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We are working with Petbrosia in their search for a Director of Ecommerce and Online Marketing based in Cincinnati, OH.

Petbrosia is a disruptive innovation in pet health, which utilizes technology to deliver a breakthrough product and service to better meet consumer’s increasing desires to do the best for their pets. Petbrosia launched in spring 2013, and has been growing at a healthy clip. With recent capital investments, we are growing our team with a focus on marketing. This is an excellent opportunity to get in early on a breakthrough tech-enabled “love brand”.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: This is one of the only searches in my career (500+) where I’ve wrapped up the kickoff call by asking seriously if I could convert my recruiting fee to equity in the business. Yep. This business is that good. It’s got everything: a rabid, reachable, and self-referencing market; pricing power; a vertically integrated operating model; a proprietary product; a continuity “backend” to the business; and it is run by smart as hell, analytically biased and likable management with a very deep affinity to the target buyer.

Honestly, there’s nothing to dislike about this business — and I was bummed when the client gently declined my offer.

Here’s the basic premise of Petbrosia: Historically, pet nutrition has been generalized, and many brands believe a “one-size-fits-all” approach can address the health concerns of most pets. Petbrosia was founded on the idea that pets need diets that are custom-made for each one’s unique health needs.

Petbrosia’s diets are made from all-natural ingredients grown and raised in America. The firm actually determines every pet’s diet according to each one’s breed, age, weight, and other health needs. These custom-matched diets change with each animal as the pet ages – allowing Petbrosia to produce 1:1 pet diets for a lifetime.

Of course, the U.S. pet industry is a total gold mine.

Americans dropped $56 billion on pets in 2013, and they are spending more each year on everything from vet care to acupuncture for their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, spending on pets will surpass $60 billion in 2014. Last year, $21.57 billion was spent on food alone — more than total pet expenditures in 1996, when the group first started tracking sales.

According to Keith Johnson, Petbrosia’s Founder / CEO, “Pets are becoming more part of the family. People are giving their pet a better diet, acupuncture, and so on just as they would’ve family member. In fact, you wouldn’t even do acupuncture on your kids! But if you look at the changing definition of the family, you’ve got fewer children, and baby boomers are getting older. Empty-nesters bringing in pets to fill that void, and it’s only natural that these folks want the best for their pet in terms of health.”

Keith should know.

Keith is a former brand marketer who spent 18 years at Procter & Gamble. In 2008, as a commercial leader for a high-end Procter & Gamble brand with a $100 million marketing budget, Keith started to see the evolving role of ecommerce to better meet the desired consumer experience. Keith had just entered the University of Chicago’s Booth school of business to study entrepreneurial finance when he became the Global Brand Manager for IAMS Petbrosia was launched in 2012 and investors have been knocking on Keith’s door ever since.

My third-party research and personal notes on this search are quite extensive. There’s an awful lot I can share with qualified candidates for this role, and further discussion here just won’t do this client justice. Keith’s vivid elaboration regarding Petbrosia’s target customer was a magic show, as he dove deep into the details regarding who she is; why she owns a pet; what she wants to learn online about her pet and pet food (and why); her capacity to pay higher prices; and MUCH more.

The guy is phenomenally bright.

Moreover, Keith was kind enough to recount with me how the company has gone to market, and it’s clear that what the company needs is a very smart, hypothesis driven ecommerce marketer who is up to speed on the latest ways to acquire new customers online.

Perhaps one of the things I like most about this role is that you’re not likely to lie awake at night worrying about Amazon — not unless Jeff Bezos decides to get into the continuity 1:1 pet food business. As I said in my opening paragraph, there’s a lot to love about this business. And once you meet the people, you’ll love it too. These folks have a great team in place and a wonderful story to tell — and I’m thrilled to be the one telling it.

Position summary:

The Director of Online Marketing/Ecommerce will be responsible for overseeing all e-commerce functions including marketing, merchandising, creative design and website development. This person will be responsible to plan, implement and execute online marketing policies, objectives and initiatives, including the development of a revenue generation model, the marketing strategy to accomplish it and the implementation/optimization of the marketing programs.

Requirements / Responsibilities:

  • Manage overall digital budget and achieve site P&L and ecommerce objectives
  • Guide and direct site-related decisions by preparing and analyzing website analytics and ROI analysis for all digital programs.
  • Create actionable measurement tools and KPIs to improve conversion, retention, and acquisition costs
  • Optimize paid and organic search to maintain high traffic volume
  • Manage consultants and vendors including: web designers, web developers, copywriters, and content specialists to create a compelling online experience through site performance, online ads, landing pages, campaigns, promotions, and social media.
  • Develop and execute customer acquisition and retention strategies for: SEM/SEO, retargeting programs, shopping engines, email programs, online partnerships, and social media programs.
  • Design and implement roadmap for A/B testing programs to drive ongoing navigation and conversion rate improvements
  • Direct product merchandising and product promotion campaigns
  • Develop and execute Social Media programs (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) to increase followers, improve engagement, and contribute to online sales
  • Coordinate with Operations team to ensure online carts are set-up with proper SKUs, codes, names, etc.
  • Manage and optimize online store relationships
  • Stay up to date on emerging trends in Web and online marketing technology
  • Define and oversee future e-commerce platform requirements, media and content management systems, 3rd party integration offerings and marketing automation tools as appropriate.


  • Minimum of 10 years professional online marketing experience, with experience in both strategy and execution, including hands-on experience in SEO/SEM, affiliate programs email marketing
  • ROI experience forecasting revenue growth
  • Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree
  • A high-energy, take-charge personality
  • The ability to lead a team
  • Being a passionate pet parent is extremely beneficial!


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

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