McCOOK, IL – With more than 200 digital commerce searches each year, is the leading contingency-based executive search firm serving the, Ad:Tech, and IR-500 communities. To opt-in to our popular “Ecommerce Job of the Day” email, click here. To invite Harry Joiner to connect on LinkedIn, use

We are working with Tru Vue in their search for a Director of Ecommerce Business Development (McCook, IL 60525).

Tru Vue manufactures and markets high-performance glazing that enhances and protects framed documents, photographs and artwork. From design and conservation in custom frame shops, to museums and galleries across the globe, to anti-reflective custom coatings for commercial applications, Tru Vue is known as a leader and innovator in the protection and conservation of all things framed and displayed.

Whether it’s Museum Glass®, Conservation Clear®, or Optium® Acrylic Glazing, no other company has such a complete portfolio of high-performance glazing options as Tru Vue. The need for Tru Vue’s glass is clear:

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Everything you need to know about how to excel in Tru Vue’s job you can learn in Steven Blank’s book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany which has been dogeared and highlighted to death in Silicon Valley since 2007.

Blank’s book lays out his Customer Development model, which demonstrates how entrepreneurs (those who launch startups) and intrapreneurs (those who launch new businesses within existing businesses) can assess, plan, and grow new ventures. The book draws on lessons learned by widely admired companies who lost their shirts on new product introductions. Here’s a partial list of what’s in the product launch graveyard …

  • Volkswagen’s Phaeton: VW took all of Toyota’s lessons in launching its high-end Lexus brand and promptly ignored them at a cost of $500 million.
  • Kodak’s Photo CD: Kodak offered film camera customers the ability to put their pictures on a compact disc and view them on their TVs. The product was 10 years ahead of its time, and the only viable early adopter market of corporate marketing departments was ignored. Total cost: $150 million.
  • R.J. Reynolds’ smokeless cigarettes: The firm well understood what non-smokers wanted, but failed to grasp that smokers didn’t care. Total cost: $450 million.

The list goes on. My point in trotting out Blank’s book is that – depending on whether your product represents a “continuous” or a “discontinuous” innovation – there is very definitely a right way and a wrong way to develop a product and then target, attack, penetrate, and grow a market for it.

Candidates, please realize that when you understand these models, the size and complexity of roles like this become much more manageable. Therefore, in your initial calls with Allan Seibert you can expect a quick overview of these (and other) concepts so that you’ll understand how to drive value in this position through Customer Discovery; Customer Validation; Company Creation; and Company Building. And yes, these steps are the same for startups and established market leaders like Tru Vue.

Let’s mush on, shall we?

Tru Vue makes value added glass and acrylic products. The firm focuses primarily on the custom framing and the museum markets. More than 80% of the world’s top museums use Tru Vue anti-reflective acrylic products, including the Smithsonian, the MOMA, the Getty, and the Rijksmuseum. Tru Vue’s glass and acrylic helps protect the artwork underneath the glass from fading, in addition to providing an anti-reflective coating that makes the glass virtually invisible.

In addition to Museums, a huge growth opportunity for the firm lies in marketing to 8,000 independent framers in the United States, the independent distributors and framers in Europe and large custom framing chains.

The demand for photo frames is huge.

According to the Unity Marketing Study roughly 11% of households purchased custom frames in 2011. Frames are sold in Picture Framing Stores; Gift Shops & Card Stores; Home Furnishings Stores; Hobby & Toy Stores; Craft Stores; and Small Specialty Retail Stores – in addition to being sold online.

How custom framing works:

With custom framing, customers select (with the framers design assistance) the moulding (frame), mat, and glazing. Then the framer assembles them and professionally fits the art. Mouldings are manufactured in different styles, such as contemporary and traditional design, and they become a frame when the four sides are assembled. Mat borders surround the framed object, providing distance between the art and frame. Glazing refers to the application of glass or acrylic to cover for the art.

Although acrylic is an alternative to glass that weighs less and doesn’t break as easily, glass remains the standard used in framing. Within the glass category, there is anti-reflective glass as well as “conservation glass,” which blocks harmful ultraviolet rays. Museum glass, considered by the industry as the best glass option, combines features of anti-reflective and conservation glass.

Tru Vue wants provide the benefit of anti-reflective glass and acrylic in ecommerce. Currently, people can upload a photograph of a family vacation and print that image to canvass or some other material.

Tru Vue will be taking this trend one step further by allowing consumers to laser print their own reverse images directly to the back Tru Vue’s state of the art glass or acrylic so that the image appears correctly when viewed through picture’s front. According to Tru Vue’s President, Jane Boyce, “It’s an exploding market, and we like to influence hundreds canvas sites to offer this product.”

About the role:

Basically, what we want you to do is get photo printing and canvas sites to add a “Print Image to glass or acrylic” option on their websites. It’s almost like affiliate marketing: Your job will be to build and lead Tru Vue’s wall décor initiative, marketing Tru Vue’s products to online companies who sell ‘print your photo to canvas’ photography and art. This will be YOUR business to run, meaning you are free to fine-tune and deploy the business strategy that will grow the business. The buck will stop with you: YOU will get to determine the appropriate product attributes and partners for a successful ongoing business, and YOU will act as primary customer interface and assume P&L responsibility for this business.

To succeed in this role, you need to know how ecommerce works, who the primary decision makers are in an ecommerce environment, and how to develop this market. You’ll need an entrepreneurial spirit, a team mentality, a well developed ability to network, an ability to travel 25-40% of the time. You’ll need to understand how to manage a sales funnel in addition to knowing how to lead generate to thousands of suspects; prospects; and customers. You’ll have plenty of help from Tru Vue’s marketing department — but you’ll still need to know how it’s done.

It’s important to know that marketing success for Tru Vue won’t begin and end with online marketing. Sure, you’ll want to attract your 8,000 prospects with SEO, SEM, display ads, social media, affiliate marketing, email — and maybe even kick it old-school with direct mail. But then what’s your PROCESS going to be for getting your leads all the way down the funnel? What’s your follow up plan?


Plan on being grilled about that in your interviews!

Given the volume of leads you’ll be generating and nurturing, at some point your sales process will move from “high volume” to “high touch” — a challenge that SMB marketers like and GoDaddy have been managing for years. Much has been written about generating predictable revenue with inbound marketing, and that model applies here. You’ll need to know how to manage these relationships every step of the way — and Millennials take note: That could very well mean having to dial the phone.

Oh, the horror!

Anyway. If you’ve ever thought of running a startup and are confident that you could handle everything I’ve outlined above, then we’d love to hear from you. These are lovely folks, and they run a fantastic business. This one’s got everything I like to see in a role: Favorable underlying economics; a chance for my candidate to do reputation enhancing work; and I’d want my own kids to work for the firm. Apply below …


Strategic/Business management

  • Provide thorough analysis of online wall decor market, identify critical strategic business relationships and fine-tune a go-to-market plan. Initial focus should be on the online photo printed to canvas market.
  • Understand consumer trends and demands in relation to wall décor.
  • Function as primary customer contact and have primary accountability for channel/market.
  • Act as general manager for the Online Photography market, including full P&L responsibility. Meet or exceed all growth and profitability targets
  • Understand the financial model of consumer proposition.

Customer interaction/Sales

  • Obtain product placement at on-line photography companies, self-publishers, and internet companies. Build relationship with these companies to drive growth in total sales and profitability
  • Understand channel and how the different customers interact. Understand potential conflicts.
  • Proactively interface with customers to address questions, resolve issues, and compile feedback
  • Build a sales process that drives sustainable results.
  • Find and establish relationships with companies who will print and fulfill the ‘photo on acrylic’ wall décor product. Ensure fulfillment model is efficient, price competitive, and sustainable.
  • Work with National Accounts team to drive sales in this channel.


  • Build a consumer brand (through customer websites) via awareness, programming, and potentially online PR.
  • Understand and identify different e-research, promotional and brand building tools.
  • Work with internal marketing to develop packaging and sales materials needed.
  • Work with finance to set pricing for different items


  • Develop good working relationships with all departments within the company
  • Support continuous improvement environment


  • 8 to 10 years experience in sales, business development, strategy or marketing
  • B2B experience mandatory, some exposure to consumer market preferred.
  • Proven strategic planning skills
  • Experience leading new market initiatives?
  • Experience with internet sales through customer websites
  • Ability to lead others
  • Good interpersonal/customer skills
  • Ability to understand and speak to the technical requirements of integrating websites at a high level.
  • Previous experience selling/marketing value added products.


PS – If you’re thinking about changing jobs this year (though us or anyone else), you might want to check out this post on why even TOP candidates get rejected.

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