like Guitar Center) and independents. National chains operate in strip malls or stand-alone buildings, with stand-alone stores ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet. Chains might also run midsized stores within indoor malls and often own specialty stores under a different brand name (as is the case with Guitar Center’s Music and Arts stores).

Typically, specialty stores operate within 2,000 to 3,000 square feet of space, either as small stand-alone buildings or in strip malls. Many specialty stores supplement retail sales with an online store or through auction sites like eBay.

Product assortment varies depending on the store size, sales channel, and product mix. Major full-line stores sell between 4,000 and 7,000 SKUs in a typical store, but often offer upwards of 40K SKUs online.

About the Role

This role will involve managing the P&L and day-to-day planning, development and implementation of the overall marketing strategy for Music & Arts. This position is responsible for integrating the Music & Arts brand vision into a cross channel retailing environment. Initially the role will have five direct reports and will rely heavily on utilizing shared services of other departments and divisions.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: This has been a big year for EcommerceRecruiter and Guitar Center’s Woodwind / Brasswind and Music & Arts subsidiaries. In June, we placed former PropertyRoom VP of Marketing, Anne Driscoll, with WWBW as its new Director of Ecommerce, and in July we placed Thomas Ford with the firm as its new Marketing Manager. These were two very high quality placements, and we’re excited to help President Steve Zapf continue to topgrade his team. Our old postings for those positions contain a wealth of information about this organization. Click here for one example.

According to Steve, this new hire will be responsible for the retail side of the house. The team is very excited about Anne’s arrival, and it appears that she will handle the entire website for the business, at the very least from an operational perspective. Meanwhile, the new Director of Marketing will lead a team of four Regional Marketing Managers, in addition to a National Marketing Manager. The goal is to drive demand through Music & Arts’ four primary sales channels:

  1. Web
  2. Retail
  3. Direct Sales
  4. Call Center

Having performed three searches for the company this year, we have an extraordinary amount of inside information about WWBW / Music & Arts’ sales strategies, revenues by channel, and so forth. We’re happy to share that information with qualified candidates. Suffice it to say, this is a very complicated business with a lot of moving parts to its marketing.

These parts can include any combination of the following:

  1. Telemarketing: To develop relationships; service accounts, and more.
  2. Email: Both One-to-One (for institutional sales) and One-to-Many
  3. Events: Seminars, conferences, trade shows, and more
  4. Direct mail: Postcards, personal letters, dimensional mail, etc.
  5. Branding: Advertising, sponsorships, etc.
  6. Lead nurturing / Inbound marketing: Newsletters, press releases, case studies, articles, white papers, and so forth.
  7. Public relations: Editorials, speaking engagements, and article placements
  8. Online marketing: SEO, SEM, Affiliate marketing, etc.
  9. In-store marketing: Merchandising, store layout and presentation, etc.
  10. And more.

Naturally, when leveraging so many marketing channels, it’s essential to be very planful in how one integrates those channels so that the whole effect of the channel mix is greater than the sum of its parts. Each channel should reinforce and amplify the effects of every other channel in the mix.

Easy to say. Hard to do.

First and foremost, it takes a lot of planning and a good head for strategy. The current marketing organization is very good at designing and managing events, such as this in-store appearance by electric violinist Mark Wood …

Currently, the team manages more than 1000 individual events per year, which are very often in store wine and cheese type recital nights where the parents of the kids taking lessons enjoy an evening of music performed by their children. These have been highly successful.

But now Steve wants a Director of Marketing who knows how to put together a first-class multichannel marketing plan and promotional calendar and execute against it with all of the media at their disposal.

For example, it’s essential that the new Director understand that when Music & Arts is running a back-to-school campaign, she must involve merchants and creatives to design in-store promos; Enlist the social media manager to engage the Facebook following; Work with Tom to change the messaging for Music & Arts’ paid search initiatives; Work with Anne to pull the affiliates into the promotion, and so forth.

Like being a conductor in an orchestra, you gotta bring it all together.

To be successful, the new Director must be able to measure the effectiveness of her campaigns and report on the ROI of each initiative. Think cause and effect: If you spend $30,000 on a particular campaign, you should be able to prove to Steve and the rest of the team how you generated a cash-on-cash return on that investment.

The planning aspect of this job is so important that in your first 100 days, we would like to see you fully develop and implement a marketing plan for the balance of 2013 (along with contingency plans for potential shortfalls). You won’t have to reinvent the wheel: Steve already has basic templates in place for this. However, it’s essential that you understand all of the promotional tactics that need to be quantified, measured, and reported.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead and integrate efforts across marketing, sales, merchandising, IT, creative and operations to maximize business growth, profitability, and impact in the marketplace.
  • Develop and maintain brand-specific content strategy, contact strategy, and promotional/marketing activities calendar that is fully integrated, engages and resonates with the Music & Arts core target audiences—parents, educators & kids.
  • Ensure clarity and consistent application of promotional and brand content across all sales channels: retail, educational, online/website, and affiliate,
  • Work closely with the firm’s advertizing agency to create and maximize multi-channel marketing strategies, programs, and measures to support and grow the Music & Arts brands within their sphere of influence.
  • Leverage all available marketing channels to deploy promotional and brand content: Email, SEM/PPC, in-store communications, social media, direct mail, broadcast, events, internal communications, tradeshows, mobile, and other channels as deemed appropriate. Build relationships with internal stakeholders to innovate solutions and new opportunities for delivering increased awareness and brand preference for Music & Arts.
  • Build relationships with product vendors to create marketing partnerships.
  • Communicate plans, programs, and results to senior corporate management on a consistent basis.
  • Work closely with the President, VP of Sales, VP of Merchandising to ensure teamwork and collaboration in successful execution of marketing/promotional plan as well as connection to the overall company brand strategy.
  • Create relevant reporting to understand role and effectiveness of marketing related activities.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Marketing or related field
  • 3-5 years cross-functional brand management experience in a multichannel retail environment required
  • Strong e-commerce, online merchandising and marketing experience preferred
  • Comfortable with financials and budgeting
  • Interest in music and experience working in music industry a plus

Skills and Abilities

  • Strategic leadership and decision-making
  • Demonstrated skills in retail marketing, web marketing and social media. Experience with direct marketing preferred.
  • Excellent complex multi-functional project and people management skills
  • Excellent analytical, quantitative, organizational, and prioritization skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Must be innovative, proactive and a team player
  • Experience using the Internet, PCs and Microsoft Office.


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